If there is one thing we’ve learned as parents, it’s that you’ve got to be able to multitask. You know what we mean – the usual stuff like making three different dinners while you simultaneously re-tile the kitchen and help your daughter make a working volcano for her science project. Thankfully, with the introduction of tablets and smartphones to our lives, multitasking has, just maybe, gotten a little bit easier. OK, they are not magic, but they sure do an excellent job of keeping our kids entertained and out of trouble for a while. The downside of all of it is that our kids can beat every level of angry birds by the time they’re three years old, but still can’t put their shoes on the right feet.
So, why not put your tablets to work with these fantastic and fun apps that will help expand their literacy skills and vocabulary. With any luck, they’ll find a love of reading to last a lifetime. Besides, if you’re going to give them the iPad while you’re potty training anyway, they might as well learn their ABCs at the same time!
11 awesome apps to turn your kids love of their tablet into a love of reading
ABC Alphabet PhonicsYou will love how this app couples a simple and intuitive interface (so easy they claim a 9-month-old can use it) with multi-sensory learning to help your pre-verbal baby become an ABC singing and writing toddler in no time. You can record your own voice, so that your son or daughter thinks mummy or daddy is teaching them. While, y'know, you're actually finally resting your feet for the first time all day. You're welcome!
Free for the iPadInnovative Investments Limited
Green Eggs and HamThere's a good chance your toddler will want you to read this book repeatedly, so this app might just become your new best friend. Your little one can read along with the help of highlighted words as the story of Sam I Am is narrated, and they can interact with the story as it happens by tapping on items as they pop up on the screen. Don't feel hurt, but this will be way better than any story you read to them.
$2.29 for the iPad, $4.90 for Google Play Oceanhouse Media
Elmo Loves ABCsIf your kids don't want to sing their ABCs with you, perhaps Elmo will have more luck. Full of more than 80 classic Sesame Street clips, and nearly as many colouring pages, this playful app also claims to boost letter recognition, sounds, and letter tracing. Since they included a handy grown-up tracker, you'll be able to check in on your child's process.
$5.79 for the iPad, Free for Google Play Sesame Workshop
Avokiddo ABC RideThis is the perfect app to keep your child engaged and entertained for ages before they ever realize it's educational. They can learn their ABCs by popping balloons, zapping zebras, and even changing Dottie's dirty diapers. It's a nice bonus that the app is designed so well that you'll probably want to play too.
$3.49 for iPad and Google Play Avokiddo
Reading RavenThis award-winning app has proven to be an invaluable addition to any early literacy lesson year after year. Kids progress and learn at their own pace and the app can be configured to allow several different users. With lessons designed for children between the ages of three and seven, it will be years before they master all of the levels.
$4.59 for iPad Early Ascent
RhinomiteKids are drawn to superheroes like bees to flowers, so it's about time someone created an amazing app that connects a [non-violent] caped crusader with early learning. Users will master prepositions while flying through a comic book style cityscape.
$2.29 for iPad, Free for Google Play Mrs. Judd's Games
Montessori Crosswords/WordsIf you've ever heard of Montessori schools, chances are that you immediately signed your kids up, or at the very least, wanted to. Luckily, you can bring Montessori home now with this reading and spelling app based on their teaching method. There are simply too many educational tools and benefits to mention. Trust us, you'll love it. And for your little bilinguals, this app is also available in French!
$3.49 for iPad, $3.99 for Google Play L'Escapadou
Feel ElectricAn important part of early literacy that can often be overlooked is one's ability to fully understand expressions mentioned, and how to find the appropriate words for what they themselves are experiencing. With word-based games, and a 50-word emotional dictionary, this app from the fine folks at The Electric Company will help your children expand their vocabulary, and encourage them to write about their emotions in a digital diary. Just like the diaries we used to write in, only much better.
Free for iPad and Google Play Sesame Workshop
Reading Rainbow SkybraryYour favourite childhood TV show will soon be your first or second grader's favourite app. They can go on more than 150 video adventures with none other than LeVar Burton (of course!) and they'll have unlimited reading of more than 500 books. Best of all, there are exciting interactive animations in every book to keep them coming back for more.
Free for iPad and Google PlayReading Rainbow
Main Idea – SentencesThis app is for the kid that has mastered reading at their grade level, but can't quite tell you exactly what they just read. Reading comprehension is an incredibly important skill and Main Idea boasts “frustration free" learning. The app makes sure your child can be gently guided to the correct answer, but won't unlock new levels until they have definitely mastered the necessary skills.
$5.79 for iPad, $3.99 for Google Play Happy Frog Apps
Book CreatorOne of the most effective ways to have your children fall in love with reading is by encouraging them to write stories themselves. This beautiful app will help them do just that by allowing them to add and edit images, create illustrations, and use tools to format their text. There's even an option to narrate their story before sharing with friends and family via email.
Free versions available for iPad and Google Play Red Jumper Limited