Reading with Our Kindergartener on the Kindle

by jessicaturner on September 12, 2014

Kindle for a Kindergartener Learning Sight Words

Sometimes I still can’t believe that Elias is in kindergarten. It seems like we were just bringing him home from the hospital.

But here we are. Kindergarten. Elias has transitioned into kindergarten with great ease. He loves his school, teacher and classmates. He is doing well with the routine and very happy.

We are so grateful.

One of the transitions that we have made at home is that we are working on reading every. single. night.

Letter sounds.

Sight words.

Nightly reading (no skipping!)

Books, books, books.

Kindle for a Kindergartener Learning Sight Words

I was tickled when the kind folks at Staples offered to send us a Kindle Fire to use for reading with Elias. We are huge Amazon users in our house, so having a device that syncs with our Amazon account is incredibly convenient.

Kindle for a Kindergartener Learning Sight Words

Elias loves tablets and when we told him we were getting a Fire to help with his reading, he was over the moon. The Kindle fire is the perfect size for a young child and the image quality is fantastic.

We love the BOB books and discovered that they are offered for both Kindle and Android – win!

A few other sight word/early learning apps that we have downloaded:

  • Abby Sight Words Games and Flash Cards (free)
  • Kids Phonics ($1.99)
  • Phonics Island: ABCs, Phonics and Letter Sounds (free)
  • Preschool and Kindergarten Learning Games (free)

Kindle for a Kindergartener Learning Sight Words

The apps have really brought the words to life for Elias. It is such an incredible joy to see the wheels in his mind turning as he practices sounds, sight words and new combinations of letters.

Kindle for a Kindergartener Learning Sight Words
I loved his face when he looked up at me grinning over reading and spelling the word C-A-T.

What is especially fascinating to me is how much Adeline is also interested in learning with the Fire. She is already trying to sound out words with her big brother.

I’m curious, what has worked for helping your children learn to read? Apps? Flash cards? Old fashioned books? A combination of all those things? We are open to new ideas.

Disclosure: Staples sent our family a Kindle to facilitate this post. All thoughts are my own. 



{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie September 12, 2014 at 5:31 am

I’m actually not a huge fan of reading apps for either the classroom or home. We use good old fashioned flash cards and games and decodable books with Sarah and Will. And lots of writing. It is interesting to see how much spillover instruction the younger children get, and how much they pick up from older sibs.

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jessicaturner September 12, 2014 at 5:37 am

YES to the spillover! :) I bought some index cards this week to make flash cards this weekend. And I didn’t mention workbooks, but we love them. I’m such a paper girl, but some of the apps we have discovered are a fun way to “trick” Elias into learning. He thinks he’s getting play time on the Kindle (which he is), but he’s also learning. I think a mix of it all is what will work best for him.

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Julie September 12, 2014 at 7:16 pm

Also, I don’t want to give anyone the false impression that we are screen-free at our house. You’re totally right about striking a balance and knowing what works for each child. The reason I don’t use reading apps is because my kids don’t use them in such a way that they get any sort of educational benefit, even though I’m sitting right there.

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Anna Hettick September 12, 2014 at 6:24 am

This is a great idea. My kids are older but I know that if we would’ve had tablets when they were young we would have been using them to help their reading too.

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Cara September 12, 2014 at 8:30 am

I know your kids seem to be pretty heavy users of screens/technology – but I’m also not a big fan of it for kids this young. We’re strict in our family about no TV or screens at all until age 3 (I believe the Academy of Pediatrics rec) and because they then don’t get addicted to it, it has made it very easy to continue on a very limited basis. The NY Times just had a great article yesterday about how Steve Jobs and many other tech executives use similar rules in their own homes. They’ve seen first hand how addictive screens can be and used them on a very limited basis with their own children. Reading is AWESOME – but for us we’ve found success with doing it the old fashioned way.

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jessicaturner September 12, 2014 at 9:31 am

I absolutely agree that limiting screen time (even for educational use) is important and something that we abide to in our home.

The Academy of Pediatrics guidelines say for children over age 2 to limit screen time to 1-2 hours a day. Most days we are definitely in line with this – even with using devices like the Kindle!

For our family, our kids generally get about 30-45 minutes in the morning and usually some family screen time at night (Wheel of Fortune or “The Letter Show” as my kids call it is a favorite). Coloring, playing, baking and lots of other activities also fill our days/nights.

And nothing can replace reading regular “old fashioned” books, which we also do nightly. With both parents as authors, our kids lives are FILLED with books. :)

Sorry if this post or others gave you the wrong impression.

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Danielle Smith September 12, 2014 at 9:13 am

Jessica – I love this. I love it because I know how beautifully you are balancing your children’s use of technology and traditional book reading. This is simply another ‘tool’ in your tool box when it comes to teaching your children and watching the joy explode on their little faces as they learn. How exciting to let them do some of it on their own. My kiddos (as you know) are 8 and 10 and I am happy to say we’ve done a pretty good job of juggling both – technology/apps and books they hold, love and devour. It isn’t unusual to hear them begging to stay up to read (with a book in their hands) but they also LOVE reading, learning and exploring on technology. They don’t have a Kindle now, but I know it is in their future. You keep doing what you are doing with those sweet ones – it looks to me like you are balancing it perfectly.

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jessicaturner September 12, 2014 at 9:36 am

Yes, thank you for this Danielle. The Kindle is absolutely a tool. It isn’t the only one and may not be right for everyone, but we are loving it for our family. :)

Love watching how you parent your kids and am encouraged how these first steps help to foster a life-long love of books!

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KAYLA AIMEE September 12, 2014 at 3:05 pm

We have the Kindle Freetime Unlimited for the Fire and I LOVE it – check it out, it’s like $3 a month or something and I can set the limits on what Scarlette can do – so I can disable video content so she can only do learning apps and books and I can set a time limit as well, like 15 minutes of reading and 15 minutes of apps and then it turns itself off. We are really strict about screen time in our house so for us a learning activity on the kindle replaces a lot of television. I think balance is the key for every family and you do it well :)

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Nurse Bee September 12, 2014 at 3:59 pm

My oldest daughter (also in Kinder) has a set of flash cards sent home by her teacher for sight words that we are using. We don’t have any sort of tablet for home use, although my mom has an ipad that the kids fight over when we are at their house. This morning I was reviewing the sight words with my oldest and my 3 year old insisted she get her turn, so I think our younger one will learn along with her big sister!

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Candice September 12, 2014 at 5:10 pm

I’m sure you’re doing an excellent job monitoring your kids’ screen time, and I’m sorry you have to prove otherwise. Technology isn’t going anywhere, and it’s so great you’re showing them how to use it for good! I love what you said about “tricking” him into doing more learning even though he thinks he is playing. Perfect!

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DEBBIE September 12, 2014 at 11:06 pm

LOVE that you are blending old with new technology….and yes Adeline will just be a sponge along the way. Everything in moderation. BTW love that little face smiling up with the fire. It’s just great to have a new item to continue the education whatever the tool !!

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Ally September 13, 2014 at 8:26 am

I noticed a lot of these comments started commenting on screen time…but to get back to your original question of what to use to help children read..I am a Kindergarten teacher and we use a balance of technology, books, games and sensory. This week we used home-made play dough to start spelling our sight words, I had them use the play dough on a piece of laminated paper with the capital letter A and the lowercase letter a they were to form the letter Aa with their play dough and when paper is laminated they can then write on it with dry-erase markers and it will erase so then they practiced writing. We will write letters and our sight words in shaving cream, I also created a memory game for them with their sight words a (picture and the word or two words). Also, not sure if you’ve heard of do a dot markers they are awesome for one-to-one correspondence and I also had them look for letters a-f on a paper filled with several letters and they would dot the letters (it is the first week of school up here in the NE, so we are evaluating where everyone is at and starting out easy) I will beginning to do some higher level activities within the next few weeks with these tools. Rhyming is the first step to reading so read books that rhyme! (Also, check Pinterest for great ideas to help with reading and also teacherspayteachers is a great resource- some of their stuff is free others they’ll have you pay- I usually look for the free stuff)

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Jules M September 14, 2014 at 7:29 pm

This is great that he is so excited about reading. There seem to be so many more options than when my kids were younger. My daughter really wanted to read before most kids have an interest. She would seek out anything as we were driving & tell us the letters & then what the words were once she could do them. One of my favorite things that we had found was the flash cards in the dollar spot at Target. I would punch holes in them & put them on a ring. Those were our fun thing in the car. The ring kept them together. We used all of the different kinds that they had – letters, numbers, words, addition, places in the world, animals – there were so many different kinds. Keep those little ones interested in reading!

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