Reading is an essential skill for all children, but it’s also a skill that many young learners struggle with. Fortunately, there are many resources parents and teachers can use to help kids develop reading skills. With the Read - Kids learn to read and write in 20 easy lessons app, kindergarten and elementary school age children can acquire reading skills in a fun and progressive way.
Unlike many reading apps that rely on only a single method, the Read app draws on two popular methods for teaching to read in English: the Phonics method and the Whole Language method. The combination of both is believed to be the key to successful learning, and Read implements both in a way that’s easy to understand even by first-time learners.
Learn to Read in 20 Lessons
In Read, kids find 20 lessons, 120 exercises, and more than 150 interactive stories designed to take them to the 2nd-grade level in reading. The lessons are organized into 6 sections, each corresponding to a different set of skills, for example, writing, phonics, sight words, and reading comprehension.
The first section is Letter Tracing. In this section kids use their finger to trace over letters of the alphabet. As the letter is traced the letter sound is also read aloud by the narrator. This section uses both print and cursive script, which allows kids to learn that the same letter can be written in different ways.
The second section is called How Do You Spell It. In this section kids listen to a sound then pick the correct answer among several written sound units. The next section, Choose the Right Word, is similar in concept but with words instead.
Next up is Listen and Write. Here kids drag and drop sound units to construct the word they just heard. For example, to spell the word “mouse” they need to drag the units “m”, “ou”, “s”, and “e” from the selection of sound units. Then in Match Words and Sounds, kids match a sound with its written form.
The sixth section is Stories and Questions. In this activity kids read and listen to short stories, which range from a few words in the first lessons to fully blown narratives in the later stages. From lesson 5 on, each story includes a reading comprehension test consisting of up to three questions, to ensure that kids fully understand what they just read.
Additional Activities for Developing Reading Skills
In addition to the six main sections, the app has four other activities for further development of reading skills: Sight Words and Phrases, Learn the Alphabet, Interactive Writing Pad, and More Stories.
In Sight Words and Phrases, kids can familiarize themselves with over 100 sight words and phrases that are frequently used in the English language. In Learn the Alphabet, they can learn or review the alphabet using both letter names and letter sounds, lowercase and uppercase letters.
The Interactive Writing Pad is a great way for kids to experiment with words and sounds. It’s basically a sandbox, where kids construct words and sentences by dragging and dropping individual letters, letter combinations, and numbers. As the units are combined the app will read the word aloud. Kids can toggle between upper- and lowercase letters, and write real or made-up words.
Finally, More Stories contains original or classic stories for kids to expand their reading. These stories are significantly longer than the ones found in the lessons, and are designed to prepare kids to read their first books. Kids can tap any word in the story to hear it read aloud, and read along with text highlighting.
Parents Need to Know
Read is an informative app designed to help kids aged 6-8 develop their reading skills. It’s well suited for learning at home or school, and able to keep track of multiple users’ progress. For the grown-ups, educational tips and contextual help menus are available to help you get the most out of the app. You can also choose from several accents (UK, AUS, IND) and voice types (male or female) for the narration.
The app is child-safe. It has no in-app purchases or third-party adverts, and can be used without an Internet connection. External links are present, however they are located in a protected section for parents.
Things I Like
Read is a fantastic app. It’s comprehensive and structured neatly, with a multitude of well-paced exercises that encourage progression in skills. It’s interesting that letters are introduced based on their frequency in the English language rather than alphabetically, which is a sensible approach for beginning readers. For example, the first lesson includes the letters A, M, O, S, and T instead of A, B, C, D, and E.
Design-wise, the app has a clean and easy-to-use interface that helps kids focus on learning. Even though there are almost no illustrations, the app still looks appealing because of the bright color palette. The one thing I didn’t like so much is the reward screen at the end of each activity, which I feel is a little too loud. If the sound effects were toned down it would be perfect.
Overall, Read - Kids learn to read and write in 20 easy lessons is a high quality app that is perfect for young kids. Few apps are this comprehensive and effective in helping kids learn to read, plus it’s really well made and easy to use. If you have preschool- or elementary-aged kids, I highly recommend this app.
App was provided for our honest review.