Today’s parents might not be able to effectively limit their older child’s screen time. Most children now use computers all day in school and communicate with friends via devices, too. The social world is online, and attitudes about screens might be evolving.
There’s also screen time that parents might consider ‘positive screen time.’ This means that children are using devices to learn or to explore new ideas. Maybe they are reading a book online or using an app to help with sight words. What are the best educational reading apps to download for positive screen time? Here is a list of options for children to explore books and the reading journey via their devices.
The Best Educational Reading Apps for Younger Children
For children in younger grades like kindergarten and first grade, parents might consider apps that focus on phonics and early reading skills. Apps that help children practice sight words are ideal, too. Here are the best educational reading apps for younger children:
- Teach Your Monster to Read ($5.99)
Several of these apps focus on phonics skills and tracing letters to reinforce letter recognition. In addition, sight word apps like Sight Words Coach help children master those lists of words; in fact, Sight Words Coach can even compile a list of words that children are having trouble mastering.
Teach Your Monster to Read is geared toward early readers. This app uses a play-based approach to help children learn to read. The ‘teaching’ concept could be fun for children who enjoy playing school.
PBS Kids is a great general app that includes games that focus on reading and other educational skills, too. Plus, children who watch PBS Kids can enjoy seeing their favorite characters as they learn.
Most of these apps are free, but Teach Your Monster to Read is priced at $5.99. Parents can also do a search via either the App Store (for Apple) or Google Play (for Android) to find other apps that might interest their child and help them develop and grow their reading skills.
The Best Educational Apps for More Developed Readers
Older elementary children also can benefit from fun educational reading apps. However, many older children might be fluent readers who already have a mastery of letters and sounds. Some readers, though, might struggle and need more enrichment.
Here are the best educational apps for more developed readers or children in upper elementary grades:
- Reading Comprehension Camp ($19.99)
For older elementary children who struggle with more difficult comprehension expectations, Reading Comprehension Camp could be a great resource. The app can be used by ages four and up. However, the app English Reading Comprehension is much more advanced. Parents might want to explore this app to ensure that it isn’t too difficult for their child—there are different levels, though.
Inference Jones focuses on helping children learn to inference meaning from text. Level 1 is suitable for older children, and the app could be a fun way to practice this comprehension skill.
Older children might love to read via their devices, too. Both Google Play Books and Apple Books allow parents to download books so children can read them via an ereader. These apps let children virtually flip the pages of a book with their finger; don’t worry that text needs to be scrolled. These apps provide virtual books and, for children who love technology, ebooks can get them excited to read.
Some children learn better when they listen to a book as they follow along. Audible requires a subscription, and allows access to a library of audiobooks. Find a child’s favorite title, and let them listen to the book as they read along.
Parents who don’t want to commit to an Audible subscription also could research audiobook options at their local library. Many libraries offer audiobooks for checkout. If a title isn’t available, many libraries can order them. It never hurts to ask!
Reading Apps for All Elementary Ages
Some reading apps are ideal for all elementary grade levels. These apps can include Audible and e-readers. However, more in-depth reading programs also are designed to grow with children. These programs typically require a subscription.
Parents might consider using a specialized reading program when they notice that their child is struggling with fluency or comprehension. Some children have difficulty sounding out words and decoding them, but others struggle to comprehend what they read. Some readers struggle with both fluency and comprehension.
What should parents look for when researching reading programs? Here are some crucial features when considering all the options:
- Colorful illustrations
- Measurable results
- An immersive design
- Engaging books leveled for the reader
- Positive feedback
- Directed reading guidance
Why are illustrations such an important feature? For children who struggle with reading, seeing huge blocks of texts can be really overwhelming. Illustrations help break up the text of the story so that children don’t feel that the text is more manageable.
Illustrations also can help provide clues about the story, too. Struggling readers may be able to look at the picture to help them better understand what they are reading. Pictures can become visual cues to help children.
Parents want to know the effectiveness of a reading program. They want to know that the program is helping their child, and that their child is gaining proficiency.
A reading program should help parents better understand their child’s progress. Ideally, programs should include a specific portal or page for parents to view their child’s reading data, including their fluency, comprehension and reading level.
An Immersive Design
Reading is a journey, but it should be a fun journey. A reading program should encourage children to explore the story and the words that make up the journey.
Look for programs that let children highlight words to explore their meaning. Programs also could include narrated story features, too.
Encouragement can help children want to continue to learn more or read more. Programs should encourage children with positive feedback.
When children do well, they should feel happy and excited about their progress. The program should help children gain confidence, not discourage them.
Directed Reading Guidance
When a child stumbles on a word or is struggling, can the program help them? Children who struggle to read might need extra guidance and support, and parents might look for a program that can best provide help for their child.
The Reading Program that Provides the Best Support and Reading Tools
Readability is a reading program that includes all these important features. Readability includes a built-in AI tutor that is programmed with voice recognition software that recognizes a child’s voice. When a child reads a story aloud, the tutor can help them if they stumble. The tutor also asks children questions at the end of each story to measure comprehension.
Readability doesn’t overwhelm children with long blocks of text. The program includes colorful details to complement the story.
Parents also can check their child’s progress on Readability via the Progress Dashboard. This parents-only portal features a child’s reading data, including fluency, comprehension, reading level and time spent on the program. Parents will always know their child’s progress when using Readability.
The program also encourages children to explore words within the story. If a child doesn’t know the meaning of a word, they can highlight the word to hear the definition. They also can hear the word in a sentence.
Not every reading program is ideal for every child, which is why parents are invited to sign up for a free seven-day trial to let their child explore the program and use all the features. Ready to try Readability? Sign up for a free trial today.