It isn’t uncommon for children, especially children who already struggle with reading, to fall victim to the summer slide. Summer slide is what happens when the skills students obtain throughout the school year are forgotten over the summer months. Now you may be asking yourself, how do I prevent my child from the summer slide? The answer is simple; incorporate some form of reading every day. This could be having your child read their menu at lunch, you reading aloud to your child before bed, or with today’s technology literally in the palm of our hands, you can make reading more entertaining with one or more of the reading apps reviewed below.
Super Why! Power to Read (iOS, Android, Kindle)
Super Why! uses familiar characters to work with your child on letters, phonics, rhyming and reading comprehension. Super Why! has four games geared towards specific language learning concepts that most 4- 6-year old children need to practice. Letter identification, letter sounds and letter writing are tied together with word building activities. Rhyming is practiced by having children identify words with the same endings or word families. Comprehension skills are refined as children view pictures from common stories to identify the missing word in each sentence. Super Why! is a very engaging app with lots of color and action. The words are highlighted as they are spoken and word choices in the rhyming and comprehension activities are read aloud to support different levels of readers.
Montessori Preschool (iOS)
Montessori Preschool is an app that is free to download with lots of different purchasing options to customize your child’s experience. In the literacy section, the game “I Spy” is perfect for beginning readers to identify sounds in words through game play. For children who are beginning to learn their letters there are many activities to identify the letters and their corresponding sounds. In addition, children can trace the letters in print or cursive in the virtual sand box. For beginning readers, an illustrated story sectionpresents easy-to-read simple sentences, in which children must match the pictures to the sentences. This is a great way for children to demonstrate their comprehension skills.
FarFaria Stories to Read Along (iOS, Android)
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. Children can choose from locations such as Adventure Island, Classics Grove, or Animal Kingdomand a selection of books appears. Please note that the books are created for FarFaria or are recreations of well-known classics. Some highlights of FarFaria’s great features include: 1)600 stories 2)5 new stories each week 3)offline access to your favorite books 4)highlights the words read to your child 5)option to read myself, autoplay or read to me 6)$3.99 a month or $39.99 a year. I know I am keeping this app handy for use with my kids this summer. 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 these 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. FarFaria, thank you for creating the perfect enchanting world of digital books for the iPad!
This app offers five pre-reading activities for preschoolers. It’s much more than an app to practice letters. The app focuses on the following skills: tracing and matching lower and upper- case letters; recognizing letters and letter sounds; listening and matching rhymes; determining syllables; and hearing beginning, middle and ending sounds in words. The activities are expertly created and simulate lessons in preschool and kindergarten classrooms. The app will grow with your child as he learns the letters and gains reading skills. The animation and characters in this app come to life (no surprise from Disney) to motivate your child and help him focus on learning the skills. KinderTown is impressed with the quality of the content provided by the app. Our child testers enjoyed the balance of rewarding activities with the learning games.
Parents, watch your preschooler interact with the app and then simulate the activities in the real world with your child for extra practice. For example, the app uses common words to determine the number of syllables in a word. Ask your child questions like, “How many syllables do you hear in the word macaroni?” “How many syllables are in the word banana?” To imitate the rhyming games, ask your child, “Which word rhymes with cat, bat, or wagon?” This app ranks at the top as one of the best we’ve seen for preschoolers.