Learning to read can be a long and sometimes frustrating process for students. New readers can often run into some difficulty. However, each child’s reading process is different. If your child is multilingual, they might run into some unique issues when they begin to learn to read in English that might cause them to struggle with reading.
Many kids might be considered “generation1.5” where they grew up speaking their family’s native language at home but also exposed to English at school and through media such as television or movies. These “generation 1.5” students often have reading obstacles that new young readers have along with reading obstacles that English as a Second Language (ESL) students might have.
An interactive app for learning to read can help your child turn the task of reading into a fun activity. Here are our favorite apps for learning to read for elementary ESL students :
Best for Vocabulary
Vocabulary building is important for all new readers, but it is especially important for ESL learners. The more words your child is able to recognize, the easier and quicker they will be able to read.
According to linguist Paul Nation, about 2,000 high-frequency words make up about 80 percent of all texts in English. Your child should first concentrate on building high-frequency words or sight words. These apps can help your child begin to acquire the necessary vocabulary they need to begin reading independently.
- Futaba – This word game app is great if you have a house full of new readers or ESL readers. This multiplayer game has players match the right vocabulary word to the picture displayed on the screen. The first player to choose the correct vocabulary word wins. This game helps with getting your new reader to practice recognizing vocabulary words quickly and matching them to their meaning.
- Monkey Puzzle – Playing more word games can help your child acquire vocabulary without even knowing it. Monkey Puzzles has several different word games that can keep your child motivated and having fun while they learn new words.
Best for Grammar
Grammar might not initially seem like something to be concerned with when talking about learning to read, but it is an essential skill when it comes to reading comprehension. For ESL students, grammar instruction is often a focus because the structure of English is often very different from their native language. Reading can be a challenge if your child is unfamiliar with English sentence structure.
While practicing to create sentences might seem more like a writing task, reading and writing skills often are integrated and work together. These interactive grammar apps can help your child practice their sentence structures to be able to read and understand sentences in their texts.
- Sentence Master – With this app, learning the right way to create a sentence becomes fun and interactive. Sentence Master provides various game levels so your child can build their skills. Your child can also share their scores and success with other players. This is a great way to increase both their vocabulary and grammar skills.
- LearnEnglish Grammar – The British Council’s grammar app provides both U.K. English and U.S. English versions of their widely popular app. This game-focused app turns grammar into fun by using trivia-like games and interactive activities. LearnEnglish makes learning grammar interesting and actually motivates your child to practice their grammar skills.
Best for Extensive Reading
Vocabulary and grammar skills are essential for young ESL readers to master and focus on when learning to read. However, many studies show that a great way to address reading skills is to get your child to read a lot and often. Extensive reading is basically reading for fun. Your child can select the books they want to read and they should read them at their own pace. You can practice this technique using apps as well.
- Readability– This app can help your child learn to read in English by actually listening to them as they read and even reading to them. Readability provides a variety of stories that is often updated so your child will virtually never run out of reading material. The app can help your child as they read by using A.I. and speech recognition technology to listen to your child as they read and give them instant feedback to improve. Your child can also have a model for good reading by having the app read the stories to them as they follow along.
Many studies show that children learn languages much easier and quicker than adults. Truly, the best way to improve your child’s reading skills is to get them to practice reading as much as possible.
Using an app for learning to read such as Readability can help your child improve their English reading skills anywhere. Apps can make learning interactive and fun and keeps your child motivated to read.