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Brainy Bugs Preschool Games

bug gamesSinging crickets! Brainy Bugs Preschool Games is FREE for a limited time. This super cute educational app for preschoolers has 4 sections: Cricket Concert, Bee Word Builder, Ant Tunnel Builder, and Spider Dot-to-Dot. In the Cricket Concert section, kids can select a song to hear the crickets sing together or they can tap on each cricket to play the song on their own. In Bee Word Builder, kids hear the phonic pronunciation of individual letters as they use them to put words together. Ant Tunnel Builder requires kids to rotate puzzle pieces so that the ants can march through a completed tunnel. Spider Dot-to-Dot has kids connecting dots in numerical order. Kids collect sticker rewards along the way. This app has a nice combination of learning games for preschoolers – cute, fun, & engaging! Who knew playing with bugs could be so much fun. 🙂

Bug Games HD - by Busy Bee Studios - Busy Bee Studios

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Spelling Star

spelling star

FREE for a limited time – Spelling Star, an educational app for practicing spelling lists. The app is simple to use – just type in and record the words. You may also include sentences to clarify the words’ meanings. Kids must spell each word correctly three times to become a Spelling Star.  Words are presented in random order. As kids practice, they can get a hint – a quick look at the word spelled correctly. When they spell a word without a hint, they earn a star. Spelling Star provides feedback after each word is spelled with the option to “try again” when an error is made. This educational app is great for home and/or school. Parents can use it to input spelling lists for multiple kids. Kids may enjoy inputting their own lists at the beginning of the week which would be GREAT practice! Teachers can create lists on one device and share those lists with anyone who has the Spelling Star app. Simple to use, effective, and tracks progress – what more do you need? 🙂

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/spelling-star/id557070660?mt=8&uo=4

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Synonym Match, Antonym Match & Homophone Match

imageFREE for a limited time – Synonym Match, Antonym Match and Homophone Match. These three educational apps each feature a classic card matching game that helps kids with vocabulary development. Each matching game can be played by one to four people. Players can choose to match twelve, sixteen, twenty, or twenty-four cards. There are three levels of difficulty – easy, medium and difficult. When a match is made, fireworks appear. These apps would be great in a shared iPad classroom setting because they support multiple players and multiple student levels. Check them out while they are FREE!!

Direct Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/synonym-match/id778611894?mt=8

Direct Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/antonym-match/id786868905?mt=8

Direct Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/homophone-match/id794723450?mt=8

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Sago Mini Road Trip

image

FREE for a limited time – Sago Mini Road Trip, a darling app for preschoolers. Kids go on a road trip with Jinja the cat. Each adventure begins by answering three questions: where are we going, what do we need to take, and what vehicle will we drive. There are six destinations: a big city, a beach, the mountains, and more. Once kids decide where to go, it’s time to pack their suitcases with the appropriate clothing and items for their chosen destination. Then they get to choose a fun vehicle to drive – a bus, a hot dog, a sporty car, a pickle, etc. I love the conversations that this app would inspire as kids prepare for their trips, especially when they go to pack their bags. Once the car is loaded, off they go. They can stop to wash their vehicle, gas it up, or just to enjoy the sites along the way. This educational app is cute and great for language development!

Download Link: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/app/sago-mini-road-trip/id871230822?mt=8&uo=6d

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Spelling Star

spelling star

FREE for  limited time – Spelling Star, an educational app for practicing spelling lists. The app is simple to use – just type in and record the words. You may also include sentences to clarify the words’ meanings. Kids must spell each word correctly three times to become a Spelling Star.  Words are presented in random order. As kids practice, they can get a hint – a quick look at the word spelled correctly. When they spell a word without a hint, they earn a star. Spelling Star provides feedback after each word is spelled with the option to “try again” when an error is made. This educational app is great for home and/or school. Parents can use it to input spelling lists for multiple kids. Kids may enjoy inputting their own lists at the beginning of the week which would be GREAT practice! Teachers can create lists on one device and share those lists with anyone who has the Spelling Star app. Simple to use, effective, and tracks progress – what more do you need? 🙂

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/spelling-star/id557070660?mt=8&uo=4

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10 Alphabet Apps :)

Here are ten of my favorite ABC apps. They vary in style but they are all nicely done. All ten were free when I downloaded them. Sign up to receive my blog via email so that you don’t miss out on good FREE apps! I only write about apps that I would recommend.

endlessOnce named an Editor’s Choice in the app store, Endless Alphabet is currently $6.99 but it occasionally goes on sale. This adorable interactive app combines learning letters & their sounds with learning vocabulary. There are currently 26 words featured in this educational app – one for each letter of the alphabet. But the app promises to be truly endless with new words to be added.

Kids tap a letter and its word appears of the screen. Then silly monsters come by and knock it over. Kids work to reconstruct the word with animated, talking letters. To teach the meaning of the word, there is also a short animation included. Words featured include: bellow, cooperate, gargantuan, portrait, quarrel – clearly not words found in the average ABC book. The vocabulary development in this app makes it appropriate for a wide range of kids.

Love this app – it’s silly, fun, and educational. My friend’s grandson learned all the letters and sounds of the alphabet because he loved this app so much. 🙂 It’s super cute!!

Endless Alphabet - Callaway Digital Arts Inc.

AlphaTotsCurrently $2.99 – AlphaTots Alphabet, a GREAT ABC app for kids! What makes this educational app unique is that it uses 26 action words to teach the alphabet. Kids are asked to complete 26 interactive tasks, for example: b – build a robot, p – play instruments, z – zap alien spaceships, etc. This app has been featured on The Today Showand has received a lot of positive press. It is a VERY fun app for toddlers/preschoolers who are learning their alphabet!!

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/alphatots-alphabet-learning/id436142340?mt=8&uo=4

word wizardCurrently $4.99 – Word Wizard – Talking Movable Alphabet. This educational app features advanced text to speech capabilities to help kids with reading and spelling. Emergent readers can utilize the phonics movable alphabet to explore and play with words and sentences. As they do so, the app pronounces and spell-checks their work. Consonant letters are blue and vowels are red – helping kids to become aware of the differences. The short pronunciation of the vowels is featured as the letters are moved onto the board. Once a word is spelled, the app changes the vowel’s pronunciation for that word if necessary. If a word is not recognized by the app, it is still pronounced (according to the rules of phonics) but it is highlighted in red. How cool is that?!

Word Wizard can also be used for spelling practice. The app features lists of words – more than 1,400 words in all. I love that it includes the 1000 most frequently used words. Learning to recognize these words is important to a child’s overall reading fluency. The app also lets you add your own word lists. Teachers can add in their weekly spelling list and track the progress of their students. Reports can be emailed from teacher to parent or from parent to teacher. There are lots of possibilities for using this app – teach letter sounds, explore word patterns, small group word building, spelling practice, the list goes on… It’s no wonder that this app was featured in the New York Times, featured by Apple as “New and Noteworthy” and named a winner of a Parents’ Choice Award.

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/word-wizard-talking-movable/id447312716?mt=8&uo=4

Montessori ABC for Kids HDCurrently $3.99  – Kids Academy · ABC Alphabet Phonics App HD. This educational app has two sections: animated flashcards (to teach kids the letters/sounds) and traceable worksheets (to teach kids how to write the letters). The flashcard section has cute animations to teach kids letters & sounds in a fun way. The writing section has two modes (right-handed and left-handed) to teach upper and lower case letters. The app is designed to have multiple users and parents can track their children’s progress. Nicely done!!

Common Core Standards met:

  • K.RF.1 – Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print. Recognize and name all upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet.

Montessori ABC for Kids HD: Learn and Trace Alphabet Letters - Kids Academy Company

Interactive Alphabet ABCsCurrently $2.99  – Interactive Alphabet is one of the best alphabet apps that I have seen for babies, toddlers, & preschoolers. It’s so cute and well designed! To start you choose an accent (American or British) and a mode. It has 3 modes for your developing child – baby, explore, and trace. The baby mode takes your child on a guided, touchable tour of the alphabet. The explore mode lets children discover the sights & sounds of the alphabet at their own pace. It features fun activities that kids will want to explore multiple times. In the trace mode, kids learn to properly trace letters (lower case, upper case, or mixed) and words. The app keeps track of your child’s progress by starring the letters & words that are traced most often. The app can also be personalized by adding your own words and pictures. Your child can learn to trace his/her own name as well as the names of other family members, family pets, etc. This educational app truly lays the foundation for reading and spelling! Fabulous – this developer seems to have thought of everything!

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/interactive-alphabet-abcs/id383967580?mt=8&uo=4

Only $.99 – Little Writer is a letter writing app for the iPhone/iPad that is designed to teach 3 – 6 year olds how to write upper & lower case letters, numbers, shapes, and words. It starts by showing the shape of the letter and naming it. The child traces along lines to write the letter. Then the child is praised and told what letter, number, shape or word he/she has just written. When writing a word, the letters are presented one at a time with the full word shown in the upper right-hand corner. When the word is finished, a picture pops up with the child’s writing underneath it.

There are a lot of great things about this app. I like the size of the letters  – nice and big for little hands. I also like that there are subtle dotted lines on the page. But, the best part of this app is the ability to customize it. You can turn items on or off in order to introduce letters, numbers, etc. slowly. You can record your voice or your child’s voice pronouncing the names of the letters, numbers, etc. You can add in your own pictures & words so that your child can learn to write his/her own name and names of family members or whatever you wish! You can add additional letters for foreign words so that you can use it to teach simple words in another language. SO many possibilities……

Common Core Standards met:

  • K.RF.1 – Recognize and name all upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet.

Little Writer - The Tracing App for Kids - Innovative Mobile Apps

Currently $1.99 – Drawnimal, an ABC app for kids that has them thinking (and drawing) outside the box. Kids begin by placing the device on a piece of paper or other drawing surface. Then they draw around the device (as shown above) to complete the drawing of an animal. When they press play, the app identifies the animal. Finally, they tap the animal for a delightful surprise! Kids will love the animal animations that they helped to create. It’s the perfect combination of an alphabet app and a drawing app for little ones. And, it’s in 5 languages – English, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, and French. It’s super cute and super fun!

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/drawnimal/id586239095?mt=8&uo=4

My A - Z 2Only $.99 – My A – Z, a fully customizable alphabet app. Using this educational app, you can easily create alphabet flashcards for your kids with personal pictures and personal recordings of up to 30 seconds! The app comes with words & pictures for each letter of the alphabet but you have the ability to edit those and/or add your own. Just use already existing photos from your photo albums or use your device’s camera to take new photos. Easy!!

There are so many fun uses for this app. You can help kids make alphabet cards of their family, friends, or a family vacation. They can include recorded greetings from the people pictured! The app can also be used to make alphabet cards for another language, to teach math terms, or make holiday editions of alphabet cards. Obviously, the audience for this app is not just limited to toddlers. It would be fun for older kids to create their own ABC flashcards in any subject area. The possibilities are endless!

My A-Z - Night & Day Studios, Inc.

My Beastly ABCsCurrently $2.99 – My Beastly ABCs, an educational app featured in USA Today’s Top 10 iPad Apps for Kids. Kids join a young boy (who is reluctant to get out of bed) on a magical adventure through a not-so-ordinary day! Told in rhyme, the story recounts the boy’s day as he encounters 26 friendly monsters (one for each letter of the alphabet) from all over the world. Kids join in this interactive tale as they play hide & seek with a Boogey Monster, learn how to floss from a Vampire, uproot a Mandrake family, and much more. The app is narrated by Jim Dale with whimsical background music & great sound effects. It has 3 play modes: with narration, without narration, or auto-play. Everything about this app is top quality – beautifully illustrated with the perfect amount of animation & interactivity. There is also an index that gives kids monster facts & descriptions. Kids can read and learn about each of the beasts’ unique characteristics and place of origin. Lots of fun!!

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-beastly-abcs/id578158826?mt=8&uo=4

Currently $2.99 – Wee Sing & Learn ABC for the iPhone/iPad normally sells for $2.99. Wee Sing has been around for over 30 years. When my children were small, we always had a Wee Sing tape in our car. This app teaches toddlers the alphabet in a musically fun way. Every letter has a page with its own song featuring an animal with an instrument (both beginning with that letter). There are also three additional words for each letter which are pronounced and spelled. The real sound of every animal and each instrument are also included in the app. This app is well done with great attention to detail – a must have for every toddler 🙂

Wee Sing & Learn ABC - zuuka incorporated

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SpeakaLegend, SpeakaZoo & Winston Show

speakalegend

From the creators of the Winston Show & SpeakaZoo comes a new app called SpeakaLegend which is FREE for a limited time. Kids befriend and speak to 10 different legendary characters: Big Foot, Loch Ness Monster, Mermaid, Fairy, Cyclops, Minotaur, Dragon, Jackalope, Sphinx and Unicorn. The app uses speech recognition technology so that kids can have actual conversations with the characters. They become world explorers on a magical quest to find and speak to the Unicorn. Check out this ingenious and fun app from ToyTalk – great for helping kids with conversational language. Before children can speak with the characters, parents are required to give permission via email. Read more about Toy Talk’s privacy policy at: ToyTalk | Legal | Privacy Policy.
Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/speakalegend/id908466608?mt=8&uo=4

Here are my earlier reviews of other Toy Talk apps.

speak a zooFrom the creators of the Winston Show comes another great interactive app – SpeakaZoo, the only zoo where the animals talk with you. This educational  app is currently featured as one of the “Best New Apps” by Apple. The SpeakaZoo houses 20 different animals from 4 different habitats. Each one has a lot of character – a fast-talking octopus, a porcupine that needs a hug, an angry beaver, a sleepy bear, etc. And each character has a lot to talk about. The animals ask kids questions then “listen” to their answers. The conversation continues when the animal responds to what the child just answered – fun!

Parents are asked to create an account with a valid email address so that they have full control over all account information and content for children under 13. From the ToyTalk privacy policy FAQs: “ToyTalk apps involve characters that interact with users. When children use ToyTalk apps, audio recordings and photographs of such interactions are captured as part of this use. We may add the ability to capture video in the future. In that case, we will update this FAQ to describe how we use those recordings too.” Read more at: http://www.toytalk.com/legal/

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/speakazoo/id850553929?mt=8&uo=4

winston

The Winston Show is an adorable app for kids 6+. Winston (a self-proclaimed, yellow fellow) and his sidekick Ellington have created the first talk show starring you! Special guests include Blackbeard the Pirate, Marie Antoinette, and the Blue Whale. Kids visit 6 different studios within the app. In Studio 1, they become a contestant on a quiz show called Win with Winston. Studio 2 features Fireside Chats on a variety of kid-friendly subjects such as magic and chores. In Studios, 3 kids can choose to become the star in two movies: Squabble Among the Stars or Winston Sly, Private Eye. They battle colorful characters (such as Lewis & Clark) in Studio 4′s You vs., another game show. Studio 5 is the Costume Department where kids can play dress-up in an assortment of costumes. And finally, Studio 6 features the Writing Room where kids choose the path of a story. This app is fabulous for helping kids with conversational language because the characters listen and talk back! It’s quite ingenious and could be really fun – for kids and adults. Adults will love seeing kids interact with Winston and friends. And, they will understand all of the jokes. 🙂 Delightful!!

From the ToyTalk privacy policy FAQs: “Users under 13 are only authorized to use ToyTalk apps under their parent/guardian’s account. As a result, we do not knowingly collect emails or other contact information directly from children under 13. ToyTalk apps involve characters that interact with users. When children use ToyTalk apps, audio recordings and photographs of such interactions are captured as part of this use. We may add the ability to capture video in the future. In that case, we will update this FAQ to describe how we use those recordings too.”  Read more at: http://www.toytalk.com/legal/

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/winston-show/id669541931?mt=8&uo=4

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Word Wonderland (Primary) and Word Wonderland (Elementary)

Word Wonderland

FREE for a limited time – Word Wonderland (Primary) and Word Wonderland (Elementary), games that have kids hoping, eating, and shaking their way to the end of a game board as they sort words. Children start by creating name badges – the app permits multiple children to play. In the primary (K – 2) version, kids help to guide a friendly frog through the pond as they sort words by sounds – short vowels. long vowels, r controlled vowels, blends, digraphs, and more. In the elementary (3 – 6) version, kids guide an astronaut crab through the space station as they sort more difficult words by sounds, inflectional endings, Greek/Latin roots, etc. These educational apps provide a fun way for kids to sort words but I am a bit apprehensive about encouraging kids to shake the iPad. Check it out for yourself while the full versions are FREE.

Download links: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/word-wonderland-primary-full/id611436564?mt=8&uo=4 and https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/word-wonderland-elementary/id634947932?mt=8&uo=4

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Grammar Wonderland

grammar primary

grammar

FREE today – the full version of Grammar Wonderland (Elementary). Also available for $2.99 is Grammar  Wonderland (Primary). Kids lead their characters through different adventures as they practice nouns, verbs, adjectives, and more. The primary version is for younger children – the words are read and some levels include pictures. The app does not teach the parts of speech but it provides lots of practice for kids in a fun game-like environment. After teaching a lesson about parts of speech, teachers can have kids “show what they know” with this app. Practice is provided for the following: common nouns, proper, nouns, concrete nouns, abstract nouns, singular nouns, plural nouns, possessive nouns, pronouns, action verbs, present-tense verbs, past-tense verbs, future-tense verbs, linking verbs, adjectives, articles, comparative/superlative adjectives, and more! Many parts of speech are taught in both apps – perfect for differentiating your instruction for a variety of reading levels. Both also apps permit multiple player – great for the classroom!

Recommended!!  – Download them today 🙂

Grammar Wonderland Primary is currently $2.99.    Grammar Wonderland (Primary) - McGraw-Hill School Education Group

Grammar Wonderland Elementary is currently FREE.    Grammar Wonderland (Elementary) - McGraw-Hill School Education Group

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18 Apps for Beginning Readers

endlessOnce named an Editor’s Choice in the app store, Endless Alphabet is currently $6.99. This adorable, interactive app combines learning letter names/sounds with learning vocabulary. The app now features 50+ words. Its initial release only featured 26 words but the developers promised that the app would be truly endless. So, new words are periodically added to the app as it is updated.

Kids tap a letter and a word appears of the screen. Then silly monsters come by and knock it over. Kids work to reconstruct the word with animated, talking letters. To teach the meaning of the word, there is also a short animation included. Words featured include: bellow, cooperate, gargantuan, portrait, quarrel – clearly not words found in the average ABC book. The vocabulary development in this app makes it appropriate for a wide range of kids.

I LOVE this app – it’s silly, fun, and educational. It is my two-year old granddaughter’s new favorite app. Multiple friends have told me that their grandkids have learned their letters and sounds with this app.

Direct Link: https://.itunes.apple.com/us/app/endless-alphabet/id591626572?mt=8

 

From the makers of Endless Alphabet also comes Endless Reading, an educational app that was chosen as an “Editor’s Choice” by Apple. The cute little monsters from Endless Alphabet are back! This time their goal is to teach kids sight words. As kids build words, the letters say their sounds. And when the word is completed, it comes alive to reflect its meaning. B-a-l-l turns into a ball, d-o-g wags its tail, etc. So fun!! Next the word is used in context. Kids help by placing the sight words into a sentence which is then acted out by the friendly monsters to show its meaning. The pricing structure for this app is different. The app comes with 6 words to try. Additional word sets are available with in-app purchases. Check out this adorable app – kids will LOVE it!!

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/endless-reader/id722910739?mt=8&uo=4

spelling-magic

Moveable Alphabet option from ABC Spelling Magic

Wow!! Preschool University has 10 phonics/spelling apps available for FREE again. There are links to all below. I have them grouped by the skills that they teach and from easiest to most difficult. The first group teaches letter sounds.

  • ABC Magic Phonics – initial letter sounds, 1 picture for each letter       ABC MAGIC PHONICS - PRESCHOOL UNIVERSITY
  • ABC Magic 2 –  initial letter sounds, 4 pictures for each letter       ABC MAGIC 2 - PRESCHOOL UNIVERSITY
  • ABC Magic 4  – Kids are given a letter and they must find pictures of 3,6,or 9 items that begin with that sound.       ABC MAGIC 4 - PRESCHOOL UNIVERSITY
  • ABC Magic 5 Letter Sound Matching – Kids match sounds in 2 modes: picture to letter or letter to picture. As kids become more advanced, you can increase their number of choices (4, 6, or 9) and increase the number of matches per round (5,10,15,20,or 25). ABC MAGIC 5 Letter Sound Matching - PRESCHOOL UNIVERSITY
  • ABC Magic 6 Flip Card Matching – This app is an extension of ABC Magic 7. It’s another matching game with 2 options: letter to picture having that beginning sound or picture to another picture with the same beginning sound. Letter sounds and picture names are pronounced with the option of turning the sounds off. Grids of 12, 16, or 20 are available.       ABC MAGIC 8 Sound Matching - PRESCHOOL UNIVERSITY
  • Sound Beginnings – This app is the most advanced of the letter sound teaching apps. It is called sound beginnings but actually teaches beginning, middle, and ending sounds. There are two options: a picture to letter and letter to picture. As kids become more advanced, you can increase their number of choices (3,4, or 5) and increase the number of matches per round (5,10,15,20,or 25). Awesome practice for beginning readers!!       SOUND BEGINNINGS - PRESCHOOL UNIVERSITY

The second group of apps uses letter sounds to spell words that phonetically regular. There are 2 ways to use each of these apps. Word Jumble provides the  child with the letters of the word and the child puts them in order. Moveable Alphabet (the more difficult option) has the entire alphabet across the top of the page and the child must find the correct letters to spell the word. If a child touches a picture, the app reads the word. If a child touches a letter, the app gives the sound for that letter. Each vowel is taught in isolation but there is also a shuffle option which provides mixed practice. Vowels are printed in blue and consonants are in red so you can reinforce the CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) pattern.

  • ABC Spelling Magic Short Vowels – teaches short vowels       ABC SPELLING MAGIC Short Vowel Words - PRESCHOOL UNIVERSITY
  • ABC Spelling Magic 2 Consonant Blends – teaches consonant blends and consonant clusters       ABC SPELLING MAGIC 2 Consonant Blends - PRESCHOOL UNIVERSITY
  • ABC Spelling Magic 3 Blends & Syllables – GREAT practice spelling multi-syllable words       ABC SPELLING MAGIC 3 Blends and Syllables - PRESCHOOL UNIVERSITY
  • Sentence Reading Magic – Kids built 2 or 3 words sentences using phonetically regular words.       SENTENCE READING MAGIC - PRESCHOOL UNIVERSITY

Common Core Standards met:

  • K. RF.3 – Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words. Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary sound or many of the most frequent sounds for each consonant. Associate the short sounds with common spellings (graphemes) for the five major vowels.

These educational apps from Preschool University provide good practice for preschoolers and early readers!!

super readers

Currently $2.99 – Super Readers, an animated storybook app for early readers! This educational app uses the Dolch sight words in 10 vocabulary controlled stories at 5 different reading levels: kindergarten, beginning first, middle first, end of first, and beginning second. Kids can choose to have the stories read to them with automatic text highlighting or they can touch individual words to have them read. Another great feature – kids can record themselves reading the book and then play it back. What a wonderful confidence builder for little ones trying to build their fluency!!

Common Core Standards met:

  • K.RF.3 – Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words. c. Read common high-frequency words by sight (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does).

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/super-readers-dolch-sight/id560348568?mt=8&uo=4

Learn with HomerListed as “New & Noteworthy” in August 2013, Learn with Homer is an educational reading app for kids 3 – 6. Its FREE trial download includes multiple stories and lessons with additional content available through in-app purchases. The app was updated on February 5, 2015. Learn with Homer now includes 50+ reading skills that help get kids ready for kindergarten and first grade.

Homer, a gray pigeon, resides in an interactive world designed to help kids learn to read. The fun starts in the Hat Shop where kids have photos taken in the “thinking caps” of their choice. Kids then proceed to a carousel which features every part of the app: Story Time, Learn to Read, Discover the World, Draw a Picture, Songs & Rhymes, Record Your Voice, and U.S. Presidents. Kids choose where to begin their reading adventure. The Learn to Read lessons teach phonemes (sounds) in sequence, then words, and then sentences. These lessons provide a sequential, step-by-step reading program. The Story Time section is divided into categories – Homer stories, poetry, folktales, first readers. It includes some free stories with many more offered as in-app purchases. Discover the World is a series of adventures in science, history, art, etc. designed to increase kids’ basic knowledge and vocabularies. The drawing & recording tools help kids develop their expressive skills. There is also a parent website to track children’s progress and/or download printables & book recommendations. This educational app seems to have it all – a well-designed, comprehensive approach to learning to read with real kid appeal!

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/learn-homer-reading-educational/id601437586?mt=8&uo=4

gappy

Currently $2.99 – Gappy’s First Words. This educational app has beginning readers constructing 200+ three-letter words – 174 of the words following the CVC pattern. There are also 37 three-letter sight words included. Kids start with basic letter and sound identification then progress to making words. As they work through the app, kids earn parts to redesign Gappy’s house – with over 700 possible combinations. Parents can disable the music, change letters from upper case to lower case, and control the number of word lists used in the settings. I like that the app varies which letters (beginning, middle, end) of the words are missing in the easy levels. In the medium level, two letters are missing and in the hard level, all letters are missing. Kids are gradually learning to spell – nicely done for little readers. 🙂

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gappys-first-words/id614840334?mt=8&uo=4

Smiley Sight WordsCurrently $1.99 – Smiley Sight Words. This educational app teaches kids 1,600 common sight words compiled from high frequency lists such as Dolch, Fry, Pinnell-Fountas, UK, and others. Why learn sight words? Over half of the words we read each day are sight words! For early readers, this percentage is much greater. Many of these words do not follow the rules of phonics and/or cannot be represented by pictures. In order to read fluently, students should learn to read these words “by sight.”

The app is very simple to use. First enter the students’ names and pictures. In the settings you can enter up to 40 students – perfect for a classroom teacher or an intervention specialist! Next you choose a list of words for each child to work on. There are 40 sets of Smiley Words (the 1000 most frequently used words), 18 sets of Dolch words, 10 sets of Fry words, 10 sets of UK words, 12 sets of AU color-coded words, plus 11 additional sets (upper case letters, lower case letters, number words, color words, etc.). There is also the option of making customized lists by mixing and matching words from other lists within the app. The app is ready to use! It displays one flashcard at a time. Tap the word to hear an American-English pronunciation. Then rate the ability to read the word with a thumbs up or a thumbs down. To be proficient, 3 thumbs up need to be collected for each word! The app generates a progress report at the end of the session which can be saved to photos. Once saved, it can be printed or emailed. The progress report is stated positively – Thumbs up % Pretty slick! This app makes it easy for teachers to provide individualized practice and keep track of their students’ progress. 🙂

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smiley-sight-words/id361006388?mt=8&uo=4

word wizard

Currently $4.99… Word Wizard – Talking Movable Alphabet. This educational app features advanced text to speech capabilities to help kids with reading and spelling. Emergent readers can utilize the phonics movable alphabet to explore and play with words and sentences. As they do so, the app pronounces and spell-checks their work. Consonant letters are blue and vowels are red – helping kids to become aware of the differences. The short pronunciation of the vowels is featured as the letters are moved onto the board. Once a word is spelled, the app changes the vowel’s pronunciation for that word if necessary. If a word is not recognized by the app, it is still pronounced (according to the rules of phonics) but it is highlighted in red. How cool is that?!

Word Wizard can also be used for spelling practice. The app features lists of words – more than 1,400 words in all. I love that it includes the 1000 most frequently used words. Learning to recognize these words is important to a child’s overall reading fluency. The app also lets you add your own word lists. Teachers can add in their weekly spelling list and track the progress of their students. Reports can be emailed from teacher to parent or from parent to teacher. There are lots of possibilities for using this app – teach letter sounds, explore word patterns, small group word building, spelling practice, the list goes on… It’s no wonder that this app was featured in the New York Times, featured by Apple as “New and Noteworthy” and named a winner of a Parents’ Choice Award.

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/word-wizard-talking-movable/id447312716?mt=8&uo=4

Fry WordsCurrently FREE  – Fry Words, an educational app that teaches sight words from the Fry Word List. The Fry Instant Word List contains 1000 words arranged by their order of frequency in printed materials. In order to build reading fluency, it is important for early readers to recognize these words by sight. It is suggested that first graders learn the first 100 words, second graders learn the second 100 words, and third graders learn the third 100 words. The remaining words on the list should be mastered by the end of fifth grade.

The app presents the word in a manageable fashion – lists of 10 words. There is a learning mode and a quiz mode. In the learning mode, words are presented one at a time. In the quiz mode, kids have to choose the correct word from a list of 2 – 6 words. The app permits you or your child to pronounce/record the words in your own voice – a great option for kids working on articulation. This is a nice app for helping kids learn important sight words. If it only kept track of what was mastered – now THAT would be fabulous!

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fry-words/id470926345?mt=8&uo=4