New Apps for the New Year! This Mom’s Review

New Apps for a New Year - Red Apple ReadingDon’t you agree that a new year is the perfect time to incorporate new things into our lives? A fresh start with fresh ideas makes for an exciting 2014! In the spirit of new beginnings, Red Apple Reading is proud to announce the launch of several new apps – including Red Apple Readers – Island Adventures and Island Crossword Puzzle Fun – available in the iTunes app store. I was able to play around with these apps over the holidays and was very impressed. I would like to share what I appreciated most about Island Adventures and Island Crossword Puzzle Fun, and hopefully inspire you to download these great reading apps for your little one!

  • Interesting Stories – The Red Apple Reader stories are fun and interesting. Young children will enjoy tales with characters such as Pete Pirate and Flora Flamingo.
  • Great Illustrations – Fun illustrations make Red Apple Readers not only exciting to read but also enjoyable to look at as well. The background of each Island Crossword Puzzle is bright and colorful without being distracting.
  • Listen/Read Yourself Option – I loved the option for children to either read the story themselves or be read to. After a few listens, reluctant readers will be ready to give a solo read a try!
  • Word Click Capability – Even if your little one cannot read all the words herself at first, don’t worry! Just click on whatever word your kiddo is having trouble with and the narrator will read the word for her!
  • Engaging Narration – The narration in this app is really well done. The stories are easy to listen to and the character voices are interesting. Red Apple Readers is a pleasure to read along with.
  • Gradual Increase in Complexity – Each story in Red Apple Readers and each crossword is slightly more complex than the previous one. Your child will not only enjoy the stories and puzzles, but will be challenged as well!
  • Affordable – The first story in Red Apple Readers is free and each additional two are .99 cents each. Island Crossword Puzzle Fun comes with 10 free puzzles and costs .99 to purchase 30 additional puzzles. Both apps are very affordable for your family!
  • Easy to Use – These apps are very intuitive and kid friendly. Simply click on the section of the crossword puzzle you wish to complete and a clue pops up in the left hand corner. Find the correct answer in the word bank and click on it – easy!
  • Meaningful Content – The stories in Red Apple Readers are not only fun but are age appropriate and allow young readers to hone their reading skills. Each crossword puzzle pinpoints a specific phonics skill (suffixes, long vowels, diagraphs, etc.) thus, making these apps educational as well as entertaining!

We hope you will visit the iTunes store today and check out these great apps. After downloading the free story and crosswords puzzles, we think you’ll be hooked! Click here for a complete listing of Red Apple Reading apps available.

A Mom’s Review of the Red Apple Reading Program

Red Apple Reading Online Reading SoftwareAs you may suspect, I’m not only a regular contributor to this blog, but I’m also a Red Apple Reading customer, so I wanted to let you know how Katie is progressing with her lessons and share some thoughts on the effectiveness of the program from a parent’s perspective. And what better day to share than on Read Across America Day! Quick disclaimer: though I’m obviously a member of the team here, you have my word that my opinions are my own and as unbiased as possible!

Fun Factor
Katie is no stranger to computer games. She plays PBS Kids, Disney Junior, and Nick Jr. probably more than she should, and she loves Red Apple Reading just as much. The games keep her attention and are just the right balance of entertaining and educational.

Confidence
One thing that sets Red Apple Reading apart from other online games is that it truly boosts Katie’s confidence. She loves hearing the animated characters tell her what a great job she’s doing, and when she gets something right, I can see her face light up with pride. As a mom, there aren’t too many things in life better than that!

Enrichment
I have to admit that when we first started the program, I was a little worried that the lessons could potentially confuse Katie since she’s learning to read at school as well. I was concerned that the sequence or method of instruction might not correlate with what her Kindergarten teacher was doing in the classroom, but I was wrong! Many of the activities such as identifying words and creating word families and are similar to what I do with Katie each night for homework, so I knew we were right on track, plus she learned some new sight words that her teacher hadn’t yet covered. With Red Apple Reading, she’s not only having the skills taught at school reinforced at home, but she’s getting ahead of the game as well. Score!

As you can see, I really couldn’t be happier about the program. It does exactly what I thought it would and more. One warning though, and this is just my personal opinion. I would let your child go through the levels at his or her own pace. Although the game is fun and encouraging, as I mentioned, it’s also challenging. Challenging is good, of course, but if you pick up on any frustration or see that your child is getting tired during the lessons, take a break. Don’t treat the program like another homework assignment that your child must finish. That takes the fun out of it, and when it comes to reading, that’s the last thing you want to do!

Find out more about the Red Apple Reading program on their website. Level A covers basic phonics skills (short vowels, digraphs, blends, and an intro to long vowel sounds), Fry’s first 100 sight words, and an alphabet review lesson for every letter. Level B will be released this summer and will have a quick review of Level A concepts, advanced phonics skills (long vowel patterns, r-controlled vowels, diphthongs, silent letters), prefixes and suffixes, syllables, compound words, contractions, vocabulary (homophones, homographs, abbreviations, synonyms, antonyms), and comprehension skills. Future releases include a Pre-K level with more phonemic awareness and pre-reading skills, as well as upper elementary/middle school reading adventure games. Like and follow their Facebook Page for updates.