Apps for Beginning Readers
Despite technology having taken over the world, books are undoubtedly the foundation of education. Your child can be inspired by a book about a ballet dancer’s hard work to perfect her craft. Or he could broaden his horizons with a book about conservation efforts in the National Park Services. But it takes a lot of hard work and effort for your child to learn how to read in the first place. And children with a speech or language disorder may need a little extra help. So despite books being the gold standard of education, your child’s efforts to learn to read might benefit from a boost from technology. This back-to-school season, help your child get ready for school with some kid-friendly apps for beginning readers. Encouraging reading as a regular habit early in life can not only bolster his speech and language development, but also accelerate his academic progress.
Word Wall HD ($1.99) is compatible with the iPad. It uses repetition of visual and auditory prompts to teach letters and words. It is designed to be easy to use for beginning readers who are visual, tactile, spatial, or rhythmic learners. Letters and words are presented with a corresponding image and accompanying sound. Children are prompted to repeat the letters and words. They can also use the game activities to reinforce the lesson, such as a jigsaw puzzle and memory match game. The creators of this app recommended it for children ages 5 to 6.
Bob Books #1 – Reading Magic ($1.99) is compatible with the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. This app offers interactive activities based on phonics. Even very young children can easily grasp the drag-and-drop interface. The app offers four levels of varying difficulty and a total of 32 words. It introduces letter sounds and offers visual reinforcement. It strives to coach the child through the transition from letters into words. Reviews from parents are mixed, but it’s worth noting that the app received a couple of awards.
Build a Word ($0.99) is compatible with the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. It is based on the TV series, PBS KIDS. Children can shake the device to watch letters appear on the screen. An outline is provided for the appropriate placement of the letters. Beginning readers are encouraged to push the letters to their proper places to form simple words. As they do so, an image that corresponds to that word is formed. Reviewers gave it high praise, but noted the disappointingly small number of available words.
Reading Raven HD ($3.99) is compatible with the iPad. Although this app is a little pricier than the others on this list, it appears to be a much more comprehensive resource for beginning readers. And at just $3.99, it’s still a bargain. The self-paced lessons can guide your child through the beginnings of word formation to reading sentences. Children can hear voice instructions and receive auditory feedback. They can also save their progress. It’s recommended for children between 3 to 7 years old. The lesson plans are divided by age group. The app offers five categories of lessons, with hundreds of activities. Activities focus on phonics, letters, words, reading, vocabulary, and spelling. The makers of the app note that it is appropriate for special needs kids, however they do not discuss the details of that.