Product Review of Reading is Fundamental
This is a website directed at kids under 5 from the well-known Reading is Fundamental organization, which works to inspire a love of reading in all kids. Young kids will find a collection of stories (animated books or videos of grown-ups reading books), songs and finger games, drawing tools (both online and printable coloring pages), some fun facts about animals, and a small collection of online games (some address early literacy skills like letter recognition; others are just for fun, like “Pop the Bubbles”). Content is divided into three sections: babies/toddlers, preschoolers, and grown-ups. Preschoolers also get to meet Riffy and Rita, twins who love to read (but don’t actually appear that much on the site). The grown-ups section features lists of recommended books, a song database, offline activity suggestions, and articles and videos on reading-related topics. Grown-ups can also sign up for an e-newsletter. The entire site is available in Spanish as well.
You can use Reading is Fundamental as inspiration for reading and exploring language and literature in class. Make sure to take advantage of the grown-ups section, which offers reading lists, tips for reading to kids, and offline activity suggestions. Kids may visit the site on their own during free play or if you want them to have fun interacting with books and literacy topics. You can also project the site for the whole class and follow along with the songs or finger plays, or simply show kids the animated books as an alternative to story time.
Appealing graphics and a mix of familiar and new songs, finger plays, and more will appeal to kids. Games are cute but are pretty simple (which works for the very young audience). The Explore section offers some fun facts about a few animals, but it isn’t a way to extensively explore the animal kingdom. The site shines most in its literary offerings; there’s a wonderful, warm message and general appreciation for reading and language that permeates throughout. Kids can visit Reading is Fundamental on their own to listen to videos and audio recordings of songs and books or play games, and clickable fields include audio when kids roll over them with their mouse. But this site works best when kids (especially the youngest ones) and grown-ups visit it together and explore the magical world of language and reading together.
Overall User Consensus About the App
Exciting books, cute characters, new and familiar songs and finger plays, and appealing graphics will certainly draw kids in. The really simple games are a bit less exciting, but will probably still capture little ones’ interest.
Curriculum and Instruction
There’s plenty of material to get kids excited about reading. Kids learn about language through songs, finger plays, and nursery rhymes, plus learn some early literacy skills with the games. Engaging books can inspire an interest in reading.
Navigation and use is easy. There are opportunities to print coloring pages and creations. Grown-ups will find a nice resource center with lots of information about reading, books, and offline activities.