Reading Train Learn to Read Books, Songs & Games

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Reading Train Learn to Read Books, Songs & Games App Poster Image
Gets kids reading with lots of features, fundamentals.

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn to read simple books. Three levels help kids grow from reading short, repetitive sentences to reading slightly more complex, slightly less repetitive sentences. A vast, illustrated word bank can help kids expand their vocabulary and learn about, for example, animals, shapes, and even a few scientific terms. If kids record their own voices reading out loud, they also can work on speaking clearly, pronunciation, intonation, and reading fluency, and songs help kids with rhyming and rhythm. A few added features could provide additional learning support: For instance, highlighting words as the narrator reads them could help kids follow along. Reading Train Learn to Read Books, Songs & Games has many elements that reinforce early reading skills and provides multiple levels of resources, but it's best used in conjunction with high-interest books that make kids want to learn to read.

Ease of Play

Short tutorial demonstrates how to play. Kids tap, tap and hold, and drag. Reading books and completing quizzes is straightforward, but it's not always clear how to navigate through the different sections.  

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Reading Train Learn to Read Books, Songs & Games was designed by an experienced teacher to provide early readers with a vast library of reading material they can read on their own. There also is a free version, which offers limited access to select books and songbooks, plus the whole dictionary. Kids can tap and hold words to hear them read out loud, but there's no sound-it-out help, nor any specific guidance on the nitty-gritty how-to of reading. There's an option for kids to record their own voices reading the book, which requires access to the devices' microphone. Parents can create multiple user accounts and track progress for each account through reports in the parents' section. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 4 and 7 year old Written byvickyk1 April 15, 2016

Engaging app for emerging readers

My four year old LOVES this app. You have three choices: reads to you, read with help or read on your own. My daughter has picked up on how to use the app witho... Continue reading

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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.

App details

  • 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

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