If you have at least tried to teach your kids how to read, you must have learned that there are several steps they need to pass before they can start reading. For example, they need to learn about letter names, letter sounds (phonics), word rhymes, and sight words. When they have had enough practice, they might have a decent chance at reading on their own.
And if you’ve been following our work here, you’ve also probably noticed that there are plenty of great apps for each of the above steps. But, there really hasn’t been a single app that provides a comprehensive approach to learning how to read.
At least, not until The Joy of Reading comes along. This app will take you on a guided journey from learning letter sounds to differentiating between short and long vowels.
Follow Along the Guided Learning Path
The Joy of Reading is structured into nine games that must be played almost sequentially. You start by going into the House of Words, and unlock a painting. Each painting has a learning path that you must complete to collect coins, which in turn unlock more paintings.
Each learning path may consist of one or more games. Not all of them will be available at first. But if you complete your painting, you’ll get to unlock a new word for the ABC Dictionary. The more words you collect, the more games will be available. This gives you an incentive to play the House of Words over and over again.
Each game may consist up to four levels with a slight increase in difficulty. In the initial sounds game, for example, you start by identifying matching words and finish by removing the ones that don’t.
In the more advanced games, you can learn how to blend words by changing a consonant from a CVC word to form a new word. You can also change a short vowel into a long one, e.g., from ‘plan’ to ‘plane’. You can also learn about compound words, such as ‘popcorn’.
As you practice all these skills, you’ll learn several sight words along the process. You can then play the Simple Sentence game. Start by reading the sentence at the bottom of the screen, then drag the pictures that best illustrate the sentence.
Parents Need to Know
The Joy of Reading already includes a vast dictionary, but you can add your own words. You can record your own voice saying those words, and provide pictures to help illustrate them. Then, for each of these new words, you can play the sight words game.
If you access the parents zone, you can read the 30-page Parent and Teacher Handbook, which outlines the games and why they’re structured in a sequential manner. You can also learn about the argument why kids ages 3+ should start their journey in learning how to read. The Joy of Reading is developed with early reading specialist from McGill University, Dr. Robert Savage, and the English Common Core State Standards in mind.
Things I Like
In the parents zone, you can monitor your kids’ performance. You can learn how many words they’ve unlocked, when their last play session was, and their total playtime. You can also monitor the progression for each game. The app supports multiple user profiles, so you can use it with more than one child and have these data tracked individually.
The Joy of Reading also supports Free Play mode where you can play any of the unlocked games without having to follow the learning paths. This mode emphasizes on having fun and enjoying the process of learning. The app doesn’t rush you to learn. Instead, you can play it in a slower manner and take the opportunity to improve your vocabulary.
The Joy of Reading offers a comprehensive and systematic approach for kids ages 3+ to learn how to read. It puts an emphasis on ‘joy’ and lets kids take it slow, enjoy the process, and learn new words as they play. If you’ve been wondering how to teach your kids to read in a sequential manner, this is the perfect app for you and your kids.
App was provided for our honest review.