The problem with the vast number of blogs, Facebook posts and tweets that I read about apps is that sometimes I forget where I heard about a particular app first, which is a shame as I always like to credit my sources. But in this case I simply can’t remember how I heard about Endless Reader (affiliate link). I somehow came across it about a week ago, and downloaded it onto the geekson’s iPad. Now I don’t try to encourage my kids to play with particular apps – I prefer to just sneak the apps onto their iPads and wait to see how long it takes for them to (a) spot them and (b) start playing. This does give me a problem when I’m trying to get them to review a specific app, but I think it gives me a better idea of what they really do and do not like.
It turns out that the geekson REALLY likes Endless Reader. I have never seen him so obsessed with an iPad app EVER! He absolutely loves it, so much that it had to be the next app for me to tell you all about…
Endless Reader was released on November 21st by the team at Originator, who have also produced Endless Alphabet and Sesame Street’s Monster at the End of This Book. It aims to teach children who are learning to read some of the most commonly-used words in books. The app is free to download, and this will give you access to the first 6 words. You can unlock the remaining 20 words via an one-off in-app purchase of £1.99. Through some cunning planning there is one word that starts with each letter of the alphabet. It sounds like the plan is release further word packs via in-app purchase in the future.
Navigation in the app is very simple – an initial carousel type screen to select the word you want to work with, and then a second screen where a team of mischievous monsters make a mess of the letters and it’s your job to put them back together again. An outline is left to give your young reader a chance, they just have to drag each letter back into the right place. As you press on each letter it makes its phonic sound, then when it is dropped in place the narrator says its name. The one downside to this app is that the narrator speaks with an American accent, so whilst the phonics and letter names are in British English (yes, she says “zed” instead of “zee”), her pronunciation of the words is still American – hence my son has started asking for a glass of “warder” instead of water.
Once all the letters have been dragged into the correct place there is a cute little animation, and then the child has the option to either return to the carousel to pick a new word or to move on to a sentence using the word they’ve just made. If they choose the sentence option they are shown (and read) the sentence, then the monsters dislodge some of the words for the child to put back in the right place. This time when you drag a word it is spoken in an amusing way (I particularly love the way the word “can” is sung to the tune of the can-can!), and when it is dropped in place the narrator speaks it correctly. When the sentence has been put back together there is another cute animation and the sentence is read again.
The geekson has been playing with this app to the exclusion of everything else on his iPad for the last week, and I am already seeing his literacy improve as a result. Today in the supermarket he was pointing at letters all over the place and making the right letter sounds for them. Endless Reader (affiliate link) is a high quality, education app, just let down a little for me by the American narrator – I’d give it 5 stars if it wasn’t for that. It’s a Universal app, so it will run on whatever iOS devices you have – iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The good news is that it only requires a minimum of iOS 5 to run, so it will happily play on your original iPad. It’s free to try, so I recommend downloading it and giving it a whirl, and if you like it I think £1.99 is a perfectly reasonable price to pay to unlock all the content. It’s certainly worth it with the amount the geekson has been playing! This app is categorised as being suitable for ages 5 and under in the Kids section of the App Store, and I’d agree with that rating – it’s perfect for the three-and-a-half year old geekson.
Android and Kindle Fire users, sorry this app isn’t available on your platform at the moment, but it’s predecessor Endless Alphabet is, which shows that originator are a developer making their apps available on all platforms. I hope this means you won’t have too long to wait.
Disclosure: Links to the Apple App Store in this post contain my affiliate information – if you make a purchase after clicking I will receive a small commission. They are clearly marked as (affiliate link).