Andy Helps You Read offers focused reading help for kids with ADHD, dyslexia, and special needs. While not as flashy as many early reading programs, the app does a solid job of helping kids learn how to read. The 20 lessons combine word recognition, letter formation, and reading practice opportunities to give kids a strong background in many of the fundamentals required to help them learn to read.
- 20 reading lessons
- Word practice
- Flashing practice
- Reading practice
- Developed by teachers
When kids first open the app, they’re prompted to tap on “Andy’s Helpers,” to get started. This short video tutorial features kids explaining how to use the app and offering their takeaway. It’s a solid way to introduce kids to the different components of the app. Parents are directed to the “Parent’s Place” where the creators of the app outline the overall structure of the app. This helps parents understand how the app is designed and how the design helps kids learn to read. It’s easy for kids to access the lessons. When they do, they’ll see three different activities: Word Practice, Flash Practice, and Reading Practice. The Reading Practice features narrated texts, but the narration could be improved by using an actual human voice rather than a computer. Each activity is also accompanied by calming piano music which kids can easily turn off.
The creators of the app have put a lot of thought into the app and they take the time to explain their thought process to parents. With an initial purchase of the app, kids can go through the first five lessons in any order. Parents can then opt to purchase the additional lessons through a bundle. Each lesson contains three different sections: Word Practice, Flash Practice, and Reading Practice.
In the Word Practice section, kids see a common word, and then tap on it to hear it. This section largely relies on kids to motivate and practice the words themselves. The goal is simply to help kids learn to read and pronounce common sight words.
The Flash practice section shows kids different lines and letters to help add a visual component to reading. This is one of the most entertaining sections and one of the best sections for kids with special needs. Kids see an object or series of letters or numbers on the screen and must copy what they see from memory. After kids have drawn a series of images, they can compare what they drew with the actual images. Kids can then go back and try to improve upon what they just did. If they did well, they can increase the speed to challenge themselves more.
In the Reading Practice section, kids read along with a short, high-interest text, and then answer some cloze reading style questions at the end. All of the activities move at a good speed for beginning readers and are designed to help kids feel successful from the beginning. The only real downside to the app is that the narrator for the reading passages is just a computerized voice, so a lot of the inflections and emotion that could help kids understand unfamiliar words is absent from the narration. This leads to a few awkward sentences.
This app is designed to be more educational than entertaining. However, the app does have some entertaining components of its own. The entertainment factor starts with Andy the Airplane flying around as kids move through the different lessons and the calming piano music that sits in the background. It continues with the high-interest reading passages and the positive reinforcement kids receive when they fill in a blank correctly during the cloze reading activity. One of the most entertaining activities is the flashing word practice. Kids can choose from three different speeds and must draw the shape, numbers, or letters that they see. The faster the speed, the faster they have to process the image before it disappears.
This app is priced comparably to similar apps. Contained within the app are quality reading passages and lessons that prove to be highly beneficial to kids. It also offers plenty of unique opportunities to help kids practice their writing skills and word recognition skills. An initial purchase gives kids access to the first five lessons. Parents can purchase lessons 6-20 as part of a bundle. While the price of the bundle is higher than the initial price of the app, parents get a lot of good content. They’ll also know by that point whether or not the purchase will benefit their children.
All of the content in the app is child friendly. Kids can access the Parent’s Place and hear how the app is designed to help them, but they likely won’t sit through the entire video. The app also offers a short video tutorial that features actual kids to help motivate them to use and enjoy the app.
- NO external links
- NO social media
- NO 3rd party ads
- YES in-app purchase (protected)
Andy Helps You Read Offers a thorough and thoughtful approach to reading instruction for kids with special needs.