Is it just my kids, or do most kids spend a lot of time on the computer, tablet, phone? My girls spend so much time on their computers. Yes this has a great deal to do with the fact that they go to an online school, it makes most of their day online. But it feels like they are always plugged into something. My two youngest girls, love their tablets. Once they are done with school for the day, the run and grab the tablets.
They use to play a lot of games and it got me thinking. If they are going to be spending so much on these devices, there has to be a way for them to also be learning. On the hunt I went. I picked reading (stay tuned for the best math apps too) and started to search the apps. To say there are a lot of reading apps, is not anywhere close to what I found. There are hundreds of reading apps. Now not all apps are created equal. Some are really great, some are lacking; some are free and some cost as much as $12 a month. It was crazy the variety that was out there.
Below are my top 5 apps. They had to be affordable (no $12 a month here, thank you very much), they had to have lots of books to choose from, they had to reach a broad reading range, and last but certainly most important, the girls had to want to play them without my prompting. Good criteria I think. Thoughts? Did I miss any? (These are in no order)
This is my favorite one. The girls love it, you can pick the level that they are reading at based on the common core levels. (Yes some of you will hate it just because of that, but it really makes finding the right level and the rest of the books in that level super easy to find. Even the girls can find their own books). You can read the stories, it can read them to you, and it even has a quiz at the end of each book to make sure that not only can they read it but your kid can UNDERSTAND what they read. Plus it is totally free. The only downside is it has to be through your school, so all you homeschool mama’s call and complain about it.
This one is the girls favorite. It opens to a Neverland type map, and you select the location that you want to go to; Bedtime Buffs, Fairytale Falls, Mt Make Believe and a lot more. Everything is very colorful and detailed. Like Raz-Kids, you can read the story or have it read it to you. It has two versions of the app, a free app and a paid. The free app, you can read one book a day; with the paid you get unlimited.
We all love Homer. There is no free version, so that is a bummer. But it is only $7.99 a month, not to terribly expensive. It has a ton of activities: it can read you the story, you can read them, you can record you reading them, it has exercises that work with sounds of letters, and so much more. Baby (age 3) would spend all day on this app if you let her. She loves playing with it and listening to the engaging stories. Plus her reading ability is growing by leaps and bounds, since she spends a good deal of time with the pre-reading activities. Saying that she is doing “school”. Anything that gives a positive spin to school work is good in my book.
Was any other parent excited to have Reading Rainbow back? I know that I was. Growing up I loved this show, and I was thrilled that the app was coming out. My girls would see how great it was too. They liked it, but for the free version they were only allowed to pick 5 books. After a day, they were done with it. It is a really great start up app, that being said, it is $10 a month. With all the money that they raised, it seems like they could have offered this at a much lower price point.
What a great app, even the free version is robust. What I like about this particular app, and what separates it from the other reading apps, it starts spelling. It has lots of activities that will say the word “CAT” and give you the letters. Then you have to put the letters in the correct order. While it is very easy, it certainly helps with letter sounds and the visual letter.
So those are my top 5 reading apps. Do you let your kids use a tablet, phone, laptop? What apps do you like?