Parents are often challenged to find creative ways to get their kids excited and interested in reading at a young age. We know how important reading skills are for children’s academic success and futures. Ultimately, we want to engage our kids and get them to read. It seems to me that one of the key ingredients is the fun factor. That is, if we can make reading fun, kids will want to do it. The question is how?
With the arrival of electronic devices such as the iPad and other tablets, kids seem to be spending more and more time in front of screens (not to mention the television, computer, etc.). But with the digital and interactive technology offered by the iPad, we now have a unique opportunity to encourage our kids to practice and develop their reading skills. Sky Fish Phonics and Hideout: Early Reading are two Apps that may offer an answer.
In this post, I will introduce you to two Apps. Sky Fish Phonics is an educational and fun game for young children that teaches basic reading skills . The App features a learning engine that responds in real time as kids develop their skills and guides them through a reading program at their own personal pace. Hideout: Early Reading is another App for early readers that incorporates a catchy tune and repetition with fun activities to help children learn a few new words and basic phonics.
Both Apps target pre-schoolers (ages 4 to 6). Sky Fish Phonics is available on the App Store for $2.99 and Hideout is currently free.
Playing Sky Fish Phonics
The objective of the game is to guide the fish through the sky, catch the stars while avoiding obstacles, and solve word puzzles. For example, in each level, your child is asked to find the picture that matches the word shown below. The program gives hints and your child can tap on the pictures to hear the word that is depicted. Your child can also touch on the letters to sound out the word written at the bottom of the screen. The program provides positive feedback for correct answers and also helps explain mistakes.
As your child progresses through the 20 levels available, he unlocks new costumes for the Sky Fish, obtains stars, and of course develops new reading skills!
Another feature of this App is that parents have access to a dashboard where you can review your child’s progress.
In case you are concerned about privacy, the builders of the App state that they do not collect any personal identifiable information.
Playing with Hideout: Early Reading
This App features catchy music (I must say toe-tapping tunes) but only 3 different sounds at the moment: “ap”, “it” and “op”.
Hideout breaks down the letters into the basic sounds and teaches kids several words that end in that sound. For example, for “it” your child will learn such words as “fit”, “split”, and “pit”.
Then your child plays a game using the recently learned words (e.g., splitting rocks into bits that fit in a pit). Once the brief game ends, the App reads aloud sentences using the words to describe the game that was just played.
Overall, your kids will have a lot of fun playing with these Apps while at the same time they will be learning to read new words and associate them with their meaning.
What other early reading and phonics Apps do your kids like? Please share with other readers by posting a comment below.
Special thanks to my wife for finding the Hideout App and for helping me write this post :-)
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