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Send Students on a Trip With Reading Train

By Kristine Kidder
 | Oct 20, 2015

reading trainIt’s clear that today’s students are comfortable using technology to read. Last year, my class of first graders had only my iPad to use, but we used it a lot in the beginning of the year because that is when my children like to read with help.

Two years ago, I was asked if I would be willing to try the app Reading Train and I was more than willing to try something that helps children read. This simple, free app (there are additions available for purchases within the app) gives students support while reading, for instance, if the student comes across a word he or she does not know, the student clicks on the word. The app brings up the word and a definition of the word, which can be read to the student. Children do not have to stop and ask for help with a word. They are completely independent when using this app.

I introduce this app at the beginning of the year, but my first graders want to continue using it throughout. It is the number one app they ask for, no matter what reading level they are on. They love the music they can listen to after they have read a story.

The stories are very simple, but that is what the children need at the beginning when learning to read. I like that the books also have varied concepts dealing with math and science. Some stories may be about shapes or numbers, whereas others tell about life science or physical science concepts like loud and soft or sink and float. Of course, there are animal stories and Earth and space stories, too.

A quiz is administered at the end of each story, and the children love this part. They need to find a word to put in a box, or find words that go together, or they need to put words together to make a sentence. Once the quiz is finished, the children can choose a song. Because the lyrics are there, the children love to listen to the songs and sing along.

This year so far, I have two iPads. I have the Reading Train on both iPads. We are supposed to get more iPads, and I will be downloading this app onto all of them. I have many students requesting the iPad so they can use the Reading Train. I can’t wait to have the rest of the iPads so more children can use this app and not have long to wait.

I definitely recommend this app. Even though it is for the beginning readers, my more capable readers like to use this app. Not only can the students listen to the book, but also they can read by themselves or even record themselves reading the book. This is one app my first graders beg to use.

Kristine Kidder has been a teacher for more than 30 years. She currently teaches first grade in Newport, NH, but has experience in the second and third grades, as well.


1 comment

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  1. Debbie Dadey | Oct 21, 2015
    Sounds great, I will mention it in my Nov. newsletter.

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