Best Reading App for Kids | How to Teach a Child to Read
Updated: Sep 8, 2021
If you are looking for an app to help your child read more often, help your child build their vocabulary and help your child with reading comprehension, then keep reading! As we work on creating a consistent reading routine for our rising 2nd grader, we’ve been intentional to make the process as seamless and as fun as possible! We want to inspire a love of reading, and not turn reading into a chore for our son. I started this process by sitting down with my son and creating the ultimate summer book list. Next, I created a reading habit tracker for him to serve as a reward incentive. However, there was still something missing from our plan. (Please note, we earn commissions if you shop through the links below).
With our busy schedule of baseball, summer camp, swim lessons, and playing outside as much as possible, we found that fitting in our daily reading often did not happen. I recognize the importance of consistency when trying to build a routine, but as a family of five juggling lots of priorities our daily reading time was becoming more of a burden and that is not at all what my husband and I wanted.
So if you know me, you know I am all about finding ways to leverage technology and create a life hack. So I hit up the Apple App Store to see what was out there to help my son fit in more reading practice.
I began looking for an app that could support my son’s summer reading goals and fit into our busy schedule. After searching extensively for the right option,
I came across the Readability app. I was immediately intrigued by Readability because it uses artificial intelligence (AI) and speech recognition technology to create a tutor-like experience.
The app also creates learning independence for children and does not require parents to monitor their young children while they read. In this post, I am sharing how we’ve incorporated Readability, an award-winning app, into Preston’s reading routine.
What is Readability
Readability is a reading and comprehension learning app that mimics a human tutor. You can download the app in the Apple App Store or Google Play store and it works specifically on smartphones and tablets. This is a key feature that I was looking for because I wanted to find a way to maximize the pockets of idle time that Preston has in his day that he can use for reading. How it works is pretty simple, your child selects a book to read, then begins reading aloud and the app listens. The app provides instant feedback using AI and speech recognition technology if your child gets stuck or mispronounces a word.
I was really impressed with the reading comprehension questions that come at the end of each book. The app uses Interactive Voice-based Questions & Answers (IVQA™) to quiz your child on what they just read. Your child simply replies verbally with their answer. I like this feature a lot because it builds critical thinking skills and makes sure your child is paying attention to what they are reading and not just going through the motions.
There is also a built-in vocabulary feature that defines words and creates a list of words your child is unfamiliar with so that you can go back and study those words and review them later. Readability contains a lot of robust features, yet it is very simple to navigate and really easy to set up. I immediately liked the app after downloading it, however, like many apps we download I wanted to see if it would keep Preston’s attention over time. Surprisingly, it did!
How We Use Readability
We’ve been using readability for two weeks now and have consistently found time in the morning for Preston to spend 10-15 minutes reading, while we get his younger brother and sister dressed for summer camp. He sets a timer on our Google Home with a goal to read two books during that time frame. Some days he reads two books and some days he only
makes it through one. This little routine is helping him become an independent learner because he is able to get himself set up on his own. He knows his goals and typically does a good job staying on task.
The app has a parent portal that provides reports that help me keep him accountable. The dashboard report provides metrics like the total amount of time spent reading, average accuracy, comprehension, and words per minute. There is also a report option that allows you to check the metrics by each book read, which is a nice way to track progress and improvement. Just FYI, the time is reported in Pacific Time, which threw me off for a second the first time I checked the report.
So far, this strategy of reading for 10-15 minutes each morning during the weekday has dramatically helped Preston’s reading routine. As you get started using the reading app you will want to sit with your child until you feel comfortable with them working independently.
So let’s talk about the book selection... Readability offers a variety of books to select from and I was pleased to see several books featuring protagonists of color. So far, Preston has been able to find books that interest him. There are fiction and nonfiction titles to choose from. All in all, I think the book selection is a good start and I believe there are new books updated periodically.
How Much Does Readability Cost?
Ok, now let’s talk about cost… by now you are likely wondering how much this amazing reading app cost. Well, there is a 7-day free trial that you can try out, then it is $19.99 a month. You can add up to three readers on one account, which is perfect for this mom of three. When compared to the price of a reading tutor, twenty bucks isn’t bad.
From my experience using the learning tool, I think it is well worth every penny. It is important to note that I received a complimentary subscription to the app to try and provide my honest review. If you decide to try out the resource by using my link I also receive a small commission. With that being said, as an educator and busy mom, I would not promote a learning resource that I did not find helpful, because I know ain't nobody got time or money to be wasting, and by nobody I mean me, I am nobody! But yea, go ahead and give it a try and I’m pretty confident you will see the valuable learning experience the app provides.
II hope you found this app review helpful and decide to give readability a try. You can click here to download the app.
I know I’ve focused a lot of my recent posts on reading resources for school-age kids, but next week I have another app review, but this one is for preschoolers, so be sure to check that out!
How is your summer reading routine coming along? Let me know in the comments. Also, don’t forget to follow PBOinSTEM on Instagram and Pinterest where I share lots of good resources to help busy parents pull brilliance out of their children!
I receive a small commission for purchases made through links in this post.