Apps Promoting Family Conversation and Cultivating Early Literacy
Three new early-literacy apps have been released for free by a team in the Harvard Graduate School of Education and its Reach Every Reader initiative. The apps are designed for parents and caregivers to use with their children to encourage fun and rewarding interactions, promote dialogue, and give children the foundations they need to read, learn, and thrive. The Small Wonders (For Families) app is specially designed for caregivers and children to use together, with games, songs, and activity ideas that can be the start of many back-and-forth conversations—ideal for preparing children to read. In Photo Play (For Families), caregivers and children choose a photo of their own and have fun drawing on it, decorating it, playing hide-and-seek with it, and talking about people and events that the photo brings to mind. The Animal Antics (For Families) app invites caregivers and children to take on the personalities of lovable animal characters in a variety of story settings. In each scenario, children and caregivers take turns choosing facial expressions and recording dialogue. They can then play back the entire story. All three apps also offer tips to help build children’s language skills off-screen, as families go about their daily activities. The apps are available to freely download on iOS, Android,and Googledevices.
Now with Apple ARKit, Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar can be brought to life in the real world. Through an augmented reality experience, children can watch their own Very Hungry Caterpillar appear in their classroom, on a kitchen table, in a garden, on their playground, or anywhere else they want to play with it.
The Lois Lenski Covey Foundation offers grants for bookmobile programs across the nation that serve children from disadvantaged populations. The grants support organizations that operate a lending bookmobile that travels into neighborhoods populated by underserved youth.