Reading is an essential skill kids need for them to do well later in life. How to encourage kids to be active readers? How do you use book apps encourage kids to read and improve reading comprehension? One concern I had over those book apps that offer narration with the app is kids will miss those interaction time with a parent or a teacher. Kids learn not only from the book itself, but also learn from the interactions during the reading. A good question asked during the reading can trigger some good thinking and discussions. These discussions and outside-of-book-thinking will help kids learn how to relate to the content in the book, thus help them improve comprehension skills. Kids will enjoy reading more if they understand more and feel they can relate to the story. So guided discussion is an important part of childhood reading.
Ideally, we want to always have meaningful questions for discussion while we read with kids. But in real life, some time, it is hard for a parent to come up good discussion questions. We have so many other things to think about! This is when I really come to appreciate the book apps provide well-thought discussion questions for us.
The iRead With series is a set of book apps with discussion questions on each page. It is designed in partnership with McGill University Child Phonology Lab to create interactive and participative reading experience for parents and kids. From their study, I learned how to interact with kids while reading. Here are some suggestions on the type of questions to ask when reading with kids:
- Descriptive questions: ask questions start with What, Who, Where and When.
- Open ended questions: for example, ask kids make predictions and inferences about the story and characters.
- Distancing questions: ask kids to compare the story with his/her own experience, how it is similar, different, or otherwise related.
- Questions that encourage phonological awareness: ask for rhyming word or identify phoneme isolations, like finding the words with the same beginning sound or ending sound.
- Fill in the blank: ask kids to finish a sentence, or finish the story.
- Recall questions: ask questions after finishing the book, “what happened to xx?”
You can read more about the design idea on iReadWith website.
In addition to the interactive feature, the iReadWith app series has more features to help kids read, such as the living words based on reading levels, a theater where kids can create their own stories using the settings and characters from the story. It is a great way to encourage creativity. It is also a handy feature helping parents see what kids really understand from the book they just read.
iReadWith is available for iPad. The series just launched their 2nd book app. To celebrate the launch, they have set the first book for free. Each book has a free lite version for you to test out.
If you would like to check it out or purchase it, please use the App Store link provided below. The cost is the same to you, but iGameMom gets a small percentage. Thanks for your support! Note: The link works for all countries.