Thursday, March 6, 2014

Raising a Reader: Tips and Apps to Help Make it Happen

"The more you read, the more things you will know.  The more things you learn, the more places you'll go" - Dr. Seuss

Wise words from Dr. Seuss.  Reading is one of most powerful skills we can teach our children and this education begins early.  Reading Rockets is a national multimedia project that offers a wealth of research based lessons, strategies and activities designed to help young children learn how to read and read better.  They offer resources to parents, teachers and other educators to help struggling readers with fluency, vocabulary and comprehension skills.  I think their 10 suggestions for raising a reader are right on.

10 Things You Can Do to Raise a Reader 

1.  Read from day one. Start a reading routine in those very first days with a newborn. Even very young babies respond to the warmth of a lap and the soothing sound of a book being read aloud. 

2.  Share books every day. Read with your child every day, even after he becomes an independent reader. 

3.  Reread favorites. Most children love to hear their favorite stories over and over again. Rereading books provides an opportunity to hear or see something that may have been missed the first time, and provides another chance to hear a favorite part. 

4.   Send positive messages about the joys of literacy. Your own interest and excitement about books will be contagious! 

5.   Visit the library early and often. Public libraries are great resources for books, helpful advice about authors and illustrators, story times, and more. Make visiting the library part of your family's routine. 

6.  Find the reading and writing in everyday things. Take the time to show your child ways that adults use reading and writing every day. Grocery lists, notes to the teacher, maps, and cooking all involve important reading and writing skills. 

7.   Give your reader something to think and talk about. There are many different types of books available to readers. Vary the types of books you check out from the library, and seek out new subjects that give you and your reader something to think and talk about. 

8.  Talk, talk, talk. A child's vocabulary grows through rich conversations with others. No matter your child's age, narrate what you're doing, talk in full sentences, and sprinkle your conversations with interesting words. 

9.  Know your stuff. Parents don't need to be reading specialists, but it is important to understand the basics about learning to read. 

10.  Speak up if something doesn't feel right. Parents are often the first ones to recognize a problem. If you have concerns about your child's development, speak with your child's teacher and your pediatrician. It's never too early to check in with an expert. 

 Look for new books and authors that your child may enjoy. 
Organize an area dedicated to reading and writing tools. 
Visit the library for story time and book recommendations. 
Encourage your child to talk about what he's read. 

Talk to your child, and sprinkle interesting words into your conversation. 
Offer a variety of books to read. 

Read with your child every day. 
Expand your home library to include magazines and nonfiction. 
Ask questions if you're concerned about your child's development. 
Decide to raise a reader! 

Countless book apps are available to help you follow these suggestions.  I shared 10 of my favorites here a few months ago.  There are also apps that place a whole library of books at your child's fingertips.  Each of these apps contain in-app purchases and subscription options, but you can try them out for free.  If you'd like to download one of these apps that would allow you to carry hundreds of books on your iPad, please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by clicking on the links provided:

MeeGenius - Read Along Library of Children's Books by MeeGenius, Inc.

Captivate your child’s imagination by giving them access to hundreds of read-along books with a MeeGenius Reading Club subscription, turning your mobile device into an expansive library of digital books for children up to 8 years old. All MeeGenius books are available with read-along word highlighting, rich illustrations, and engaging story narration. 

MeeGenius makes it easy to keep your child reading by offering hundreds of e-books including classics, MeeGenius originals, and partner content from Sesame Street, Dr. Seuss, and P.D. Eastman.  

(iPhone/iPad, Free) Offers 6 books free.  Additional books available through in-app purchases or unlock all books with a subscription of $4.99 per month.

Stories Alive - The Library App of Interactive and Award Winning Children's Stories by Auryn Inc.

StoriesAlive is the largest collection of supremely interactive and award winning stories and creative workbooks for children (3-8yrs). The app is FREE to download and comes with 6 FREE trial stories. With a library of hundreds of popular and award winning titles from classics to current bestsellers, StoriesAlive is a one-stop app for children’s learning and fun reading. 

Carefully selected, well designed titles from world renowned award-winning authors like Suse MacDonald, Dean Koontz, Don Freeman and many others, makes it your child’s go-to library for a fun and interactive world that brings Stories Alive! 

• Personalization and Other Interactive Features Creates A Fun and Engaging World Each story title comes with loads of optional interactive features including allowing kids to personalize and create their own stories. Personalization gives the option to change voice and text of each story. This helps make the story telling experience completely unique for the child – helping them relate more to the story and encouraging them to read more! 
Titles also include other standard features such as Read Aloud, Auto Read, Vocabulary Builder (Word Highlight, Pictionary and Dictionary). 

(/iPad only, Free)  Purchase additional books with in-app purchase or sign up for a subscription at $7.99 per month

Free Children's Book - Farfaria by Intuary

Over 600 Amazing Books and New Stories Every Weekday means that Story Time has Never Been Easier! 

One Free Book Every Day and Unlimited Reading for Subscribers. FarFaria's library has hundreds of fun and educational books for kids ages 2-9. FarFaria will help your child develop a love for reading and encourage your family to read together more often.  

(iPad only, free)  Monthly subscription $3.99 or save with a yearly subscription for $39.99.


Scholastic Storia by Scholastic

Developed by Scholastic’s reading experts, Storia is the FREE teacher-recommended eReading app designed to give kids the titles they want in a format they love. The Storia app includes a sampling of 5 FREE eBooks with initial download. Just SIGN IN with your Scholastic account or register for a FREE account at Scholastic. Storia offers thousands of eBook TITLES, just search: Storia eBooks. For Customer Support, call 855-STORIA1 OR email STORIA@SCHOLASTIC.COM       

Explore the features that Storia eBooks have to offer: 
 • The Storia Dictionary – Each eBook is embedded with the Storia Dictionary, which instantly offers age-appropriate definitions using words, pictures and an optional natural-voice read-aloud. 
• Read-to-Me eBooks feature expressive readings complemented with music, sound effects, and highlighted text children can follow for an engaging experience that build reading confidence even as it entertains. 
• Learning Activities included in enriched Storia eBooks offer an array of activities to engage and fortify a child’s reading, from word games and puzzles to quizzes and exclusive author interviews. 
• Reading Reports connected to each child’s digital bookshelf help parents and teachers follow a child’s reading habits by keeping track of metrics such as titles read, time spent reading, words looked up, and activities completed.     

(iPad only, Free)  Features 5 free books and additional ebooks can be purchased from Scholastic.


 Happy reading, everyone!

When Sarah was a little girl she used to pretend she was a librarian.  She called imaginary people on a rotary phone to inform them of their outrageous late fees.

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