My oldest daughter learned to read by picking up picture books and following along as I read to her. She ‘broke the code’ just after her 5th birthday, a week or so before beginning kindergarten.
This was not in the dark ages – she turned 22 yesterday – but it is nearly a generation removed from today’s learning apps, educational videos and programs designed to push kids along and get them reading faster.
I recently tested out a cool iPad app, Learn with Homer. This phonics-based program has 30 lessons, all free from iTunes. Of course, there is also paid content, like books and games, that you can download, but just sticking with the free stuff is a great way to engage kids and get them on a path to learning to read.
Learn with Homer has several different areas, all easy to navigate: Learn to Read, Discover the World, Story Time and Clubhouse. I loved how kids could record their voice, and draw – and the kids I saw playing with the app clearly loved it, too.
The activities are designed for kids ages 3-6. Often this encourages parents to push even younger kids to try it out, but resist that urge and save this for the correct demographic. The developers of Learn with Homer are educators and they are correct in their assessment of the age recommendation.
The last thing you want to do is frustrate a too-young child.
How did your child learn to read? Let me know and enter to win a gift card worth $25 towards Learn with Homer apps.