Can Parents Use Apps to Help a Five Year Old Read?

June 3, 2020

Can Parents Use Apps to Help a Five Year Old Read?

At age five, most children will either be in preschool or kindergarten. However, some parents may delay kindergarten or preschool, depending on the child’s individual needs and perhaps even the family’s financial issues (many parents pay for preschool). 

Reading skills may vary at age five. Some children may be reading small books with ease, but others may still be mastering phonics and the alphabet.

The development of each child is unique, and parents shouldn’t compare their child to another. What if parents want to help increase a child’s literacy skills? Can parents use reading apps to help a five-year-old read?

Reading Apps for 5-Year-olds – Pros & Cons

For many kids, technology is simply a part of everyday life. Parents may integrate educational games and learning apps in an effort to minimize a child’s exposure to more mind-numbing tech choices. How much tech is too much, though? Are apps really a good choice for education?

Right now, kids across the country are learning remotely. Education during Covid has meant Zoom meetings, online district portals for turning in assignments…and maybe even a few educational apps, too. Minimizing screen time has become almost impossible when learning takes place virtually.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has not issued hard and fast recommendations for screen time for older kids. You won’t find a directive stating that “x” amount of hours should be the limit for school-age children. Instead, the AAP encourages that parents take on a new approach to screen time and virtual play. Some of the AAP’s advice includes:

  • Creating a family plan for technology
  • Setting boundaries and limitations on technology use
  • Having family screen-time
  • Making sure kids get out and play
  • Remembering that parents set the example

Family plans allow for children to understand the rules for household technology use. Maybe parents only allow a few hours of app use each day related to entertainment. All kids need boundaries for technology use so that those screens don’t become an addiction. Children also need balance in their lives; they should still get outdoors and play or enjoy imaginative play indoors.

Parents also need to understand that if they are always staring at a screen, kids may take this behavior as a norm. Be the example, and don’t overindulge on screen time. Instead, have family time together. Also, try to put your phone down and sit with children as they engage with educational apps.

Can Parents Use Apps to Help a Five Year Old Read?

What Reading Apps Are Best for Five-Year-Olds

The educational needs of every five years old are unique. If a child is a fairly proficient reader, parents may utilize apps that are designed as ebook readers and allow children to read independently. If a child is learning phonics and may need a little more help, parents can download reading apps that focus on letter identification and sounds.

What if parents want their child to learn to read ahead of what’s being taught in school? There are many apps that are designed to help children to read more proficiently, boost comprehension, and also aid in phonetic and phonemic identification.

Some children may be identified as having reading struggles at age five, although some children’s struggles emerge later. When parents notice struggles, talking to the teacher (if the child is in school) could help ease worries or even allow parents to advocate for additional testing or enrichment programs.

Parents may take the lead, though, if help isn’t available. Many apps—including Readability—help children with different types of reading struggles. Readability provides an integrated virtual tutor that aids a child with pronunciation and helps ask questions during the reading journey to help encourage understanding and boost comprehension. Readability is suitable for different ages, and stories are tailored to the child’s reading abilities.

Can Parents Use Apps to Help a Five Year Old Read?

What Features Should Parents Look for in an App?

Not all reading apps are ideal for every child. There is no one-size-fits-all app for reading. Your child’s learning style also could affect what app resonates and what app falls flat. Some children are auditory learners, others learn best with visual instruction and some children are ‘tactile learners.’ Ideally, the app you choose should have features geared to both learning styles.

Look for apps that feature:

  • Colorful illustrations
  • Interactive features (pictures may ‘come to life’ with the click of the mouse)
  • Auditory prompts and instruction
  • Leveled reading lessons that grow with the child’s ability

Are Learning Games the Same as Reading Apps?

Some games may be advertised as educational. These games are a great choice to encourage kids to learn while having fun. Reading games can help children during their reading journey. Children may utilize apps like Readability for fluency and comprehension and play reading games for more enrichment.

Games and apps can have value but research your choices before you hit download. Look at reviews and see if the game is endorsed by educators or recommended for educators to use in the classroom. Of course, if your child really loves a game, parents may just opt to download it. Set limitations to ensure that kids aren’t living on the screen.

Curious if the Readability reading app is right for your child? Try it for free for seven days!