So when I read the interest form for this iPad app, I was very excited. My young six year old can decode when he takes the time; but he’s not a confident reader. He also is very sensitive about me working with him, afraid of my disapproval or disappointment. The app, however, keeps each part very short (a minute, hence the name!) and sweet. He gets stars, points, and can see the progress he makes in various ways. PERFECT.
Which app? It is One Minute Reader, the iPad App. Here is the screen shot I took of the app store from my iPad (mini).
One Minute Reader is an iPad app based on Read Naturally’s proven reading program. There are six levels: emergent, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. As you can see on the screen shot above, there is a free version also. From it, you can have your child take the placement test so you know which levels of the program to use with each child. Each book of the program has five stories. You can get a full level, five books, for $19.99.
So what does One Minute Reader do?
First, it develops fluency by allowing the student to hear fluent reading at a pace reasonable for the child. Second, it allows the student to practice repeated reading with the material. Additionally, the app works on vocabulary and reading comprehension. And finally, the app gives the student visual feedback throughout.
Let me walk you through some of what my children practiced.
First, you open to the main screen and choose a story. There, the child does a “cold reading.” They’ve never seen the materials before and read. Below, you can see Swimmer clicking start to start his cold reading. At the end of one minute, the student is directed to click the last word he read. The first time Swimmer did it, he got 12 words which is, of course, very low. Again, I believe that is more because of his confidence level rather than his reading ability. This is even more reason, in my opinion, why Swimmer needs to be doing programs like this one! Anyway, regardless of the child’s words per minute, they get points added to their score for having done the work. Swimmer liked earning points!
Okay, so after the cold reading, the child goes to the next screen. There, he has two activities to do, both of which earns him more points. He can get definitions of certain words and he can have the material read to him. At first, Swimmer had a bit of trouble listening to the reading; but in time, he learned that doing so helped him progress. It may take a story or two for the child to get the point!
After the child listens to the story a few times as well as goes through the vocabulary, it is time for him to try to read again. Each time he reads, again, he earns more points. Additionally, at the bottom of the page, there is a section where it shows him his words per minute. When he is happy with his score or ready to move on, he can push the arrow at the bottom of the screen to get to this page which shows where he started and where he finished this session:
After this screen, the child goes to a screen that has comprehension questions. Here he also gains both points and letters towards the “Joke Jumble.” The next screen also has a crossword puzzle to work on (it includes questions from all of the stories).
What I like most about this app is that each session can be as long or short as you want it to be. If it isn’t a good practice time, you can do just a minute or two. If it is a great time, then you could spend 10 minutes or so on it.
I also love how it gives the child lots of feedback in terms of points, stars, progress words per minute, and the like. It is very motivating.
Of course, the part that makes the difference the most is the child’s confidence and reading ability. As I listened to my son read some of the stories, I was just amazed! Not only did he read the words correctly and at a nice pace, he also did so with inflection. For example, with Big Ben, he read, “So what is Big Ben?” stressing the word “is” as well as making it clear it was a question.
Sadly, I have to say there is one negative about the program. As we all know, kids sometimes rush through things when allowed to just play with things. Honestly, practicing reading as play would be a good thing in my book even if it is just a section or two done once or twice. However, with the One Minute Reading iPad App, once children get to the comprehension questions, they cannot go back to have the material read to them or for them to do another timed reading. And once you’re done with the section altogether (past the crossword puzzle, you can only get the score information unless you delete the previous data and do it over again). Now, I think it is fine to restart the reading from scratch. I just think it would be nice to be able to continue on the same reading regardless of whether you have completed it or partially did it through the comprehension questions in the past.
There is just one thing I’d like to add to this app if I could. I would love if they would have a version that we could add our own readings in, ideally including the vocabulary and reading comprehension also. If they had a version for us to do that, I’d buy it in a heartbeat as I really believe it could be awesome for our religion’s “school.” I would recommend it to all the other parents in our congregation! But I think other people would like it also. They could put segments of their reading assignments into it, do it based on interests, or even do it with readings for various subjects (history, music, science, etc).
I will definitely be rating this app well! I hope you enjoy it as much as we have! To see more reviews, click here.