We recently completed four new iPad apps – exciting for us at Rock ‘N Learn! These iPad apps help students learn to read. And we’ve lowered the price of each app to make them super affordable.
Our four iPad apps help kids practice stories that build in complexity based on a logical sequence of phonics rules. They are perfect for young children just starting to read or older students still struggling to build their reading skills. Later, I’ll tell you about an unexpected benefit of these apps for learning to read that surprised even our developers.
Our first iPad app, Phonics Easy Reader 1, provides practice reading stories having simple sentences with short vowels, consonant-vowel-consonant CVC words, common word endings, and words ending in s and plural s. The second iPad app, Phonics Easy Reader 2, lets kids practice reading sentences with consonant blends, consonant digraphs, and silent e to make long vowel sounds. The third iPad app, Phonics Easy Reader 3, allows students to practice reading words with long vowels and r-controlled vowels.
Our fourth iPad app, Phonics Easy Reader 4, provides practice reading stories with more complex sentences that incorporate words with diphthongs – sometimes called gliding vowels because they have two adjacent vowel sounds in the same syllable, such as in words like “boy” or “cow.” This app also covers other vowels sounds along with words having multiple syllables, ending sounds, and silent consonants.
These apps also include words that cannot be sounded phonetically – memory words – at the beginning of each story.
To use the apps, learners have the choice of having each story read to them or trying to read the stories for themselves. Here’s where the fun kicks in:
The unexpected benefit is that because learners can touch any word to hear how it is supposed to be read, they can also touch words out of sequence to make up their own sentences. And these can be a little ridiculous or slightly nonsensical – lots of fun for kids learning to read.
Why is this a benefit? Too often, struggling readers are given the most mindless tasks during reading. It’s boring for them (and boring for their instructors). The best phonics instruction occurs within the context of helping children think with text. But it’s difficult to get beyond boring activities that essentially involve memory work. Students lack the skills to compose and write down their own stories or sentences when they are still learning to read basic words.
Our initial testing of these apps with students confirms that our Phonics Easy Reader iPad apps encourage kids to apply skills at a very basic level. By touching words out of sequence, students begin to form new sentences – even if they tend to be silly sentences. That’s fun, and kids like having fun! With regular print material, you frequently wonder whether a child starting to read is just memorizing text and not actually reading. These iPad apps make reading a fun, interactive process at the most basic level. Kids learn new words and get practice reading them in stories and also combining these words to form new sentences.
What are your thoughts about the potential for iPad apps to help kids learn to read?