Mark Twain once said, “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” And yet despite that, many parents and teachers find it difficult to encourage children to start reading, especially with so many devices around to distract them. In fact,
Some older students find literature lessons to be so off-putting that they drop the subject as quickly as possible. According to Harry Simons, a professional content writer at BestEssays, “Many students find literacy studies so off-putting that they drop their lessons at the earliest opportunity, severely limiting their potential future income. The lack of academic achievement is one of the key reasons why students drop out of school – and why high-school graduates earn $17,500 less per year than people with college degrees.”
Luckily, the truth is that a smartphone isn’t just a tool for social networking and playing Angry Birds. In fact, many schools, colleges and universities now use tablet computers in the classroom, relying on applications to bring the learning experience to life and to encourage kids to interact with subjects in a whole new way.
With literacy in particular, it’s vital to get kids interested at an early age to establish a pattern that they can follow throughout their adult lives. iPhone apps are a great way to do just that, which is why we’ve listed seven of our favourites.
Reading Raven is a one-stop shop for teaching your child to read, allowing them to follow a step-by-step process as and when they’re ready. That means that they can discover reading for themselves, rather than having it forced upon them, and the app comes with games that bring the experience to life. Perfect for kids aged 3-7.
While this is technically not a literacy app, it’s a fantastic all-rounder that will teach kids about addition, subtraction, multiplication and division while engaging them within a fantasy world full of ghouls and goblins. Better still, the written storyline encourages kids to develop their reading skills and their arithmetic at the same time.
FriendStrip is designed to bring out the natural storyteller in kids by encouraging them to use their imagination. It allows children to take photos on the device and to couple those with a short story from the archive to create a personalized comic strip in which the child is in the starring role. The stories were developed by professional comic artists and offer a huge range of scenarios for every eventuality. Like a child’s imagination, the possibilities are virtually limitless.
The Sight Words app helps children to learn to read and was developed with teachers and parents in mind. Better still, there are six games in one application, from memory games and bingo to flash cards, spelling tests and more. It’s compatible with iPads as well as iPhones, it includes activities for a variety of age ranges, and it even provides spoken instructions to help kids to use it, as well as a choice of either male or female voiceovers.
This app uses the Montessori learning method to make spelling, reading and writing more fun. It has 320 “word-image-audio-phonics” puzzles and allows kids to tap the screen to hear the word. Parents can create and export reports to monitor their child’s progress, and the app itself has proven popular with over 400 ratings and an average of 4* from its users.
With more and more schools using phonics to help youngsters to learn the alphabet, there’s been an explosion of late in the number of phonics-based resources available. This app is designed to develop an understanding of the sound that each letter makes, focusing on the sounds rather than the letters themselves. While it may be too basic for older kids – and those who are already fluent readers – it’s perfect for teaching kids the basics.
Monkey Junior is one of the most popular reading apps on the market, boasting “millions of happy learners”. The good thing about this app is that while it’s perfect for learning English, it also has a curriculum for teaching Spanish, Chinese, French and Vietnamese, with additional languages coming soon. Remember, though, that it uses in-app purchases to provide content, so you’ll want to keep an eye on kids while they’re playing so that they don’t spend all of your money.
Learning literacy doesn’t have to feel like a chore. In fact, by invoking the power of new technologies to bring the subject to life, you can introduce a child to the world of words without scaring them away for good.
After all, words are powerful – and so are the people who know how to use them. That’s why it’s our jobs as parents – and teachers – to make sure that we give our children the best possible start in life by encouraging them to love literacy while they learn it.
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