The Free App to Keep Your Early Reader Learning this Summer

Hooked on Phonics app for early readers
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As the end of the school year approaches (5 MORE DAYS!) I’m insanely grateful for the reprieve from packing lunches, homework, and early wake-ups with grouchy kids.  Despite all the challenges, for both kids and mama, it’s been a wonderful year. I think kindergarten is one of those milestones that really force you to consider how fast it is all going, and how amazing it is that kids grow and change so much in such a short time. This time I’m feeling that times two, as my twins prepare to “graduate” into first grade.

Now that we’re entering months of summer fun, I’m looking forward to the break and the chance to relax, but also concerned about avoiding the dreaded summer slide. Enter the beloved tablet. My kids rejoice at being allowed to play with their electronics, so finding apps to help build skills has been a simple and welcome way to encourage extra practice without listening to a single complaint. One of our current favorites is an app that works important skills related to early reading success – Hooked on Phonics. 

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It’s easy for me to remember the television commercials for the program (I’m not the only one, right?), so when I was offered a chance to test the app I was curious, of course. I haven’t been disappointed. The app offers practice on many of the basics that younger readers benefit from, incorporated into easy to understand games and songs.

Each unit builds upon the one before. Within the units, children can make words by choosing letters at random, build words by combining sounds into words, and practice reading words with lessons reinforced through sound and sight. At the end of each stage is a short storybook they can practice reading. If they get stuck, a word bubble gives the option to hear the words read to them.  

My struggling reader is really benefitting from the additional practice, but my more advanced reader also enjoys the games and songs. Because it is in the form of games on an app, there is no negative reaction when I suggest some practice. In fact, most of the time I don’t need to suggest it, as the kids will opt to play on their own. Just this morning, backstage during the wait for our turn on stage during the dance recital, my daughter was showing off the games and reading to her friends.

My kindergarteners are enjoying the app, but even younger kids who are working on letter and sound recognition would enjoy the units, and older kids who need additional practice with the skills could certainly benefit. 

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The FREE consumer edition of the Hooked on Phonics app can be found on iTunes and in the Google Play store. Included in the download are the first lesson and ebook, with additional lessons and ebooks available for purchase.  Additionally, if you check out their Facebook page, you can enter for your chance to win a complete Learn-to-Read program ($299 value), with the winner to be chosen on 7/1. 

We were provided a free download of the full version of the Hooked on Phonics app for the purposes of this review. 


Do you use technology and apps to build reading skills? 

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The Free App to Keep Your Early Reader Learning this Summer

Sara McTigue is a secret agent, cupcake chef, award winning author, photographer, and PTA mom. At least, that is how things look in her mind. When she isn’t testing the bounds of her imagination, she is a mom to three amazing and hilariously funny children, wife to a charming and handsome man, and thoroughly addicted to reading. With a BS in English Education and an MA in English Literature, words – and their ability to shape our lives and thoughts – are an everyday fascination. Af ... More

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