Teaching reading isn’t easy, but our list of best apps to help 1st-grade reading will certainly make your life easier.
There are a lot of basic skills that children need to develop in order to be able to read well. These skills will help children to break down words, read confidently, and even read literature above their age’s standard level.
So, let’s start by looking at some skills that can easily be improved during day-to-day life, and then we’ll review some awesome reading apps that can help to make your life easier.
Top Tips to Help a 1st Grade Reader
Reading requires certain thought processes and mental abilities. Breaking down words, recognizing words by sight, and retelling stories are all skills that can be turned into fun activities.
- Repetition – Just because they have finished reading a book for the first time, doesn’t mean that the story is no longer useful or interesting. Re-reading helps considerably at this age. So, encourage them to re-read stories they like. This can also be more fun by getting them (or the family) to act out parts of the book with unique character voices and all.
- Sight Words – Word games are a great way to increase sight word skills, from splat the word to snap, there are plenty of games that require children (and adults) to quickly recognize words in order to win.
- Decoding – This is a skill that is great for mixing into word games that they’ll love playing. Games such as Hide-and-Seek Words, drawing words, word scramble, air words, writing activities and more are good ways to practice.
- Phonemic Awareness – This is the ability to recognize the sound of letters and combinations of letters. Word family games can be a good activity for this, as can word splat and other phonemic focused activities.
- Comprehension – Largely this part comes in as the child’s vocabulary expands. However, there are a lot of useful skills that can complement their understanding. Comprehension can be improved through retelling activities, such as making a comic book, drawing a storyboard, or retelling the story from another character’s perspective. Day-to-day conversations also help greatly, especially questions about books they have read and enjoyed.
- Speed – This one is a little trickier to make into games, but it is possible. Timed reading can add pressure to complete a story quickly, as can speed reading competitions (even against oneself). However, speed is no use unless it is read properly, so penalties or re-reads need to be added to encourage accurate and fast reading.
- Pronunciation – Although reading is often done “in your head”, it is vital that we are understanding how the words should be read out loud. It is possible for someone to understand a written word, but have totally the wrong pronunciation of it. Gentle and non-judgemental correction of pronunciation is needed. Parents could even set a number of candies aside for a book or page of reading, where if the learner makes it through the page with no mistakes, they get a bigger reward.
While the above skills are not all that can be taught, they are key parts of learning to read. Friendly support and fun is the way to approach reading. It should become an activity that they fully enjoy.
As the above should help improve the key skills, let’s now take a look at some apps that can make any parent’s job easier when it comes to teaching reading.
Our Top 3 Best Apps To Help 1st-Grade Reading
These apps are purposely designed to help with teaching reading skills, including 1st-grade reading and all other grades. Some of them even do a lot of the teaching for you, allowing carers to take a break from teaching while continuing to provide reading support via the app.
Starfall – This is an interactive online app designed to help kids learn to read with games. Membership starts from $35 for home use.
ABCmouse – This online education website comes with a free 30-day trial. It is not focused entirely on reading (other subjects are covered), but it does have a decent reading section with plenty of interactive games and activities.
ReadabilityTutor – Readability tutor is pretty much as the name suggests and a whole lot more. This app has an in-built advanced AI tutor that can teach everything from correct pronunciation to comprehension. It has live feedback and real-time speech recognition. The library is huge and all activities and reading materials are age adjustable and appropriate (often custom selected by the AI to create a personally customized course). There is also a parent dashboard so that parents can see results and monitor progress without needing to watch everything in person. A free 7-day trial of ReadabilityTutor means that you can test it out without risk.
The above apps (and related websites) provide a great complementary variety of reading materials, games, and activities. Although you could choose just one, we recommend you use the trial period of ReadabilityTutor to see how much fun reading can be.