The Best Reading and Writing Apps to Support Younger Readers
Today’s children are able to tap and swipe as toddlers. They are digital natives more comfortable with exploring apps and technology than most adults. However, the use of technology with children is always a balancing act. There are many reading apps available that can be a wonderful! Reading apps can be an engaging supplement for young struggling readers. But there are SO many out there. How can you find the BEST reading and writing apps to support younger readers?
When you plan to use reading apps, here are some helpful reminders:
- Any educational app should be taken into consideration as part of a child’s total screen time. Decisions about how much is right for individual children and families is up to parents.
- Learning apps are not a substitute for solid instruction. They are for reinforcing, reviewing, or for parents to help their children practice skills at home. One of my favorite uses of a tablet for practice at home is for letter formation.
- Apps make something otherwise not so fun quite engaging and many also keep students from reinforcing incorrect habits with incorrect letter formation.
The reading and writing apps I am suggesting for your students are helpful supplements particularly for your challenged readers and writers.
Note: Some are free and some are paid. You will have to check the app store on a mobile device to see which ones are compatible with your mobile device.
Let’s get started on finding the best reading and writing apps to support your younger readers!
The Lively Letters app is available for iPad or iPhone. It has 3 engaging activities to reinforce the Lively Letters curriculum. This app allows a lot of choices from instructors including which letters to work on, whether to use regular or “lively” letters, and hearing songs in either English or Spanish. This app incorporates phonemic awareness, motions, mouth pictures and letter formation. At $29.99, the price point is higher than some apps, but there is a free introductory video on their website to help you make an educated choice.
The Nessy Learning app is actually available either with a Nessy subscription or as a free trial to try out the Nessy program. There is also a suite of apps to practice specific skills such as letter formation or phonics. They are fairly inexpensive and available separately from the Nessy program. The Nessy products are available on Google Play, the Apple store, or for the Kindle Fire tablet.
Word Wizard is a spelling app with movable talking letters. It allows for the use of built in word lists, make your own, or even open use of the movable letters. It has word practice, scrambled words and quiz mode. At approximately $4.99, this app is available for both iOS and Android.
Letter School is a handwriting and letter learning app that includes both upper and lower case letters. It is available for Apple or Android devices, as well as from the Amazon app store. Initially available as a paid app, this is currently a subscription service. A 7 day free trial is available and a range of subscription options are available.
Touch and Write
Touch and Write is another letter and word tracing program. It keeps things fun and exciting with different writing “textures” and papers. Available for iPad and iPhone, this app retails for $2.99.
Another handwriting tracing app with 5 star Common Sense Media reviews, this app includes letter, number, and word tracing with built in progress reports available. It is highly customizable and available for both Android and iPad, as well as the Kindle fire.
This unique program out of New Zealand was created by a parent of children with dyslexia. It is part of the Agility with Sound system, but can be useful for students using other programs as well. It works on creating word chains by changing and manipulating phonemes to make new words. This type of phonemic awareness practice is great for reinforcing the learning during OG lessons. This program is available in multi-user and single-user formats for iPad, Android and Chromebook. There are 4 different levels available and their website has information to help you choose the right level for your student.
This two in one subscription app for early readers is available for iPad, android and Amazon Kindle Fire devices. This app focuses on letter formation, letter identification, sight words, retelling. It provides an individualized learning path providing sequential practice, but also the option for choice practice sessions where your student can choose to revisit favorite stories, activities and engage in creative expression. This $7.95 monthly subscription also includes access to a library of animated and interactive read along stories and songs, but appears to only include this bonus for iPad users.
Another app that is very different from some others available is Sentence Constructor: Hear It! This exploration has words arranged by part of speech, sight words, and topic. Clicking on a word will read it to the user and words can be combined to make creative sentences that will be read to you. A great way to reinforce grammar concepts, sight words or just establish word play s something fun. The basic app is free, but has additional features that can be unlocked for $1.99. It is only available from the Apple app store.
This phonemic awareness app concentrates on manipulating phonemes and comparing phonological sequences to identify the change. This auditory discrimination work is valuable for struggling students of all ages, and the use of nonsense words makes it especially appropriate for those students with weak phonemic awareness and good sight word recognition. The interface looks like a Retro TV game show. The basic app is free and there are in app purchases. It is available for both Android and Apple devices. Pay attention to be sure that you purchase the US version if you are in the United States as auditory discrimination in the Australian edition would provide an extra layer of challenge.
Phonics of Phonograms by Logic of English
The Phonics of Phonograms app by Logic of English is a highly customizable review app with interactive phonogram cards. Cards can be added individually for each user. Includes 10 levels of phonograms and students are able to hear, see, and touch the phonogram cards. While designed as a supplement for the Logic of English program, it is appropriate for use with any OG sequence. Available only for Apple devices, this app at $2.99, seems a bargain.
Unlike the majority of the other apps, this is not for use by students for practice outside of the lesson setting but rather as an instructional tool for a tutor or teacher to use with students. At it’s simplest, it is a letter tile app. However, with the addition of multiple workspaces including Elkonin boxes and word ladders, the ability to customize tile colors and include affixes, roots and letter combinations makes it a valuable tool for teaching phonemic and morphological awareness as well as spelling. Available only for the ipad, at $9.99, this is a worthwhile investment for tutors wishing to incorporate more technology in their lessons.
Lexia Learning is a comprehensive system of 7 leveled literacy apps for teachers to track students’ progress as well as a tool for students to practice literacy skills. Schools appreciate the data and reporting systems included in Lexia for measuring progress and tailoring instructional needs. This works on any mobile device, but I would recommend using a tablet if a student is on the app.
With the understanding that technology can’t replace good explicit instruction, these apps will provide your students with lots of opportunities to practice and reinforce their skills in fun and unique ways. Do you have a favorite? I’d love to hear from you!
Join me in my next post coming soon featuring apps for older students!
I have a desktop application to help teachers and tutors with lesson planning!
What can you do with Word List Builder?
- Search for words with a highly unique search engine by spelling patterns, syllable types and division and morphological patterns
- Create folders to save the words you searched.
- Export the words from a folder into a template: Create word lists, word cards, phrasing templates for fluency practice and games.
- Adjust for font size, font type and formatting
- Save the templates you create. Then, print and use them right away!
But what if I’m not O-G trained? Can I still use Word List Builder?
- Are you tired of using spelling lists with too many spelling patterns crammed in one list from the packaged reading programs?
- Are you looking for ways to differentiate instruction for your students?
- Do you need a tool to customize lists for reading intervention?
If you have answered YES to any of the above questions, then you will definitely want to give Word List Builder a try.
Where to go from here…
- You can try Word List Builder for FREE for 21 days. Simply click on the Word List Builder banner at the top of this page, create an account, login, watch the tutorials and off you go!
- Once the free trial is up, you have three levels of affordable membership plans to choose from. Best part? You can create ANY of these templates in less than ten minutes.
- Join a FREE 3-part training hosted by me. I will walk you through every feature in easy to follow videos.
- Enjoy a special discount on WLB when you join the free training called, “Getting Started With Word List Builder”.
Are you ready to give it a try? Try the Word List Builder Free Trial or the free training, “Getting Started With Word List Builder” today!
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