Read - Kids learn to read and write in 20 easy lessons
An app that aims to help young children learn how to read and write using a mixture of both phonics and whole language methods. Aimed at the 4-8 age range the app provides 20 structured lessons to help users acquire the relevant reading skills.
This is an all-round excellent app that provides learning to read and write skills in a simple, effective and well thought out way. It also delivers the content in a sensible manner which will have users returning to it time after time. It also has a lot of potential to be used within the classroom with groups of students and not just at home with individuals.
The developer has clearly got a large expertise in the area of creating apps and also in the content of a specific app to aid reading through phonics and a whole language method. The design of the app is extremely clean and very easy to use and although it doesn’t have the look of a young person’s app (i.e. illustrations that you would associate with a picture book and other phonics/reading apps) I think this makes it more targeted to the schools market where it has a professional look that work very well. This is not to say that a user couldn’t use it at home with their child just that the design and usability would work in an educational setting.
The developer’s website is also a useful added tool and there are options to not only contact the developer with any extra information you require but a number of videos helping to get the most out of the app and all its features. A separate ‘support’ website is also available and this details a number FAQs with solutions. Again the design of the websites is very in keeping with the look of the app and this continues the sense of professionalism and therefore trust in the quality of the app.
The content of the app though is really where the app excels. There are 20 lessons which are further split in 120 exercises. There are also more than 150 interactive stories and a whole host of additional content that makes the app extremely good value for money. The lessons are structured in such a way that it is about a progression in learning to read rather than throwing good content together but in a meaningless way. The app encourages the user to work through the lessons and not skip ahead and so receive a fully immersed progression through learning to read. The order of the lessons is based on the frequency of the letters in the English language and this certainly helps to provide a sensible flow of learning. The activities within the lessons also help this as the learner begins with tracing the letter to familiarise themselves with this before moving on to listening to the sound of the letter and picking the correct option for the list given. Other activities the user progresses through include picking correct words, listening and writing to construct words and also stories with question helping them to fully embed their understanding.
Learning to read is such an important subject but also one that can potentially be a mine field for learners. With this app the user can work at their own pace and this is encouraged, becoming confident with one aspect before moving onto another. With reading especially repetition is important and so users need to feel confident and comfortable in wanting to return to the app and this certainly seems to be achieved through this app.
For those using this in an education setting there are also small aspects which add value to the app as a whole. You can set up users and then track how far they have got through the app so you can see how well they are progressing over a period of time. This also means that you can personalise the learning for the pupils and see maybe where they need some extra help if they are struggling with a certain aspect.
Overall this is a very well thought out app that delivers not only on looks but also with content.
From the Developer
Read is a 20-lesson program designed to help kindergarten and elementary school age children (4-8 age range) acquire reading skills in a fun and progressive way.
Read draws on two of the most popular methods currently in use for teaching to read in English: the Phonics Method and the Whole Language Method.Most education experts now agree that a combination of both is the key to successful learning.
- Read is designed for optimal adaptability to the child's pace of learning
- Read uses natural-sounding voices in a variety of accents (American, British....).
- 20 lessons, 120 exercises, more than 150 interactive stories, step-by-step progression.
- No previous requirements: Read is aimed at children learning to read for the first time, and takes them to the 2nd-grade level in reading.
- The letters are introduced based on their frequency in the English language rather than their place in the alphabet. From lesson 1,
the child will be able to read short sentences then original stories that make sense, making for a truly rewarding reading experience.
- During the learning stage Read uses special symbols to help the child identify specific sound units or letter combinations.
- Read's colorful, simple yet appealing graphic design and kid-friendly interface help children get and stay focused.
- Read keeps track of the child's progress and fosters motivation through a fun and colorful achievement system.
- Read includes educational tips and detailed contextual help menus for parents and teachers.
Letter Tracing - Using his finger, the child traces over the letters.
How Do You Spell It - The child listens to a sound then picks the correct answer among several written sound units.
Choose the Right Word -The child listens to a word then picks the correct answer among several written words.
Listen and Write
The child drags and drops sound units in order to write the word she has just heard. The ability to construct a word from distinct 'building blocks' is one of the fundamental skills required for fluent reading, and a central component in the Phonics method.
Match Words and Sounds
The child matches a sound with its written form in a kind of auditory game of concentration. This is especially effective for learning sight words, a pivotal element in the Whole Language method.
Interactive Writing Pad
This activity allows the child to 'construct' words and sentences, or even invent made-up words - by freely drag-and-dropping individual letters (lower- or uppercase), letter combinations, and numbers to the interactive writing pad, which reads them aloud as she writes them.
Stories and Questions
Stories range from a few words in the first lessons to fully-blown original narratives in the later stages. Each story comes with a comprehension test consisting in one to three questions. Making sure that your child fully understands what he has just read is essential: being a reader is not just about sounding out the written word but also of course getting the general meaning of a text. Associating decoding and comprehension from the beginning encourages the child to pay close attention to and enjoy what he's reading.
Learn the Alphabet
This activity allows the child to learn or review the alphabet using both letter names and letter sounds, lowercase and uppercase letters.
A collection of original or classic children's stories that open up the world of reading for the child. These stories, which are longer than those from the lessons, pave the way for the child to read her first books. The child can touch any word to hear it pronounced. She can also play the audio for the whole story while following the words on the screen.
Sight Words and Phrases
This activity familiarizes the child with over 100 sight words and sight phrases among the most frequently used in the English language.