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8 Apps To Build Kid’s Literacy Skills

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When tackling the big task of raising smart kids, dads have to use every resource possible; including their tablets and smartphones. In the July NRFC Webinar, Strengthening Literacy and Father-Child Relationships through Reading, our presenters shared a number of ways that dads can encourage and support literacy, including how the ways in which we read and get information has changed over the years. One modern way to build literacy skills can be through interactive apps. As with all programs and games, parents should view and use these apps before sharing them with children to make sure they are appropriate.

To help you get started, here are eight mobile apps that our team found to help encourage great reading habits and increase your child’s literacy.

Please note that these suggestions are meant as a starting point for parents and their inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by ACF or the NRFC.

1. Kids Learn to ReadKids Learn to Read offers three free game activities to help children under five learn to read years before they head to school. The app, available on Google Play, is one of a series of mobile games developed by the same creator that helps children connect letters, sounds, and words and develop reading skills early.

The developer’s other apps include Kids ABC Letters, which focuses on teaching letters, and Kids ABC Phonics, which helps teach children word sounds.

Cost: FreeDownload from Google Play

2. Super Why!Super Why!, developed by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), teaches kids reading, word-building, and the ability to connect sounds with words and letters. Available in both the Apple App Store and Google Play, this app includes five free games featuring characters from one of PBS’s most popular children’s programs.

This app’s users benefit from a series of games that employ a variety of learning techniques including letter-tracing, rhyming, and rewards and badges to help engage and excite early learners.

Cost: $2.99Download from the Apple App StoreDownload from Google Play

3. Phonics and Reading With McGuffey I LitePhonics and Reading With McGuffey I Lite, available on Apple’s App Store and Google Play, is a “reading accelerator” that helps children quickly reach the first-grade reading level. This app includes realistic photos and interactive gaming and can be used by up to ten children simultaneously. Programs are self-paced, making them ideal for growing readers diagnosed with dyslexia to encourage and track progress.

Cost: FreeDownload from the Apple App StoreDownload from Google Play

4. Words for KidsThe Words for Kids app, available for Android devices from Google Play, is a great way to teach 2-6 year olds words, sounds, and reading skills they can use every day. Children’s literacy skills are tested and improved as they follow Bud, a central character, on a series of journeys. Difficulty grows with each level, helping kids name, spell, and sound out words that describe their everyday life, like “toothbrush” or “grocery.”

Cost: FreeDownload from Google Play

5. Learn with HomerLearn with Homer: Reading & Educational Games, available on Apple’s App Store, covers more than 50 critical reading skills by focusing on a four steps to reading process: sounds to letters; letters to words; words to ideas; and ideas to knowledge.

Cost: FreeDownload from the Apple App Store

6. Read Me StoriesThe Read Me Stories app, available on Google Play, gives the bedtime (or any time) story experience new life. With 140 stories, the app can be customized to engage any reading level. It combines the story reading and telling experience with opportunities to spell and sound out words, as well as games to test comprehension and sentence construction skills along the way.

Cost: FreeDownload from Google Play

7. eReading: Gulliver’s Travels, LilliputThe eReading: Gulliver’s Travels, Lilliput app, available at the Apple App Store, offers a fresh take on the classic tale, Gulliver’s Travels. It is designed for ages 8 and above and made with children with dyslexia, and/or language based processing issues in mind.

Cost: $1.99Download from the Apple App Store

8. ABC PhonicsABC Phonics, available for download from the Apple App Store, and Google Play features interactive songs, letter tracing, and games all in one app. It may sound more like pure entertainment than an educational tool, but that is why so many kids love to use it. This free app includes 26 games that aim to connect visual, audible, and written components in order to develop the skills of any little one.

Cost: FreeDownload from the Apple App StoreDownload from Google Play

Add to Our ListThese are only a few of the available apps that can help build literacy skills with kids. What would you add to the list? Email us your suggestions for apps that improve reading, spelling or other educational skills at info@fatherhood.gov.

Learn more about what programs and dads can do for Strengthening Literacy and Father-Child Relationships through Reading in our July 2015 webinar.

Jovan Hackley, National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse team member and outreach and strategy consultant

Learn More About: Tips for ParentsResponsible FatherhoodEducationFathers and EducationLiteracy

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