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Your Smartphone is Your Gateway to Improving Literacy

    Did you know that September is Literacy Awareness Month? If you can read, you do now! :)


    According to StaticBrain’s latest data (from 2016), 14% of U.S. adults can’t read at all or are below the basic level. Literacy is a gift that helps people find, access and evaluation information to improve their health, relationships, education, workplace and environment.


    Reading is a core aspect of today’s elementary, middle and high school curriculum, but anyone with a connected smartphone can use any of these free apps* to help your child (or an adult)  tackle most challenges:

    • Starfall Learn to Read – Each numbered section features a vowel sound and its related spelling. Aspiring readers will hear, touch and read sound-spelling through a variety of engaging activities, movies, and songs. Readers can come to recognize the relationship between spoken and written language while having fun learning to read.
    • Endless Reader – This app introduces "sight words", the most commonly used words in school, library, and children's books. Kids and adults need to recognize these words by sight in order to achieve reading fluency.
    • Learn to Read: Monkey Junior - Monkey Junior offers a comprehensive reading program for babies, toddlers and preschoolers to learn to read with thousands of well-structured lessons in different levels and in multiple languages. Each lesson lasts from 7 to 10 minutes and readers can learn one or more lessons each day.


    According to the National Education Association, 26 percent of children who were read to three or four times in the last week by a family member recognized all letters of the alphabet. This is compared to 14 percent of children who were read to less frequently. So pick up that book or log in to that online library and make reading to your child a daily activity!


    And for those who already know how to read, but also LOVE catching a short work, escaping into an adventure novel, or giggling to silly story, or can’t get enough of celebrity biographies, there are plenty of free apps to help you find the perfect book (in paper or to read on your device). You can get books via Amazon Kindle, Nook and Audible, but there are a few other apps that specialize in specific types of books, like:

    • Epic! Unlimited Books for Kids – A children’s ebook library offering unlimited access to over 15,000 high-quality children’s books (more added weekly) that can go with you anywhere. Features include audio-enabled “read-to-me” books, customized child profiles, personalized book recommendations for each child, and online and offline reading. The app is free, but you’ll need a subscription to access the full Epic! library.
    • DC Comics – DC Entertainment is one of the largest English-language publishers of comics in the world, featuring a wide variety of characters and genres.
    • Great Jones Street – New short stories debut daily, with thousands of curated free award-winning short fictions for every sitting. Need a 1-minute horror story? Check. Crave a 6-minute romance? Got that, too. All types, all sizes, by hundreds of contemporary writers.


    If you or someone you know is struggling with reading as an adult or are learning English as a second language, check with your local library and/or college for resources available to you. Also, organizations like The National Literacy Directory and the National Coalition for Literacy, are a great start to find help or volunteer to help others.



    *All the apps listed in this post are free, available on Android and iOS, and have been rating 4+ stars by multiple reviewers.