There are many excellent apps designed specifically for young children that are either free or very low cost. Some are digital and interactive versions of popular children's books and others teach concepts such as letter knowledge. Children enjoy using apps which means they are having fun while learning valuable early literacy skills at the same time. Using apps on smartphones or tablets also teaches children how to use this technology confidently and successfully. This is a tremendous benefit when they start school and begin using technology in the classroom.
The best apps are not designed to be viewed passively. They are responsive to touch and to what a child does, they can be tailored to different ages or interests, and ultimately, they provide children with a sense of satisfaction or accomplishment. They help develop fine motor skills and stimulate children on many levels - visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Best of all, they are fun for both parents and children to use together!
So explore what is available and enjoy the time you spend with your child using apps that stimulate their curiosity and help them learn.
Here are a few tips to using and choosing them:
- Set limits to the amount of time your child uses this technology....it's all about moderation.
- Use them together and talk about what you are seeing and doing.
- Set a good example to your child by also limiting the amount of time they see you using technology.
- Look for the 'best' apps that encourage creativity, imagination and language. A great site that reviews apps by age is www.commonsensemedia.org
The best early literacy or book-based apps should:
- be easy for young children to navigate with buttons and page changes that don't confuse them
- encourage active or interactive use, rather than simply watching the screen
- have a blend of print, visual and digital components
- allow children to fully enjoy an appreciate the story line in addition to using the different interactive features.
Balance the use of technology with the many other wonderful ways to stimulate your child's language and learning - read, play, sing and talk!
A Short List of Recommended FREE Apps for Early Literacy
Interactive story about baby animals and their mothers with Read to Me or Read Alone choices.
Animal Sounds - Fun Toddler Game
Touch the animals' pictures and hear the sounds they make