Are you looking for a series of books that will help your child gain confidence as he enters the world of reading? Today I’m sharing an awesome app for beginning readers!
(Disclosure: I was given this app at no cost in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine!)
What is Rhyme to Read?
It’s an app consisting of 20 phonetic books that’s on sale for the holidays – just 25 cents a book!
What’s the story behind the app?
About ten years ago, two experienced teachers named Lynn Klaiman and Sara Hines created a 20-book learn-to-read program. Though the printed books were very well received, the cost of self publishing was too great to continue. A briefly launched website-based program was also expensive.
Now, with the advancement of technology, the books are being repackaged as an app!
What makes Rhyme to Read so valuable?
Rhyme to Read’s books are the very best kind of phonetic readers. In fact, they beat any phonetic readers I’ve seen in print! I’ll share eight reasons why.
1) The best part of Rhyme to Read is that it teaches reading with word families. Word families help children find predictable patterns within words. Instead of laboriously sounding out each letter, they find the first sound and attach it to a familiar word family name.
In Rhyme to Read, each of the 20 books is focused on a particular short vowel word family: at, an, ad, am, en, et, ed, ell, it, ig, id, ip, ot, og, ock, op, un, ub, uck, and ug.
2) The twenty books start simple and gradually become more complex. Have your child start with book number one and move to the next book as he’s ready. The books were designed for the youngest readers and also older readers in need of remediation.
3) I love the color-coded feature. Each word family is its own color (as in bat, cat, and rat). This repeats itself in successive books. Why is this useful? It provides a prompt for kids who will recognize that familiar word family and begin reading it automatically.
My almost-four-year-old is just starting to sound out words. I was amazed at how quickly he caught on to the word families with the color as a cue!
4) I really like how each page begins with the word family words in a vertical column. After reading these, your child moves on to reading the words within sentences. This really helps kids who are struggling because it gives them confidence before diving into the sentences. In this way, the books teach your child to read a particular word family instead of merely giving practice.
5) Another great feature of the app is that it includes 35 sight words. At the end of each book you can view the sight words that have been introduced so far. You’ll also find a list of the word families that have been taught.
6) Since we limit our kids’ screen time and prefer that they use even educational apps right alongside us, I used this app alongside my preschooler. But kids can easily use Rhyme to Read independently. If they’re unsure of a word, they can press it and hear the word pronounced correctly.
7) The stories are the best you can hope for with phonetic readers. It’s difficult to write a good story within a phonetic reader. But with the added sight words and charming illustrations, the authors of Rhyme to Read have succeeded in creating the most engaging stories possible.
8) The app is a great value. When you pay $5.99, you get every single book!
Do I recommend Rhyme to Read?
Absolutely! Phonetic books are important because they give our children the visual tools they need to decipher harder words. The sight word component is also important so that children aren’t frustrated trying to sound out words that simply can’t be.
I do urge you to use Rhyme to Read alongside leveled readers. Unlike phonetic readers, leveled books have many words which children may not be able to sound out — but they can use picture and context clues. Leveled books give children the opportunity to think about what would make sense and what would sound right grammatically.
When you use Rhyme to Read alongside leveled readers, your child will learn phonics, sight words, and how to read for meaning. Win-win-win!
What do you need to use Rhyme to Read?
You can buy this app for iOS at this link. I used it on an iPad mini, which works but is a bit small. Ideally, you would want to use this on a full-sized updated iPad (iOS7 or later).
© 2014 – 2016, Anna Geiger. All rights reserved.