The Joy of Reading

  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4.5 stars
  • Highly Recommended

  • The Joy of Reading
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: November 18, 2014
  • Quality
    Editor: 90%
  • Education
    Editor: 90%
  • Entertainment
    Editor: 80%
  • Value
    Editor: 90%
  • Child Friendly
    Editor: 100%

Review Summary:

The Joy of Reading is a simple and effective app that will help young learners practice important readiness and early reading skills.

App Info

Price: $3.99
AppStore User Rating: 2

Download on the App Store


The Joy of Reading offers a comprehensive set of early reading exercises for young children. Kids can practice letter sounds, tracing, rhyming, initial and final sounds, vowel sounds, and more.

Features include:

  • Nine games with multiple levels
  • Three game modes: guided learning, free play and word practice
  • Capability to add customized sight words
  • Progress records for multiple children
  • Detailed parent information about learning process


The Joy of Reading is a high quality app that will help young children practice several important readiness and early reading skills. For the most part, the activities seem to work as intended, though it is possible to get the vocal tracks to speak at the same time if a user were to “hurry” through an activity and words to go through the “shredder” must be positioned at the right place and the correct time or they will not be accepted. The animation of the characters is very basic, especially the way that their mouths move when they speak. On many activities, the distractors are voiced by a different actor than the target words, which could clue some children to the correct responses.


The Joy of Reading uses the nine different activities to help children review basic readiness and early reading skills. Parents can see (and try out) all of the activities by logging in as “Guest.” Otherwise, new words and letters are unlocked as the child plays. The activities include sound sorting, letter/sound matching, tracing capital and lower case letters, sorting by beginning sound, sorting by ending sound, rhyming, unscrambling letters to spell simple words, recognizing sight words, reading short sentences, and more. Some directions are worded in the positive (Find the ____) and others are in the negative (Find all of the words that do NOT have ____). The app includes a nice variety of exercises, though a bit more emphasis could be placed on segmenting and blending sounds, since this is such an important and challenging skill. The sequence of introducing sounds, words and word families is good, and mirrors that which is used in many classrooms. The number of trials on each exercise is somewhat limited, with most having two or three examples for children to work through.

A few words and sounds are not pronounced as clearly as they might be, such as “pan” and “nip.” The /d/ sound is more like /da/ with a short A appended to it. The short E sound is nearly identical to the short I sound, and may confuse some learners. The app uses several actors’ voices, but there don’t seem to be any male voices, which might be a consideration for a future update. The app covers CVC, CCVC and CVCC pattern words, as well as the words that have vowels added to change from short to long sounds like pal to pail and mad to made. It would also be much nicer if the user-added words were incorporated into more activities.


The app uses wonderfully personable and cute characters to guide children through the exercises, and gives very clear directions to users. The games (except for the tracing activity) are in a drag-and-drop format or a tap format. Users earn coins for completing exercises, and spend them to play the next game, but I’m not sure most young children will be too excited about that feature. It might be a better idea to be able to use the coins to unlock a reward activity after playing for a certain amount of time or number of activities.

The app is very repetitive, with the exception of unlocking new activities as children progress through the levels. While some children will benefit from this, many may become bored. The background music is quite repetitive, as well, but there is an option to turn it off in the Parents’ Section.


This app definitely will help young children with early reading skills, such as those practiced in preschool and kindergarten. Learners with special needs will benefit, as well, as long as they don’t consider the app’s games and presentation to be “babyish.” The concern is that at least some children are likely to become bored with the repetitive format and not play with the game enough to reap the benefits of practicing the skills.

Child Friendliness

The Joy of Reading is very child-friendly. There are no in-app purchases and no outside advertising. All active links, social media links, email options and connections to the App Store are protected behind an effective parent gate. The Parents Section contains records of student performance (the time spent on each activity and which letters/sounds/clusters/words have been accessed), language and music settings, other apps by the developers, privacy policy, feedback form, and information about the educational underpinnings of the program, as well as suggestions for other activities that support the same kinds of learning. This section is quite involved and detailed, though, and could perhaps be improved by offering a shorter version with a summary for parents who don’t have time or inclination to read a thirty-page document.

The Joy of Reading is a simple and effective app that will help young learners practice important readiness and early reading skills.

Editor rating
Rated 4.5 stars