We also know that students learn better when they are engaged, which is why teachers (and parents) are continually seeking to find tools and teaching methods that will draw students in and sustain their interest over time, and there is no doubt that technology has proven itself as an engaging tool for learners. While I am not one to advocate for screens in place of books, I can see the benefits of using quality, educational screen-based sources as one tool to improving a young learner’s development – whether this be in the form of websites, apps or television viewing. Quality most definitely matters.
Best Reading Websites & Apps for Early Readers
Below is a list of three of the most popular and effective online reading websites that teach and reinforce reading skills vital for the success of early or beginning readers.
1. Teach Your Monster to Read
My favourite tool by far is the award-winning reading website Teach Your Monster to Read. Teach Your Monster to Read is available on both computers and mobile devices and is completely free thanks to The Usborne Foundation.
Students are immediately immersed in a captivating narrative in which their monster (one they are able to design, dress, and customize) is zooming through space when they encounter a terrible storm, forcing them to crash land on an island. There, their monster attempts to use the spaceship’s user manual to fix its ship, but we discover that the monster cannot read. The island king offers to help fix the monster’s spaceship piece-by-piece, but only if you help him to find a series of letters by playing games.
There are seven pieces to the broken spaceship and seven islands. After each letter on an island is recovered, learners earn a prize of their choice, choosing from snacks, silly hats, or debonair accessories, such as suspenders or a bowtie.
Parents and teachers can create individual profiles for each learner and track progress. Students are awarded certificates and official letters celebrating their success as they pass each of the three stages.
The First Steps stage is for those starting to learn letters and sounds. If a student spends approximately 20 minutes per week on this stage, they should finish it in 7 weeks.
Fun with Words is the next stage and it is for those who are more confident with letters and sounds, and are ready to move on to more complicated letter combinations. Following the guidelines mentioned above, this stage should last about 14 weeks.
The final stage, Champion Reader, teaches short sentences and should take approximately 22 weeks.
Teach Your Monster to Read is definitely a win with teachers, students and parents alike!
2. PBS Kids
Back on “The Street” is where we learned about sharing, discovery, friendship, and of course, the letter of the day. Next stop, PBS – an online leader in screen time learning and engagement, with an exceptional website that certainly lives up to that reputation.
PBSKids.org is free and includes an extensive list of games connected to kids’ favorite shows like Martha Speaks, Word Girl, Dinosaur Train, and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
The website is organized so users can easily find a game within their choice of specific learning category. Categories include social studies, reading, science, problem solving, music, etc. The literacy games cover everything for early learners through to emergent readers. Some of the literacy skills taught and reinforced include rhyming, letter recognition, spelling, word formations, vocabulary, and story creation.
With so many games offered, and new ones continually being added, students will most definitely be entertained and engaged while learning!
ABCYa is another favourite of both teachers and parents. Which is probably because teachers and parents designed this phenomenal resource! Not only does it come highly recommended by education professionals, but it also won the 2014 Parents’ Choice Award for Websites and the Silver Honor for Parents’ Choice Spring 2014 award for Mobile Apps.
ABCYa games are organized by grade level and subject, making navigation simple and worry-free. The games are designed for PreK-6th grade and cover a variety of reading skills including spelling, upper/lowercase work, typing, parts of speech, word clouds, and story creation.
This fun reading website offers three options for implementation at home or in the classroom, allowing users to choose the plan that best fits with their needs and budget. The Free Subscribers plan offers great basic features including the ability to play all the games on a desktop and access to the ABCYa videos. But the Premium Family ($5.83/month) and Premium Classroom ($25/month) offer unlimited games, the ability to save an unlimited number of games, and the ability to work on 5 or 30 devices, respectively.
We recommend signing up for the Free Subscriber account first to take it for a test drive, and if you like it, you could consider upgrading to either of the premium plans, or simply remain a free subscriber.
There are so many online tools and resources available for teachers and parents that sometimes it can be difficult to determine which ones are the best or most effective. These three reading websites are a great place to start as they come so highly recommended by professionals and parents alike.
Click through to see our full collection of printable reading resources for early/beginning readers.
Pin for later: