Endless Reader App Poster Image

Endless Reader

(i)

 

Super engaging, but an ineffective way to learn sight words.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn to recognize 26 different sight words. The letters also include phonics, so kids will pick up on the most common phonetic sound for the letters. Kids will have repeated exposure to the sight words as they complete the sentence puzzles, matching the correct words. Kids may find the differences in phonetic rules confusing, though, hearing the most common phonetic sound even if it doesn't match the sound in the given word. Endless Reader is an engaging app for learning vocabulary, but it falls short for sight reading and phonics learning.

Ease of play

Drag-and-drop interaction is prompted by cues if kids don't respond. Lots of interactive elements are included.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

An in-app purchase ($4.99) is required to unlock the full alphabet. The free version includes six words, one for each letter A through F. You can buy more word packs for $4.99, or a bundle for $11.99.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Endless Reader is presented as a free app in the App Store but that only gets access to try out the app with six sight words -- all, ball, cake, dog, eat, and funny. It'll cost $4.99 to unlock the other 20 words from the rest of the alphabet; additional packs are also $4.99 each.

What's it about?

ENDLESS READER introduces kids to sight words and phonics with interactive animations that demonstrate the meaning of the words as well as how to spell them. Each word is presented as a card inside a monster's mouth. Kids scroll through the cards to choose the word they want to explore. When they tap the card, they'll hear the word and see it written before it gets scrambled up. Kids then use the outline of the word's letters to match the right letter and drag it into place in the word. As they touch the letter, they'll hear its phonetic sound and name. They'll then drag different sight words into place in a sentence. They'll hear the sentence read aloud and see a cute animation demonstrating the sentence. From there, kids can play around with the animation, tapping to see letters fly around, listen to the sentence again, or move on to another word and letter.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

The animations are adorable, and the illustrations demonstrating the meaning of the words are not only cute but effective. The word dog, for example, is drawn and colored to look like a dog. The problem comes in with the disparity between the idea of a sight word -- a word that is recognized without sounding it out -- and the phonetic sound for each letter that kids will hear when they touch the letter. Touching the e in cake, kids will hear the short e sound and get no explanation of silent e in that word. It's confusing. For early readers, focus on one or the other -- sight words or phonics -- to avoid confusion.

There's also not much content included for the price -- six free words and $4.99 for 20 more.  

Families can talk about...

  • Read aloud to kids and let them fill in certain sight words (start with letting them read the word "the" in a short picture book. 

  • Point out words on signs to help kids recognize common words and names by sight.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Subjects:Language & Reading: phonics, reading, spelling
Skills:Self-Direction: academic development
Health & Fitness: fine motor skills
Price:Free (with in-app purchases)
Pricing structure:Free to Try, Free (You can buy packs of words for $4.99 each, or a bundle for $11.99.)
Release date:May 20, 2014
Category:Education
Topics:Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Numbers and letters
Size:48.70 MB
Publisher:Originator Inc.
Version:1.4
Minimum software requirements:iOS 5.0 or later

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Parent Written bytracyd2 July 27, 2015

I love this for a pre-reader!!

My daughter (soon to be 4) and I LOVED playing with this app. It is a fun way to learn the phonetic sounds of letters and visually see where they land in a word, and also while the child "helps" compile a sentence, he or she can hear the word being pronounced over and over. I like that. I swear my daughter learned a couple words while moving them to their places in the sentences. It does have some draw backs, but those are made up for, for the most part, in a sister app called Endless Wordplay, where the phonetic sounds are announced of the letters and words, the word is repeated after it is complied, and the app forces the child to put the letters in order. The Endless Reader is a really fun start for a non-reader to play with letters, fun animal/monsters, and watch cute videos of the words in action. We had loads of fun playing it, and now we are already loving Endless Word Play. I am thrilled that my daughter WANTS to play these! Other educational games haven't held her interest this long.
Parent of a 3 year old Written byDori in SF January 6, 2016

Far surpassed my expectations as a learning tool!

When my daughter was 2.5 I saw a very positive review for the app Endless Alphabet in a child development magazine. I am in the tech field myself but decided to limit my child's access to smart devices from the start so she had zero "smart" screen time before that. She could recite the alphabet and identify most letters already, but there was no captivation on her part with letters at the time. I downloaded that first free app in the Endless (Alpahabet) series and she took to it immediately.The animations were adorable and clever, and they employed great pneumonics for the vocabulary words. She played with it for about 3 or 4 15- minute sessions a week. I was surprised at the vocabulary she picked up from it and assumed that was the main benefit. Pleased with the progress, I decided to try Endless Reader after reading somewhere that preschool was a good time to try to start introducing sight words. It was shocking how much she loved it from the start! We bought the first word pack series and she was WILD about it. We began doing it together - with me watching with her - for a short session each day (15 min). She asked every day for a session, and before we knew it she'd gone through the whole word set. I had thought it would be most useful for learning her lower-case letters. I was wrong! About a month into Endless Reader, I thought I'd test gently while we were working on a sentence to see if she could identify some lower-case letters. She surprised me by reading off several whole words that I pointed to (in any order!). I tried again with other sentences because I thought maybe she'd memorized a particular word/phrase order, but she demonstrated this over and over. My husband and I were astonished. We tried pointing out words in other books, menus, etc., we knew had been covered in the app ... and she COULD READ THEM. She asked to use the program each day and we obliged. We bought the second reader pack (Level 2) at her request after it was clear she was very familiar with the first. This second reader pack is for older kids (approx. 1st-2nd grade). That combo of Level 1 and 2 words has been magic. It's six months later and she can read over 200 sight words. Just amazing! And she still hasn't tired of the app. She's 3.5 now. We've turned other friends onto this and their children in the same age group have seen similar results. For those who are worried about the phonetic issue, I disagree. I've seen it in action with multiple 3-yr-olds now. Not only are the kids learning the sight words enthusiastically, but they're loving LEARNING. Now my daughter also sometimes enjoys playing with next app in the series, Endless Wordplay, but her favorite is still Endless Reader. It's still the only smart device app group she has been exposed to so I can say for sure that this early reading ability has come almost exclusively from her Endless Reader exposure. Some people have balked at the pricing, but each word pack is only $4.99-$5.99. Reader Pack 1 (for pre-K through kindergarten words) would have more than sufficed for us, but my daughter was SO enthusiastic about learning that she convinced to get Reader Pack 2 (1st-2nd grade) as well. I cannot tell you how well worth the investment my husband and I consider that to be for the hours of entertainment and education it's provided our child.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use

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