Learning to Read with Apps

Learning to read is one of the most fundamental skills necessary for success and education. But, for many adults who have been reading as far back as they can remember, how to teach a child to read is a challenge. You’ll find an array of opinions on the efficacy of different techniques, but at the end of the day it comes down to knowing your child. For children who grasp abstract concepts more quickly, they may breeze right into the letter/sound associations, while other children struggle to make those associations. At the end of the day, no student learns to read without some initial struggle, and likely frustration as reading involves a level of thinking their young brains have not encountered before. Mitigating the frustration while pushing them for progress can be a balancing act, but there are a plethora of apps that can help with the task. Here we take a quick look at 5 apps that can be a valuable asset as your child learns to read.

Starting with apps geared toward the youngest of learners, toddlers thru preschoolers, Starfall ABC is an alphabet teaching app. It presents the letters of the alphabet both visually and audibly, shows their use in words and sentences, and lets the child learn interactively through fun games and puzzles. This is a great foundational reading app.

Moving beyond learning the alphabet, and geared toward kids slightly older, in the 4-7 year old age, Noodle Words HD is a frequent member of “best reading app” lists. Colorful and attention grabbing, it has fun characters and creatively animates words to demonstrate their meaning. Kids can “play” with the new words as if they are toys, taking much of the frustration out of learning new vocabulary. Appropriate for the same age group, but taking a more comprehensive instructional approach, Learn with Homer teaches reading beginning with the most basic fundamentals, while further teaching kids that words are used for expression. This app allows for up to three accounts, so parents with multiple young children can easily monitor the progress of each child with one single iPad.

If you are interested in an app that incorporates handwriting with the reading lessons, there are good options out there for that, as well. ABC Pocket Phonics assists students as they learn letter sounds while teaching them to write their letters. Geared for preschool level readers, those just getting started, it is colorful, and instructions are clear and age appropriate. Writing Wizard works along similar lines, but offers slightly more options for interaction and student engagement, as well as being customizable to the fine motor skills of the child.

Whether you are looking for games, instruction, fundamentals of writing, or a comprehensive program, apps are a great way to help your youngest readers get a start on this vital skill. Without a firm foundation, children will never develop good reading comprehension, which can lead to life long learning difficulties. Don’t be afraid to try these apps for fun, versatile methods to start your reader on their journey!

Mimi Rothschild is a veteran homeschooling mother of 8, writer of a series of books called Cyberspace for Kids, and passionate advocate for children and education that is truly worthy of them. In 2001, Mimi and her late husband founded Learning By Grace, a leading provider of online Christian homeschooling Academies.

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