A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
In READING TRAIN LEARN TO READ BOOKS, SONGS & GAMES, kids jump on the train to read very simple books all by themselves. Books are organized by reading level and topic (colors, animals, or life sciences). Kids can read, be read to, or record their own voice reading out loud. After each book, kids take a short quiz and then choose a prize. Three levels offer increasingly more complex language and sentence structure. Kids also can explore new words in the word train depot or sample the song collection. Tap and hold words at any time to see and/or hear a definition.
Is it any good?
The large number of features aims to empower kids to read whole books, and it provides an ever-growing library of simple texts. With a great train theme and hundreds of short books and new vocabulary words -- complete with kid-friendly definitions -- kids have lots to explore. The books all follow a very minimalist formula based on simplicity and repetition, which is very accessible to new readers; kids with more reading experience will likely want more complex stories. Top marks here for sheer volume, just the right emphasis on in-app rewards that leaves room for the bigger reward of personal satisfaction, and flexibility in crafting a personalized path through the app. Some tweaks to overall organization and navigation paths would improve the user experience. Overall, parents who are looking for a straightforward way to get kids reading something will appreciate this app, and the various modes and levels let kids practice reading in a variety of ways.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the new words and concepts these books introduce. For example, let the super simple books on science be a starting point for diving deeper into what catches kids' interest.
Surround kids with high-quality, imaginative, and fun stories and books. Make frequent trips to the library. Read to kids, and let them read themselves.
Point out simple words all around you. Read labels at the supermarket, street signs, mail, and more.
Work on the finer points of foundational reading skills. Help kids connect letters and phonemes with the sounds they make. Guide them in putting all those sounds together to read a whole word.
- Device: iPad
- Subjects: Language & Reading: reading, reading comprehension, spelling, vocabulary
- Price: $3.99
- Pricing structure: Paid (Limited content available for free; the rest is available through subscription as an in-app purchase.)
- Release date: May 28, 2015
- Category: Education
- Topics: Music and Sing-Along, Trains
- Size: 209.00 MB
- Publisher: The Learning Station
- Version: 1.0.14
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.