For families looking for a sequential way to teach their children to read, Reading Raven is a good choice. The app is designed by learning experts using a phonics-based reading method.
Parents or teachers can configure Reading Raven for use by children ages 3, 4, or 5. For each of the three age levels, the curriculum varies. However, within a level, there are 5 lessons, each with multiple parts. The app comes with a helpful Parents and Teachers guide, located on the Main page.
Kids join Reading Raven, a backpack-wearing bird, to explore five themed locations on the map, each housing a different lesson presented as an adventure. The app presents the lessons in a side-scrolling manner, with the bird as your child's companion. As kids play through the adventure, they periodically earn stickers to help Reading Raven decorate his three-story birdhouse.
Within the lessons, kids play a variety of games that reflect the theme of the location. In the meadow, they will catch butterflies that show a specific letter. At the circus location, kids sort balloons dropped to match beginning letter sounds drawn on circus lions. In outer space, players match rhyming words to build rockets.
Why This App Excites Kids About Reading
This learning adventure cycles through an engaging mix of interactive reading activities set in exciting environments. Kids will play phonics games, trace letters, and even record themselves reading words. In this no-fail environment, kids feel free to experiment while they learn. If children make a wrong step, the app encourages them to try again and even provides hints. And the periodic reward of stickers motivates kids to keep learning.
Why This App is Good
Teaching a child to read requires patience and the right hook. Reading Raven positions itself well by providing fun environments (a meadow, a circus, the North Pole, a pond, and outer space) filled with 11 different games.
The app provides clear, spoken instructions and builds in positive feedback throughout. Each activity carefully reinforces the learning in a variety of ways, including sound, pictures, word associations, and repetition. The app automatically adapts to the child's motor control ability; so if your kid is having trouble tracing a letter, the app will make the letter bigger.
Reading Raven is an app that will grow with your child. Kids as young as three, who are starting to recognize letters, will enjoy the easiest level filled with pre-reading exercises about recognizing letters, tracing, and learning the letter sounds. The 4-year-old level introduces word beginnings, spelling, and vocabulary, while the level for 5-year-olds has kids sounding out words, reading sentences aloud using voice recording, rhyming words, and identifying word groups. The app's focus is on phonics, but some sight words are also introduced. Players can always tap on a letter to hear its sound.
At times, the app is too chatty, repeating instructions previously given. You can lower or turn off the sound level of the verbal interactions, but then players will miss the verbal reinforcement of letter sounds, sounding out words, and reading together with the app's narrator.
Reading Raven allows families and teachers to set up profiles for up to five children, based on their abilities. The difficulty levels suggest a curriculum, but adults can pick and choose which educational material they want their kids to see within the games.
This phonics-based reading app has wide appeal, because it presents its learning inside of adventures that takes kids to fun places. With a variety of learning games delivered in three difficulty levels, Reading Raven is a good choice for kids ages 3-5. After finishing this app, kids can move to the sequel called Reading Raven 2.
This kids' app review of the learn-to-read app Reading Raven was written by Jinny Gudmundsen.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.