School is back in session, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. Get your child engaged in language arts with these fun apps!
Amazon Rapids is a new creative app that appeals to struggling readers or children who like to read digital content. The app does an excellent job of setting up an easy approachable system for children to listen to books as they are read aloud or to enjoy for independent reading. In the process of setting up the account the child and parent can choose interests together as well as a fun character and name to represent them in the app. There is a 7 day free trial that will allow you to try the experience with your child. The stories are comical and cartoon-like in nature. My daughter explained it well when she said, “It’s a text message story!” The appeal is well constructed for the next generation of digital readers! The app is free and there are different subscription options available. The content is appropriate for children who are just learning to read as well as independent readers ages 4-12.
Homer is a full “Learn to Read” series of lessons for kids. The app features letter-sound instruction, sight word introduction, read-aloud stories, and a mixed review of concepts. The app introduces a letter and through game play children must identify the sound in the beginning, middle and end of words. This is an essential skill for developing phonemic awareness in preparation for learning to read. Also included through the lesson progression is the introduction of sight words. Sight words are words that cannot be “sounded out” but rely on more instant recognition to develop fluent reading skills.
The app does a nice job of mixing instruction with a review of previously-taught concepts and the reading aloud of real books, which are all key components of learning to read. This app would be appropriate for children who are learning their letter sounds and are just beginning to read, or who need a review of the letter sounds. In addition, the app encourages children to record their voice saying the letter sounds, and reading the books and words included in the app. Children are most often at this developmental level during kindergarten and first grade. In addition, the developers conducted research with children who were beginning to read and used the app and showed that the use of the app 15 minutes a day led to an increase in their beginning reading skills. KinderTown agrees that routinely working 10-15 minutes with apps focused on reading skills will encourage your early reader’s development in this crucial area. Check out their website for a free 1 month trial. Homer is free to download but does include in-app purchases to buy additional lesson content.
FarFaria is an app I can’t stop thinking about, and one I downloaded instantly. This digital library is one of the best I have seen. It’s creatively crafted and offers something for every interest and age level. When the app launches, an enchanting map of different islands appears which correlate with the different types of digital books offered in the app. For example: Adventure Island, Classics Grove, or Animal Kingdom. Choose a location and a selection of books appear.
Here are some of FarFaria’s great features:
• Houses over 600 stories
• Five new stories are added each week
• Offline access to your favorite books
• Highlights the words read to your child
• Has an option to read myself, autoplay, or read to me
• Costs $3.99 a month or $39.99 a year
I know I am keeping this handy for use with my kids this school year. It would be great for travel and could be used for your bedtime or nap time routine if you are away or on the go. I always lug a few favorite books when we go away, but I’d love to replace it with FarFaria. I especially love Sing Along City. These are books that correlate to your child’s favorite songs. My daughter loves The Wheels on the Bus, so that was her first choice. Explore all the different locations to find out which is your child’s favorite.