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Electronic ABCs: Youth Literacy 2.0

When it comes to building your child’s literacy skills, you can never start too soon. But in a world filled with computers, tablets, TVs, and smart phones, where do you even begin? Many studies have created an unnecessary competition between books and technology. The truth is they are both important in the education of today’s children. While technology should not replace print resources, it’s important not to shy away from technology that might be useful in your child’s learning experience. There are many great digital tools out there that can help encourage kids to read in a fun, new way.

A key component to helping your child learn to read is their interaction with you, their first and most important teacher. Technology can’t be a substitute for you. It’s simply another effective way that you and your child can interact with reading together. For example, when reading an interactive e-book with your child, don’t get too caught up in all of the bells and whistles. Talk to your child about the story and ask questions. If you’re reading a book with animals, ask what noises they make or what colors they are. Help your child comprehend what they are seeing/doing.

Here are some great early literacy apps to get you started: 

Count with the Very Hungry Caterpillar (iPad, Android, Nook [$2.99]) This is a great app for toddlers. Feed the Very Hungry Caterpillar all its favorite foods while learning the fundamentals of numbers and counting.

Endless Alphabet (iPad) This app helps kids learn their ABC’s and build their vocabulary. Each word featured is accompanied by talking letters, an interactive puzzle, and a short animation that illustrates the definition.

Fun English (iPad, Android) Looking to build vocabulary? This app combines a structured English language course with fun and interactive games.

Sight Words for Reading (iPad, Android) This app helps kids learn sight words by pairing them with an entertaining video.

Looking for more educational apps? These websites have great reviews on the latest apps for kids!

– Sarah Schlageck, Children’s Specialist, Northern Resource Center