The Best Apps Available for Helping Your Kids To Read

Helping your child with their reading is a necessary but also immensely pleasurable activity, both for you and your son or daughter. As well as the conventional means of sharing books and stories, there are now a number of great reading apps which can add to the enjoyment and the success in your child’s learning journey. Here are some of the best apps currently available. Starting out Starfall Learn to Read Kicking off with the alphabet and bringing in phonemes (sounds) which help your child to pronounce all of the English words, this app then moves on to comprehension, covering all of the beginner bases which will set your child off on the right foot to becoming an accomplished reader, writer and speaker. Reading Raven This app also has a particular focus on phonics-based learning, and helps kids master all the steps to recognizing letters, sounds and ultimately words, by…

Bridging the Gap on Educational Apps

Part of our role as Children’s Librarians is to help parents navigate the plethora of options available for early education on a digital platform. While these apps have lots of potential when used with parental guidance, the sheer numbers can be overwhelming for parents to sort through. This is where we can step in with exposure to free or low-cost educational apps that are readily available for use on mobile devices. Many library systems have a tablet device for use with programs or roving reference services. This device can also be used to assist parents and their children in testing educational apps before they commit to them. Our library is moving towards a model where mounted tablets would allow the staff to rotate educational apps every few weeks or so, allowing for a wide variety of educational apps to be experienced by our customers. This arrangement allows for librarians to…

Notable Children’s Digital Media Committee wants your Apps!

The 2018 inaugural Notable Children’s Digital Media Committee welcomes your suggestions of Apps for the initial January 2018 list. Per the ALSC Board, children’s digital media is defined as follows: Any real-time, dynamic, and interactive media content or product that is available via personal electronic device across multiple platforms that enables and encourages active engagement and social interaction while developmentally appropriately informing, educating, and/or entertaining. The Committee will select, annotate, and present for publication, a bi-annual list of notable children’s digital media, including websites and Apps of interest to young people and their families, from birth through age 14, starting in January 2018. Please note the following: Apps must currently be available through a US distributor. Apps will be evaluated based on the following criteria: 1.    Respect young people’s intelligence and imagination 2.    Exhibit venturesome creativity 3.    Reflect and encourage the natural interest of children and young adolescents in exemplary…

An “Apportunity” to Learn – Evaluating Apps

Parents, teachers, and librarians; are your children wasting an opportunity to learn while using mobile apps? Not all educational apps are equal, while some are not even worth your time downloading. For children under the age of 5, parents and educators should look for apps that enhance these five categories: reading, writing, singing, talking, and playing. Older children are developmentally ready for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and creative apps, like those that facilitate the creation of art, music, movies, and writing.

Apps, Storytime, and Media Mentorship

The Summer Reading Program is in full swing here in Mount Prospect, Illinois, and with that comes patron questions about books, movies, programs, and more. In the past year, there have also been more questions about selecting appropriate and interesting apps for children. After discussing the need to address media mentorship in a more direct approach than what we were currently doing, it was decided this summer to start giving patrons a take home at the end of storytime that includes a “Digital Lit Tip.”  Our summer storytimes are open to the public and can have children of various ages. Very young children must have a parent with them. In order to make these tips accessible to all patrons, even those who don’t have access to devices at home, we selected apps that were already reviewed and featured on our iPads in the department. We also plan to post the…

Language Apps Pour Les Enfants

In the early days of our Libros y Cuentos bilingual storytime, I would try and integrate some language apps into the program. With a small group, apps such as Bunny Fun: Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes fit well with our Parts of the Body lesson. At the time it was a challenge to discover usable apps for storytime that were also good enough to recommend to parents. Thankfully developers have produced more options for kids interested in language learning via a tablet. Below are apps that are well designed, easy to navigate, and full of interactive ways to grasp definitions, pronunciation, and even a new alphabet are key. Kids Learn Mandarin This free game-based app takes players on a journey around China with Pei Pei the Panda. The digital curriculum includes word games, Chinese character tracing, and a badge earning option for tracking progress. Kids will learn a total of…