Chapter 30: Learning Apps
(Click for the Complete Online Parent Reading Guide)
Little techno wizards
If you have a smartphone or a tablet, chances are that your child is always begging to use it. Let’s face it, kids today love tech and are usually pretty darned good with it. So why not take advantage of that intense interest and focus it on reading? Below you will find a review of some pretty cool, kid-friendly reading apps.
Bring on the apps!
Some of these apps encourage reading and some focus on writing, but all of them are just plain fun.
- Story Patch – Story Patch is an iPad app that combines reading and writing by letting kids make their own story e-books. It includes a library of images that your child can use to illustrate his story once it’s written. He can even add his own photos of family, friends or pets. Once his story is done, be sure to have him read it back to you!
- Forest Plants: Children’s Encyclopedia – This app, designed for both iPads and iPhones, opens a window for kids into the world of wild plants. It has bright illustrations of over 40 different kinds of plants, trees and bushes and gives cool scientific facts about each one. There’s also a voice-over feature. Your child can read along with the voice – great practice for a struggling reader!
- Reading Rainbow – This much-loved PBS series starring host LeVar Burton is now available as an app. With more than 450 quality kids’ books in its “skybrary,” the reading choices are nearly endless! It even has a free, online dashboard, so parents can log on and track what their children are reading.
- MeeGenious – MeeGenious is another kids’ book library, but it comes with the added bonus of a read-along feature that highlights each word and says it out loud, so kids can read along. This can help your child keep his place while reading and even learn to read new words. Featured books come from many well-known children’s authors, including Dr. Seuss and P.D. Eastman.
Reading on the small screen
And don’t forget the e-reader. E-readers make books seem fresh and new. Some of the stories you can put on them are even interactive. Your child can listen to the characters talk or make decisions about how the story should end. This can add even more interest to the reading experience. Just remember, don’t let an e-book be a substitute for parental involvement – it’s not! And don’t pick stories with too much animation. You want your child reading, not watching a movie disguised as a book!
Some fun, downloadable books for kids include “Zanny: Born to Run,” produced by Extra Special Kids, “Teddy’s Day,” created by Auryn, and “Astrojammies,” from Demibooks. And, if you don’t own an e-reader, remember that many libraries now have them available for checkout and offer free, downloadable kids’ books to go with them.
Story Patch, http://www.storypatch.com/
Forest Plants: Children’s Encyclopedia, https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/forest-plants-childrens-encyclopedia/id836576951?mt=8
Reading Rainbow, https://www.readingrainbow.com/reading-rainbow-app