Balancing Your Child’s Use of Technology

Balancing Your Child's Use of Technology

One thing I’ve learned in my career as a mom is that much of parenting is a balancing act. One particular issue that can be tricky to navigate with kids is balancing their use of technology. Red Apple Reading has some suggestions that we think will help you achieve electronic equilibrium in your home!


Limit Screen Time – Does it seem like every time you turn around your kid is on the computer? It can be hard to managing technology time. Here’s a few ways to help curb the computer craze!

  • Set a Timer – Time flies when you’re having fun. If left to their own devices, children will spend endless hours in front of a screen. If you feel like you are constantly nagging your kiddo to get off the computer, let the timer be the bad guy. When the alarm goes off, the computer does as well!
  • Earn Screen Time – Another effective way to limit screen time is to have your child earn the privilege. For instance, for every chapter read, your kid could receive 10 minutes of screen time. If your little one has a hard time finishing her chores, offer 15 minutes of technology for each completed task.
  • Computer Curfew – When my oldest daughter was in middle school, I noticed that she was getting out of bed earlier and earlier to get online. To nip the problem in the bud (and make sure she was getting the sleep she needed) we told her no computer time before 9:00 a.m. If your kiddo is staying up too late because he has trouble “unplugging”, then put the computer “to bed” at an appropriate time each night.

Make it Count! – Another important piece in balancing technology is to ensure that time spent on screen is meaningful. There is no end to the different games, videos, and sites for children to peruse online. While they are plugged in, be sure to make it count!

  • Creativity – How creative is the content of your kiddo’s favorite game or website? Is your child watching countless mindless videos? Are the games he’s playing inspiring creativity? Be sure a substantial portion of your kid’s screen time inspires innovation.
  • Math – If you’re like me, you don’t consider solving math problems in your spare time to be much fun. Believe it or not, there are tons of fun educational math games for kids to play online. My son’s 4th grade math class recently participated in an online Kakooma tournament on Greg Tang Math and came in first place. They not only sharpened their math skills but had a good time in the process.
  • Coding – Computer coding or programming is growing in popularity even among children. Tech savvy kids are learning how to code and loving it! Check out this Edutopia article that lists 7 apps for teaching children computer coding.
  • Reading – Improving reading skills is one of the best uses of computer time. Of course, it may be possible that we at Red Apple Reading are a bit biased! We do think you’ll agree with us once you visit our website. Check out our free online trial today!

Lucky to Have Reading Technology!


St. Patrick’s Day is here again! Although it may seem impossible that a whole year has passed since we last celebrated “the luck of the Irish”, it’s time to put on our green garb and avoid those St. Patrick’s Day pinches! Whether you believe in luck or not (I personally do not), St. Patrick’s Day can remind us of all the ways we are “lucky“, “blessed“, “fortunate“, or however else you may label it. Today, Red Apple Reading would like to share how “lucky” we are to be readers in an age of exciting technology.


Touch Screen “Magic”
With the innovation of smart phones and tablets, children now have access to different and exciting reading mediums. Access to technology can make reading more attractive for kids who perhaps would not always prefer to pick up a print book. In fact, recent research by the National Literacy Trust (NLT) and Pearson education firm, “pointed to growing literacy among three to five-year-olds who used both touch screen and basic print technologies.” Furthermore, touch screen technology seems to play a positive role in poor children’s reading habits. The same study found that poorer children are two times as likely to look at stories using a touch screen on a daily basis than kids from more affluent households. Visit the ITV website to view the complete article. The “magic” of touch screen technology appears to be positively influencing the reading habits of many children.

An Abundance of Apps
Touch screens are only one of the many forms of technology we are “lucky” to have at our disposal. Apps are another useful technology tool in promoting literacy. A quick visit to your app store will reveal an abundance of apps designed to aid children in their reading. For example, the Storia reading app from Scholastic provides children with a plethora of reading titles, a Storia dictionary, Read-to-Me eBooks, and learning activities included in the enriched eBooks. We also happen to be big fans of the Red Apple Reading Island Adventure apps 😉 These creative and fun apps include interactive storybooks, crossword puzzles, lessons, and videos. Members of Red Apple Reading can get these program apps for free – which is one more reason why you’ll want to check out these apps for your kiddo!

There is a wide variety of technology out there that encourages children to read. We’ve only listed a couple of the many that are available. Leave us a comment below and tell us about your favorite reading tech tool. Red Apple Reading wishes you and your family a happy St. Patrick’s Day! While you and your kiddos are enjoying the day, take time to reflect on how lucky you are to be a reader in the 21st century. It is a wonderful time to be alive and have access to literacy-promoting technology!



How Technology Can Improve Your Child’s Literacy

How Technology Can Improve Child Literacy - Red Apple Reading


If you are like me, monitoring your children’s use of technology can seem overwhelming. The cyber world can be dangerous if used irresponsibly. There’s no doubt about it – technology can be both a blessing and a curse. Today, however, Red Apple Reading would like to look at the positive side of the coin. Join us as we take a look at how technology can positively impact your child’s literacy.


  • Ebooks – Electronic books are a wonderful means of improving your child’s literacy. If your little one is desperate to try out your tablet, why not check out what the Kindle store has to offer for her? There are several books available for as little as $1. Download a couple of titles for your child and read along with her.
  • Study Help – There are a plethora of study aids available for children via apps and the internet. For instance, you and your child can visit Quizlet and make flash cards for his upcoming vocabulary test (for free!). Is your kindergartener neck deep in sight words? Guess what? There’s an app for that – several in fact! Dolch Sight Words is one of many apps available to help your budding reader improve his sight words skills.
  • Listen to and Record Books – If your little one enjoys being read to, make sure you are reading aloud to him daily. As an added bonus, your kiddo can listen to other people read stories aloud online. Storyline Online features several different celebrities reading popular children’s books aloud. Your child can watch Betty White as she reads Harry the Dirty Dog or Elijah Wood read Me and My Cat? Technology also provides the opportunity for your kid to practice reading aloud. Audioboo lets you make an audio recording of your little one reading her favorite book or original story! You can also include a picture of her along with the recording. She will love going back and listening to her very own narration.
  • Visit Red Apple ReadingRed Apple Reading offers several different resources to help your child become a better reader. Visit our website to check out our great online software. Your youngster will love playing the fun reading games and you will love the progress you see in his reading! We also offer great reading apps, including phonics and sight word instruction and ebooks such as Red Apple Readers and Crossword Puzzle Fun. We believe this is technology your kiddo can definitely benefit from.

With proper oversight and guidance from parents, technology can be a wonderful resource for our little ones as they learn to read and write. Leave us a comment and let us know how your family uses technology to improve literacy.

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.

The Pros and Cons of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

Pros and Cons of BYOD - Red Apple Reading Express

If you have school-age children, there is a good chance that you have had or heard discussions about the BYOD initiative for schools. This concept encourages the student to bring his or her own technological gadget to school in order to aid in the educational process. The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) initiative is gaining momentum and is already being instituted in many schools across the country. Consequently, a debate has been sparked over the positive and negative aspects such a program brings to the table.



A Brave New World
There is no question about the importance of technology in our society today. If our children want to be relevant when they enter the workforce, they will have to be comfortable interacting with technological devices. The more exposure we can give our kids to technology in the classroom, the more likely it is that they will gain the ability to master it and employ it successfully. However, with school budgets routinely being cut, students cannot count on having access to up-to-date equipment at school. Consequently, the option of bringing one’s own device to class will immediately increase the resources available for learning. It is not unusual to see our kids with a smartphone, iPad, or some other device in their hands. The opportunity to bring these resources to school will allow our kids to use them to advance and enrich their educational experience.

The Flip Side
No new endeavor is without its problems, and there are several reasons for parents and educators to be cautious about implementing BYOD The most obvious and unsettling question is: “How will the school system effectively monitor what sites my child is visiting while in class?” While there have been many advancements in internet filtering software, smart and resourceful kids can often find ways to maneuver around these virtual road blocks. The school must also consider the students who do not have the resources to provide their own devices. One of the inadvertent side-effects of this initiative is the distinction it will bring to those who “have” and those who “have-not”. Furthermore, on a perhaps less serious but still costly note is the potential for young students to lose or have their device stolen. At what age should our students be trusted for sole responsibility of this expensive equipment?

The BYOD initiative comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Compelling arguments can be made both for implementing and protesting this program. Whether or not to allow kids to bring their own technology to school is a debate that will not be solved overnight. As parents and advocates for our children, we would do well to educate ourselves on this subject, ask questions of our school system, and talk to our children about important topics such as internet safety.

Has your school implemented B.Y.O.D? Share your experiences and/or opinions on this hot debate!