Improving Reading and Writing Using iPads

Improving Reading and Writing Using iPads

The iPad has been widely used for fun and entertainment purposes but now it is also been increasingly used for learning. People are loving it for a more basic reason, it’s a great tool for reading and writing.

It can be used to keep up with the news, read longer articles and e-books, and write in both plain text and Microsoft Word. Although some parents are hesitant of using an iPad to teach their children and rather prefer to stick to the traditional paper and pencil, the iPad does offer several advantages over books and even computers and smartphones. The iPad can store multiple apps for reading and thus provide numerous levels of exercises as your child develops his or her reading skills. An iPad has a larger screen than a smartphone, allowing for a larger range of motion when tracing letters to practice handwriting. The size and portability of an iPad makes it easier to transport than a laptop or desktop computer. Perhaps most importantly, if used properly and efficaciously it has the potential to prepare your child for an increasingly technologically connected world.

James Harmon, an English teacher in Euclid, Ohio conducted a teacher-research study to measure the effect of iPad on the language test score of his students taking the annual Ohio graduation test. The results were published in a research paper titled, ‘Unlocking Literacy with iPad’. The findings presented in his paper comprised of state-compiled statistics which indicated that those students with iPad access in the year leading up to the test had a 6-percent greater chance of passing the test’s reading portion than those without, and an 8-percent greater chance of passing the writing portion. Harmon also had more students completing the journal assignments on the iPad, compared to his experience with using notebooks the previous year. These results convinced Harmon of the appropriateness of the iPad as a teaching tool, especially for improving the basic literacy skills of reading and writing. Another study carried out by researchers at Örebro University in central Sweden, found that young children using tablets such as the iPad are better at writing than their counterparts using pens and paper. The students were tested on both their reading comprehension and writing capabilities, and it was found out that those using tablets were much more comfortable with the challenge.

There are several apps for iPad that are designed to help children develop their literacy skills. These come in the form of interactive books and reading games designed to help children enjoy reading. Interactive books are a great place to start, as these get your child reading, while at the same time offer tips and guidance to help them improve. Learning to write and spell can be a boring process for your child, making it harder for them to master these key skills. The iPad’s touch screen technology means that children can also practice writing by learning to form the shapes of letters. The App Store offers a variety of apps that can help improve reading and writing skills. Some of these apps are listed below:

  • Read&Write: You can use this app to practice reading and writing letters. It provides a hands-on approach by allowing you to trace letters, learn letter sounds, and get illustrations to go along with each part of the alphabet.
  • abc PocketPhonics: It teaches children more than 170 frequently used words. The app plays a recording of a letter with the help of which the child has to find the letter out of a group of letters. More letters are pronounced for the child to build up a word using them. Additionally, abc PocketPhonics teaches how to write each letter by allowing children to trace the letter with their fingers.
  • iWriteWords: You can use this app to improve your handwriting and for writing words. The app offers 70 levels of both upper and lowercase letters, 20 levels of numbers and 26 levels of individual letter tracing for both upper and lowercase letters.
  • iBook: This app allows you to download and read books from the iBookstore, which features everything from contemporary bestsellers to classics. Apart from reading books, it also allows you to bookmark pages, add notes to passages, change font sizes and more. The latest version of the iBook offers a read-aloud feature in which a narrator reads the book to you.
  • Write About This: Is an app for teaching and practicing writing skills. It is suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities and provides hours of intensive practice. It is designed to encourage creative writing as well as prompting narrative and opinion pieces.
  • Reading Trainer: It improves your reading speed and retention rate with challenging and fun exercises. The app provides everything you need to read texts of all types faster, more effectively and with better retention. It also allows you to check your reading speed at any time using different reading tests from a variety of topics.
  • iTooch Language Arts: Is offered for each grade level. For example the ‘iTooch 7th Grade Language Arts’ offers several chapters and individual interactive exercises in reading, writing, grammar and vocabulary. Learners are assisted by the dictionaries that are included and are provided with hints, pictures and detailed explanations for each question asked throughout the lesson.
  • Sight Words for Reading HD: It helps children learn sight words, which are the most common and basic words in children's literature via videos that provide context and enhance comprehension and retention. Words are presented in context in fun videos, making it easy for learners to understand the meaning of the words, thereby improving reading comprehension. Learners can assess their learning by taking flash card quizzes after learning from the videos.

Share your ways of using an iPad to improve reading and writing skills in the Comment Box below.

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About the Author
Author: Saomya Saxena
Educational technology blogger, loves to research and write about tools and tips for educators on how to integrate technology into everyday instruction creatively and effectively. Fond of reading and writing.

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