Digital Reading Tools
November 2018 by V. R. Duin


To help improve reading rates, there is an entire network of digital reading tools, from information on blogs, social media and websites to reading games and learning apps for kids interested in reading practice to learn reading skills.

Digital Reading Tools include Audio books, Reading Games and Learning Apps for Kids.

Specialized digital reading tools include audio books, reading games and learning apps for kids. Interactive tools guide and inspire children to learn the alphabet, letter sounds, rhyming patterns and to expand their vocabulary. These educational programs also may provide curricula to guide learning at home and portals through which parents can track their children's reading progress. Some of these programs offer opportunities to publish literary productions or record reading progress. Many audio books are available free of charge online. This format may be helpful to students who are challenged with the reading of physical books. A child who learns letters and sounds may not be ready to read. Fun and interesting sounds may spark interest in learning to read about new subjects and favorite characters. Reading readiness and an interest in reading can benefit from fun reading activities in the home. Children must learn how to hold a book and to read English texts from top to bottom and left to right. They also need exposure to word-processing and computer-related learning activities.

The digital world has affected the way in which many teaching activities are conducted in schools and at home. Any and every student, parent and educator may benefit from knowledge of the free digital reading tools, including audio books, reading games and learning apps for kids that are available online to help improve reading rates and reading comprehension. Children are attracted to the action and interaction of technology. Animations, magical experiences and user choices offered by the latest technology may foster the engagement and confidence needed to improve reading skills. Students with learning challenges or physical disabilities may benefit from new controllers designed to meet the interactive needs of individuals with limited mobility. The use of electronic devices by children should be properly channeled and monitored by adults for appropriateness and for feedback purposes. Technology use must be balanced with manual practice to develop the fine motor skills required for writing letters and words by hand.

The new technology-based educational playing field demands a whole new responsibility on the part of all students, parents and educators to stay abreast of the latest digital reading tools, audio books, reading games, learning apps for kids, educational blogs and informative websites. Standard technology in traditional schools is generating interest in interactive learning programs for popular phones and tablets. With these apps, students can create such useful learning aids as flash cards for language and math memorization. Tech disruptors challenge existing learning styles with alternative reading programs, services and products. Many of these independent, mastery-based tools are free of charge, with potential to upgrade for additional features and greater interaction. Motivated students can use these programs to interact with teachers and other mentors. This interactive approach may be helpful for students from families that are not concerned about the academic growth of their children. Libraries and service centers may have reduced operating hours in impoverished areas as compared to those in wealthier communities. However, most children have access to cell phones, including those without access to tablets or computers.

Unfortunately, a recent study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics raises serious issues about ethics and consumer protection in apps marketed to young children. In the article, Advertising in Young Children's Apps, researchers from the University of Michigan C. S. Mott Children's Hospital present findings that, 95% of the free and paid apps reviewed, contained potentially manipulative, deceptive or hidden advertisements. The 135 apps reviewed by these researchers came from a study of the most popular apps, in the Google Play store for kids age five and under, including ones labeled as “educational”. A coalition of public interest and consumer groups, led by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy, sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission arguing against the use of deceptive marketing tactics that persuade susceptible children to watch ads and purchase upgrades. This adds fuel to the backlash against those technology giants that are encouraging the early adoption of digital technology.

Skepticism aimed at progressive technologies and systems often are aimed at Silicon Valley by the education establishment. For this reason, it may be hard to get parents, students and teachers to interact digitally. It may be difficult to find accurate sources of information and to understand the online licenses and permissions behind the use of helpful digital reading resources. However, some of these entertaining and creative alternatives to printed books may provide better results for some individual learning challenges. Students, parents and educators can work together. Digital reading tools are available to help students of every grade level begin to learn critical thinking, analysis and research skills. Proper use of these engaging reading games and learning apps for kids may pave the way to success in the digital world. Here are 18 Digital Tools and Strategies that Support Students' Reading and Writing from progressive teachers in Littleton, Colorado that may help everyone get started with digital reading tools that are worth downloading.

Learning Apps for Kids

  • Digital Reading Tool Reading Rates says:

    Screencastify is a free digital reading tool extension for Chrome that captures video from a website, records screen content to a Chromebook for verbal feedback on presentations, instructions, assignments.

  • Learning Apps Reading Rates says:

    AnswerGarden is one of Apple's most popular learning apps, because it facilitates brainstorming, feedback and audience participation among students, teachers and other users who are viewing this question and answer process.

    • Reading GamesReading Rates says:

      Reading games use engaging voices and sounds to help draw reluctant readers into the storytelling fun of reading.