While iPad applications should never fully replace books as a resource to teach your kid how to read, they offer many interactive benefits that simply can't be conveyed via black ink on white pages. Whether you are looking for games that reinforce retention and comprehension, content that can be customized based on age and skill level, or next generation "choose your own adventure" stories, here are five very well-read apps that teach and promote literacy.
Duck Duck Moose Reading (99 cents iPad)
Duck Duck Moose Reading uses fun animal-themed games to reinforce valuable early reading skills. The cute and varied feeding games explicitly reinforce the relationships between written letters and their sounds. Bright and colorful cartoon animals are beautifully animated to be highly responsive to a young player's success or failure as they encourage a player to new heights with fun expressions, dramatic actions, and helpful verbal feedback. The animals are adorable, the games are clever, and the ability to track the progress of 3 designated children and a guest can be very helpful to many parents. If your child loves animal themed play and is poised to invest in thoughtful phonemic awareness activities and simple word play, then this app is for them.
Reading Raven HD ($3.99 iPad)
Once you have customized this app for your learner based on age level and learning activities, follow Raven from one activity to another. Start by simply matching letters while seeing the letter, hearing the sound and an example of a word that starts with that letter. If you missed the cue, touch the ear to hear it again. Corrections are friendly and motivating. To add to engagement, children trace each letter and are able to view their representation briefly. Reading Raven never misses an opportunity to reinforce letter sound correspondence. The graphics are flawless, the manageability is incredible and the learning that will take place is priceless!
Phonics Tic-Tac-Toe (free iPad)
This app makes learning phonics fun by incorporating a competitive element. Kids can play in pairs or classes can play as teams. Kids learn to recognize words and sounds, count syllables, and more, all while playing Tic-Tac-Toe. Kids can choose to answer questions they're confident they can answer, or take a chance on tougher questions to snag a coveted square. Marrying the fun with smartly designed phonics questions is a win-win. The app challenges kids to win a game by answering a wide range of phonics-related questions. Winning the game brings positive feedback and bragging rights.
Kids' Vocab - MindSnacks (free iPad)
Kids' Vocab - MindSnacks is a visually pleasing, attention-grabbing app that will teach children a variety of new vocabulary words. It's important that students see connections between words so Kids' Vocab groups vocabulary together in a practical and sensible way. The animation within the study games is high quality and the seamless transitions between tasks will help children stay focused on learning new vocabulary.
Brush of Truth ($1.99 iPad)
The most common reason kids dislike reading is because they find it boring and lose interest in the story. This app, Brush Of Truth, is a reading app with a twist --- it allows the user to make choices about what they want to happen as they read along. There are twenty different endings, sixty five different "choice points," and it even allows readers to go back to explore different endings than their initial choice.