Rhyme to Read by Rhyme to Read, LLC is an iPad only app designed to help your preschooler through early elementary aged student learn skills that will help them learn to read. The program which does include in-app purchases to purchase up to twenty books individually or via a bundle if you choose to buy them all at once. The app features word families with similar sounds (cat, sat, pat) and helps children to understand different reading patterns. Children should be able to recognize letters and understand how sounds go together before beginning the reading process. Each book builds upon the previous one, so if you enjoy using it you should buy the package via one in-app purchase rather than buying the volumes individually as they build upon each other. The app was originally a set of print books by Sarah Hines and Lynn Klairman, the cost of the print books was too expensive to maintain so they decided to turn them into an interactive app to help reach a wider audience. The books teach a variety of sight words and practice the previously learned sight word patterns as they progress within the series. At the end of each “book” you can see a list of sight words listed in the program thus far (which gets longer with each book) and then a list of word families that have been learned.
Rhyme to Read’s books are phonetical and teach word families which means that children learn patterning of words rather than sounding out each individual letter. For example, “at” is turned into “Pat”, “Cat”, “Rat” with just the first letter of the word changing. Each set of words is also color coded to help your children learn and remember word families “at” for example is blue and then as you advance within the app, new word families come up in new colors but the color for each stays consistent throughout the app.
I liked that each book built upon the previous one and focused on word families so the learning was carried throughout the app. The illustrations were simple but helped to get the point across and helped children focus in on the text. The stories within each book repeated and built upon a pattern and at the end of each book there was a list of pattern words. I took these words and made flashcards out of them to help my son better understand them and keep them fresh in his mind.
In terms of enhancements to the app, I would like to see a bit more interaction. Currently you can read the stories and see the visuals of the words, but my son required additional help including flashcards to help reinforce the learning. Many children may be able to understand the words the first time around, but I know my son needed a bit of extra help. I also wish there was a multi user mode so that the app can be used with multiple children which means that books later on won’t be unlocked until your child reaches them. It would also be nice if there was some sort of a “test” to ensure that your child has mastered the concepts before moving them on to a harder book.
If you are looking for an app to help an emerging or struggling reader, Rhyme to Read may be the key to your challenges. This app is very much parent and child focused and will require you to spend time with your child both in the app and outside to ensure that content is being mastered. I know in addition to reading within the app, I made flashcards as well as found other books to help my son with the concepts of the sight words we covered. This app is currently on sale for 30% off so I would encourage you to try out the free version and if you like it, purchase the pro version to work with your children. Trust me, you won’t regret helping them get these important early literacy skills.