It’s not always easy to figure out what skills our children need to become successful readers. As an educator, it’s no surprise that I’m constantly approached by parents who are not sure how to best support their children when it comes to teaching them how to read. As a parent, I myself am sometimes at loss when it comes to teaching my own kids to read and challenging them to move ahead. That’s why I was so excited when I discovered the new Abound app — a free reading app designed to empower parents as they support their child’s reading development. The Abound app is like a parents complete guide to teaching kids to read! It’s great for teachers too! Today I want to tell you all about it. Read on!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with Abound Parenting. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Because I’m an experienced teacher, you might think I have all the answers to reading instruction, especially when it comes to supporting my own kids in their learning. Truth is I don’t. Often times, far from it! You might even credit the fact that I’m a teacher to being the reason why my kids were both early readers. Not the case either! You might say that teaching my kids reading is easy because they already know how to read. Wrong!
Let me let you in on a few little secrets…
Teaching My Kids to Read
I don’t have all the answers when it comes to teaching my kids to read. I truly don’t!
I will however tell you that I can credit my kids early reading to the fact that we read a lot and talk a lot at home. I’ve always loved explaining things to them from a very young age. And both my husband and I have been engaging them in purposeful talk and conversations from even before they spoke their first word. I always say that because they hear so much, and we talk so much about so much, they know so much. I always knew that these kinds of interactions would set them up for success, in language development, in reading, in life. It’s not really a teacher thing. It’s more of a parent thing!
Truth is my kids have been blessed with some amazing teachers throughout their school careers. And some not so good ones too. However, I’ve always felt that as parents, my husband and myself, have always been their best teachers. In fact, their very first teachers. So I will take some of the credit for their success! Even when I don’t know what I’m doing. lol!
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The fact that my kids were very early readers — reading as early as age 3 — doesn’t make it easier for me to teach them reading. In fact, it sometimes makes it harder. Parents may often tell me that they are at a loss when it comes to getting kids started reading. Or they may find it difficult to develop a love of reading in their kids because they’re struggling to learn to read. It’s not easy to always now how to best help our kids! And knowing how to help a kid who gets reading right off the bat is just as hard.
For me it’s always been a challenge to know how to move my own kids ahead in their reading. How do I support the skills they already posses while teaching new ones — especially when going past their grade level? Often times, I’ve been left feeling like not enough is being done at school to address their reading needs. But I get it! Teachers have a huge group of kids to teach. I’ve been there as a teacher! Sometimes you just have to teach to the middle. Often times it’s the lowest readers that you need to push ahead. The top readers aren’t the ones you mainly focus on — those kids are already doing okay.
For all these reasons I just talked about above, I was very excited when I was introduced to the Abound app. It provides a well thought-out, well developed, reading system that not only helps kids learn to read but empowers parents to be their kids reading teacher. It’s great for kids at any reading level, ages 3 to 6. Perfect for teaching kids to start reading, build reading readiness in young kids — especially those that may not be fluently reading yet. Still, it also support kids that are already reading. Even pushes them ahead so that they can continue growing, at their pace, and according to their very own specific needs. And best part, it takes away the guess work! The Abound app is a great resource to turn to when supporting kids in their reading.
Here on NYCTechMommy, and in my work as a Common Sense Media reviewer of apps and books for kids, I’ve come across tons of great reading apps for kids. Loads of learning apps developed specifically for kids — electronic books to read, engaging reading games, vocabulary puzzles, and colorful flash cards. You name it! I’ve seen it! But until now, I’d never come across such a functional, comprehensive, resourceful reading app, JUST FOR PARENTS!
The Abound app is like a complete guide to teaching kids to read. Truly a game changer!
About the Abound App
Designed by education experts for ages 3-6, the Abound app empowers parents to easily use everyday opportunities to build reading readiness, social awareness, and critical thinking skills in young children.
Children need lots of social and emotional skills to take in the learning opportunities that are around them every day and build reading skills. They need awareness about themselves and others (e.g., empathy), and they need to be able to control their bodies and minds.
And best part is — you don’t have to be an expert in the research in order to guide your child’s literacy growth. All it takes to build these early skills are intentional, day-to-day conversations between you and your child. I love that the Abound app gives parents simple, daily opportunities to do just that! It’s so simple to get started!
Abound Parenting provides a complete guide to teaching kids to read
With the Abound app your child is on his or her way to reading success! All you have to do is use it everyday — have a conversation, use a word, and read when you can! And the app let’s you easily keep track too. Simply swipe up to complete each daily task. Once all three orbs (Word Up, Book Out, Talk On) are glowing, you’ve completed the system for the day. You can do this! It’s super easy!
As an educator and busy parent, I absolutely love that these daily opportunities are designed to give you the flexibility to do as much or as little as your daily routine allows. Because let’s be honest — we lead busy lives! Some days reading is the last thing on our list. We all know that we should read with our children daily but sometimes life gets in the way. And that’s totally ok! Every little bit you do counts! So even on those days that you can’t find the time to sit for a full on reading session, thanks to the Abound app you still have the tools you need to implement little ways to grow your reader, encourage them, and enjoy even small learning moments that will build livelong language and literacy skills. Make sure to check out the Grab Bag section of the app for quick little conversation starters you can use at home, on the go, and when you’re out and about!
The Abound app supports you every step of the way! The in-app Check-In section provides you with age-appropriate milestones that you can update anytime. These are a great way to reflect on where your child lies on the road to reading success, track their growth, and allows you to further tailor the content in order meet the needs of your child.
Below are more details of how the Abound app works, how it supports you as a parent, how it teaches your child to read. Download the Abound app now and get FREE access to rich, fun, research-backed content for you and your child.
Understand your child’s unique learning profile
Once you launch the Abound app, you will be asked a series of simple questions about your child. The app translate this information into a developmental profile across crucial early reading and language skill categories. The check-in area of the app gives you the opportunity to reflect on your child’s progress and make updates in order to further customize the content that will meet your child’s needs.
Help them learn via expert-designed interactions and conversations
The Abound app provide conversations, short activities, and book recommendations that will engage both you and your young child while building lifelong skills.
Reading and talking about books is a gift to your child — it builds content knowledge, vocabulary, and connection, too.
See and celebrate their progress
The Abound app helps you capture and track your child’s learning milestones, and even share those moments with family and friends. The Memory Box section allows you to record funny quotes, interesting comments, and personal reflections around learning moments with your child. Then easily share these captured moments with family members and friends over email, text, and social media. These saved moments and memories are easily accessible whenever you want via the timeline feature in your child’s Memory Box.
Learning to read, redefined
The Abound app deliver lifelong benefits, with a few minutes of use each day.
- Connect with your child in new ways
- Engage in quick, interesting conversations that build knowledge of letters, develop vocabulary, and introduce new concepts.
- Set your child up for long term success
- The latest early education research is at your fingertips. Receive actionable recommendations personalized to the learning needs of your child
- Helps you do more in less time
- Adapts to your day. Quick conversations over dinner can transform into learning moments.
- Builds knowledge through everyday conversations
- Builds up prior knowledge
Contextual knowledge is critical in building strong reading skills. Your child needs to put to use the growth you’re developing in Letters and Sounds, Vocabulary and Knowledge, and Awareness and Regulation. The best way to do this is through reading together a book that focuses on a similar theme to your daily discussions. It gives them a chance to put their skills to work and develop a more meaningful understanding.
There are three main skill sets critical to early literacy development. The Abound app gives you the tools to build all three when teaching kids to read.
Letters & Sounds
Letters & Sounds refers to the mechanical skills involved in reading and sounding out the 26 letters and 44 sounds. This includes reading of individual words based on a knowledge of letters and sounds, and how to blend individual letter/sound units into words, automatically and fluently.
Vocabulary & Knowledge
Vocabulary & Knowledge refers to skills that are important for understanding books and other texts. When children can read words (i.e. they have Letters & Sounds skills), they still need to make sense of what the words really mean. To do that, they need a lot of background information, vocabulary, and experience that they can pull from as they attempt to make sense of what they’re reading.
Higher-Level textbooks are filled with vocabulary that is different from the kinds of words we use when we talk. To read successfully in the years to come, children need to build up understanding of academic vocabulary through reading and using academic words. And if they learn about meaningful word parts (e.g., prefixes, suffixes) and how words work, they can use that information to figure out what unknown words mean.
Awareness & Regulation
Awareness & Regulation refers to the social emotional skills, such as empathy and emotional regulation, that allow your child to maintain their focus and immerse themselves in reading experiences. This is critical to reading and academic success! These skills are developed over time, and while there are different milestones along the way, this particular Abound category applies to children of all ages. While social and emotional skills encompass other topics as well, Awareness & Regulation are some of the most important sub-skills for strong reading and that makes it critical to grow and support these skills from birth.
When young children are read to a lot, and when they are talked to about ideas, they build up knowledge and learn lots of vocabulary words. As books get more difficult in later years, vocabulary and knowledge are really important to reading success, and they have to accumulate over time, bit by bit.
How the Abound App is Teaching Kids to Read
The suggested Book Out book recommendations are based on my own child’s reading and age appropriate reading level. This is probably my most favorite part of this reading system. It’s great how the Abound app really takes the guess work out of selecting books to read with my daughter. It’s like having an entire list of appropriate books for her right at my finger tips. Sometimes the recommendations are books we may already have in our home library. Those that we don’t already own are easy to pick up at our local library. Finding a new book to read is a great reason to visit our local library! Also, the Abound app provides links (right within the app) so you can purchase the recommended book if you wish. That’s a fantastic feature! I’m always looking for new books to add to our home library.
What’s even better is that each book recommendation is accompanied by a list of open ended questions and vocabulary works to discuss while reading. This is a critical part of the Abound system and teaching kids to read. It helps to build content knowledge, therefore setting kids up for reading success. As mom and an educator, I love that!
Each day, you’ll receive a Talk On question grounded in the three skill areas that prompt engaging, brain-building conversation. All you have to do is ask your child the question. This will easily lead to an engaging back-and-forth discussion as each question builds critical thinking and reading skills. Even if sometimes the questions feel sort of random, kids thrive on random questions. And don’t worry if this feels a bit out of your comfort zone. That just means that you’re connecting with your child in a new way!
In addition, each day you’ll also get a new way to use the weekly Word Up vocabulary word that’s been specifically-chosen because of it’s necessity for academic reading comprehension. These are the new words your kids will encounter in the recommended books they read. Build their background knowledge and set them up for reading success by using new words — try one word a day!
About Abound Parenting
The Abound app and reading system was built by a group of educators, parents, and researchers on a mission to empower parents to raise successful readers and critical thinkers who can thrive in our ever-changing world. Their mission is to truly help you set up your children for school success. To that end they’ve built an app to help parents build early social awareness, language, and reading skills through fun and simple conversations and word games. The Abound app is designed for busy parents, and it doesn’t put a screen in front of the child, and most importantly it encourages these wonderful connected learning moments between parent and child.
Meet One of the Co-Founders
After graduating from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, co-founder, Joan G. Kelley spent 10 years working in and with schools using current research to create the kinds of instructional settings that children need in order to become strong readers. As the years went on, she witnessed the same instructional problems contributing to low reading outcomes over and over again. And not just in the schools she worked, but across the country. That’s when she realized that parents were the ingredient that was missing!
Joan felt that parents were being left out of the conversations about learning to read. This made her think: how can we expect children to read well if parents (and often teachers too) don’t know what the skills are or how to build them? It was at this time that she decided to shift her focus to parents. She felt that parents needed — and deserved — to know how children become strong readers, what to do to move their own children forward, and even how to advocate for their children’s instructional needs with teachers and caregivers. After all, parents are the stakeholders who could make sure the learning-to-read process results in strong reading skills: they are the people in children’s lives who are there the most, and care the most, and could help the most, in easy and natural ways. Sometimes, they just need a little help themselves. And that’s why Abound was born.
Watch the video below to learn more about Abound Parenting’s mission to empower parents and build strong readers.
Reading Resources Abound
Don’t forget to visit the Abound Parenting website for great articles and resources to inform you as you support your child in building critical lifelong skills. On the website you’ll find great information including early reading tips and tricks, how to use flashcards to teach your kids sight words, how to motivate your child to read, answers to top questions parents have about reading levels, how to raise strong readers, how to build your child’s vocabulary, how to build reading routines, and so much more! The wealth of information and support you’ll find here is truly incredible and so empowering to parents teaching kids to read! Thank you Abound Parenting!
You are on your way to teaching kids to read and supporting them in becoming lifelong learners! Once you’ve downloaded the Abound app, explored all the fantastic resources on the Abound Parenting website, and started using this game changing reading system with your child, it’s time to celebrate! Make sure to pat yourself on the back every time you help your child build knowledge about the world and think more expansively through the everyday conversations you chose to start with him/her. That background knowledge you’re now building will help him or her when he/she reads and tries to make sense of any texts that cover the same or similar topics, or that asks him/her to wrestle with similar ideas. Congratulate your child — they are doing so much more than just reading a book or sounding out words. Your child is building lifelong skills critical to their success as a reader, critical to their success in school, and beyond. Your child is on a path to lifelong success! All thanks to you mom (and dads too). You are teaching kids to read! So make sure to congratulate yourself on choosing to use the Abound app.
What is the most challenging part of teaching your child to read? Let me know in the comments section below.