A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
Kids can learn letter names, sounds, the role letters play in simple words, sight words, and word families. Activities have kids learn the name and sound of each new letter. Then they work on identifying the letter, picking the letter out of a group of letters, learning uppercase and lowercase versions, and using the letter in words that start with it. Kids will also construct rhyming words by pairing beginning sounds with a word family (for example, pairing "c," "t," and "f" with "-an"), and they'll practice identifying sight words. At the end of each lesson, kids get some practice reading a short book. Reading Friends could be the best friend your kids have when it comes to acquiring reading skills.
Kid-friendly theme, positive feedback for correct answers help kids feel comfortable about learning to read. Sometimes feedback for incorrect answers isn't particularly gentle.
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Parents Need to Know
Is It Any Good?
With lots of repetition, kids gradually build on their reading know-how on this kid-friendly site. The Reading Friends approach is slow and thorough as it introduces each letter of the alphabet, one by one. Activities move from recognizing and picking out the target letter by name and sound, to working with words that begin with that letter to watching how the letter is written. The repetition can be good for learning, but it may also start to feel boring as kids find the lowercase letter f for the 10th time and then do it all over again 10 times with an uppercase F.
More variety in activity type would make the user experience much better. Similarly, slow loading times and other technical problems sometimes interfere with smooth play. The rest of the learning content -- word families and sight words -- is somewhat secondary to the primary focus of letter learning but adds a nice peek at other aspects of learning to read. Though some material is not of the highest quality (such as the "books" that kids read at the end of each level), Reading Friends does a nice job of guiding kids through the alphabet and toward the world of reading.
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