Hooked on Phonics: Learn to Read

Hooked on success: Transforming a paper-based educational staple into a chart-topping powerhouse app.

The Hooked on Phonics workbooks have been a staple resource in reading education since the 1980s. While the brand has expanded to CD-Roms and flashcards, our team recognized that app and improved video technology could take the Hooked on Phonics instructional method to a whole new level. When the Hooked on Phonics brand was acquired, the new owners cautiously agreed to let us create a single lesson and release it as a free app. The app exceeded the long-termmetrics for success in the first day of release, so the company agreed to release a test of a few additional lessons at $.99 each. Downloads once again exceeded the target within days instead of months. Certain the app would be a hit, the owners were satisfied and gave Big Yellow Taxi the green light to create the Hooked on Phonics –Learn to Read app.

Our team of writers, designers, and developers transformed the workbook material and teaching strategy into a fully interactive app, complete with an award system, catchy songs, and memorable music videos.

The moment the app launched, it immediately shot to the number one spot on the top reading chart as a 5-star rated app. As the app grew more popular, Hooked on Phonics saw new opportunities to expand the business model, finding new ways to monetize this new, successful medium. New premium features were added, including varying subscription tiers and reward levels. The coding team remained nimble throughout the process, finding ways to reconcile prior purchasers with new subscribers and update the reward system as it evolved.

In the next phase of development, The Hooked onPhonics team requested an expansion to the app so they could help young kids get excited about taking the next steps in their reading journeys. The result was The Big Reading Show. Filled with engaging videos and interactive elements, Big Yellow Taxi’s team created a delightful mix of preschool humor, silliness, and pre-reading interactive activities. After more than eight years, the Hooked on Phonics app continues to remain among the top 50 most-downloaded education apps

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