International literacy day is September 8th and to celebrate we’re walking through some great tech that can help increase children’s literacy. Kids get a lot of exposure to technology at a very young age. We’re looking at how you can harness that technology to teach them not only how to read, but how to enjoy reading as well.
HOMER is a great program that uses both a website and an app to teach kids. The Learn with HOMER app includes games to keep kids engaged and grows with kids so they can reach higher levels of literacy and vocabulary. HOMER offers thousands of stories, lessons and activities, both online and offline, so any child with access to the app can practice a little every day. Depending on a child’s age and ability, HOMER’s program adapts to focus on everything from identifying letter, shapes and colors to spelling, reading and fluency.
This online education program is a classroom that includes not only games, but also videos, e-books, puzzles and songs. The reading curriculum includes upper and lowercase recognition, sentence structure, over 450 books, and more. It’s a great way to start teaching children at a young age that not only reading, but also math, science and other subjects can be fun.
Reading Raven uses a phonetics-based approach to teach reading to students at their own pace. The app uses voice-over instructions (much like language-learning apps for adults) and multi-sensory reading games. You can even customize your children’s curriculum so they feel like it’s tailored to them. The app was created by educational media experts with backgrounds in developmental psychology and children’s reading, so you can trust that it was developed with care and experience.
Another program many years of loyal users is Hooked on Phonics. Originally a mail-in program, Hooked on Phonics now has a great app that has been used by over five million families. The expertly designed Learn to Read system approaches reading in three steps. It is based on research of how kids learn - through the sounds they associate with letters they learn to identify. Twenty-minute sessions make learning, practice, and reading manageable and fun.
Children’s literacy is not only about learning to read. It’s also about reading comprehension and developing a love of reading with great literacy habits. Aesop’s Quest is based on Aesop’s Fables and is a learning game in which the player must remember elements of a story in order to complete a level and earn a puzzle piece prize. Once a child receives all the puzzle pieces needed to solve the puzzle he or she can go to the next storyline. This helps your kids improve their comprehension along with their reading skills and receive rewards for what they retain.
If you have very young kids, Starfall is a great place to start. The app starts with learning the ABCs and progresses through levels named “Learn to Read”, “It’s Fun to Read” and “I’m Reading”. Starfall motivates kids through exploration and positive reinforcement, so children will always see the joy of reading.
For parents with kids who are already reading, and looking for a safe, kid-friendly mobile reading library, should consider Epic! This app, best suited for kids who already know how to read, is a great resource to help get children more engaged with reading. Its library of over 25,000 books across a variety of genres and topics covers a wide array of interests. It also sorts the library by age range and offers easy accessibility to parents so they can track their kids’ reading habits and interests.
Another great online library resource is FarFaria, where parents and children can access great books and download them onto their devices. The app’s library includes bedtime stories, fairy tales, short stories and more challenging longer reads that kids can choose from. Best of all? Young readers and their parents can set the books to read aloud to get through challenging sections. Kids can also highlight words that they don’t know how to pronounce to remember them later.
No matter what your children’s current reading level, technology can help advance their skills and keep reading fun. The games and online libraries that these apps provide can help with learning, retention, and developing an overall passion for reading.