Learning to read using technology

Boys reading a book

Boys reading a bookTeaching your child to read is most likely one of the hardest things I have done with my kids – but among the most rewarding.  Reading opens up a whole world for kids.  I remember when I was young, I struggled to learn to read, but using a variety of strategies I worked to learn.

Teaching my now first grader to read, is different.  There are apps to use versus physical workbooks.  We also have leveled early readers and go to the library often to pick up new books.  I remember going to the library when I was little and I always loved to pick out new books.

Independent reading is made more fun with Bluebee Pals.  My son enjoys sitting with Sammy the Bear and reading different books – and even sometimes just looking at the photos and trying to figure out what the story might say.  We have read a variety of different books including Poky the Little Puppy and reading along.  He often hugs Sammy and reads to him.  I asked him why he liked reading with Sammy – he said Sammy helps him to learn.    He uses Sammy to help him “tap” out his letters using Fundations which help him determine if he has a “just right book”

Reading apps for kids include

Reading EggsReading Egg – this app by Blake eLearning includes a test at the beginning so that you can determine your child’s reading level.  Through interactive games you practice sight words, digital story books, learning lessons including rhyming and interactive reading.  My son loves working for the Golden Eggs and pairs his iPad with his Bluebee Pal so the two of them can work on reading together!

Epic appEpic is a reading app that includes 40K books from 250 platforms.  You can choose books that are read aloud or your child can read by themselves.  The app includes picture books, different types of books including some of my son’s favorites community helpers like police and learning videos as well!

This post has also been posted on Bluebee Pals where I guest post on occasion.

Remote Learning and the Need for Nature

Remote Learning and Nature

Remote learning in our family has re-defined screen time for us. Previously we had fairly stringent controls using Circle, but we have had to loosen those up to allow for remote schooling. I made a profile for my boys – one for school and one for at home, that way we can have stronger controls on our home devices versus those that are needed for school.

We try to limit screentime at home to one or two hours a day based on the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations. On the weekends, we try to go outside and enjoy nature by going for a hike, doing land art or finding shells at a nearby beach. My younger son especially loves to go outside and run. It’s a great break from the screens and an opportunity to get outside and play! Playtime outside is such an important time which allows kids to use their imagination, enjoy different animals and experiences that they might not otherwise have at home.

Recently, my son did land art at school and decided to pick up shells at school and make a sculpture of land art on the beach. It was fun to watch him make it – and to get outside.

That said – limiting screentime during remote learning is tough! Blue light blocker glasses work well for kids as well as the ability to adjust the brightness and color shift the screen. We also remind our kids to be good digital citizens. We also screen programming to make sure it is age appropriate, remind them of good digital behavior and encourage use of screens in family spaces like the living room. NetSmartz is a great resource for kids and parents, as is this Boys Life article about cyber safety.

My husband and I know that screens are here to stay, and we can find different ways to encourage off time from the screens when not doing schooling.