If you’re not an educator, you may not realize how important it is for students to be reading at grade level by third grade. In fact, studies have found third-grade reading aptitude to be an indicator of academic success, and even graduation rates, among students.
Many experts recommend that children read, or be read to, for 20 minutes each day. According to this visual representation of a 1987 study, by the end of sixth grade, a child who reads 20 minutes each day during the school year will be exposed to 1.8 million words. Compare that to a child who reads just five minutes each day, who will only be exposed to 282,000 words.
What better way to help make reading engaging for your child than letting them curl up with their favorite tablet or smartphone to interact with some fun educational apps? The following free apps are available for Android and iOS devices – and have been recommended by educational experts who submit grade-level app suggestions for the Verizon Educational Tools app.
- Endless Alphabet
Originator Kids: Before kids can read, they need to learn that letters create words – and each letter has a unique sound. This is the study of phonics. So how do you make it fun for toddlers to learn about letter sounds? Monsters. This popular app engages young minds with entertaining animated monsters that create new words by dancing across the screen, making unique sounds.
- Learning Sight Words
22Learn: Preschoolers and above will enjoy this fun app that provides a variety of games (limited in the free version) that help familiarize them with sight words commonly found in written English materials.
- Read to Me
ReadMeStories: Start with this app to receive colorful free books that deliver grade-appropriate content for young readers. This app is ideal for first- or second-graders, and offers a new free book to read each day. The app helps children learn new words and practice their reading fluency by highlighting each word as it is read aloud by a narrator -- or readers can opt to read it themselves. By second grade, students are able to identify story elements and follow story sequence. A reading assessment helps students find books at their level.
- Learning Language Arts
iTooch: The iTooch series of apps, based on the U.S. National Common Core Standards, provide comprehensive lessons and exercises to help students master subjects across grade levels. The apps come in lite formats for free, as well as paid versions for more challenges and assignments. iTooch offers a language arts app for each grade level. For early readers, this app covers foundational skills, parts of speech, reading non-fiction to gather information, reading literature (recalling details, identifying characters, setting, plot, etc.) and other helpful topics to help children emerge as strong readers.
- A Stopwatch for Tracking Reading
Scholastic Reading Timer: Parents will love being able to track their child’s reading progress each week with this reading log and stopwatch. The app allows you to log in as a child or parent. Children set the timer for how long they’d like to read, and when they complete their reading they select “log” to have the information captured for that day. Parents view each child’s dashboard to see total minutes logged for the current and previous week – so they can easily reward students for their determination.
What are your must-have education apps? Tell us on Twitter at @VZWnews.
Data usage applies for app download and use.