Review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated January 2014
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Endless Reader: School Edition

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Animated sight word practice is tons of fun, lacks learning supports

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Character & SEL

Subjects
  • English Language Arts
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Pre-K-2
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

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5 images

Pros: Adorable animations liven up letters and demonstrate word meanings.

Cons: Letter sound pronunciations can mislead kids.

Bottom Line: Cute and fun sight word practice could offer more help with letter pronunciation and lacks teacher options.

Teachers who are looking for new and engaging ways to jazz up the sometimes boring task of teaching kids to memorize sight words will find Endless Reader a nice option. Give kids free reign to choose words to explore and let them take advantage of the exposure to sight words. Teachers should use the new option that requires kids to put letters together in the correct order to spell the target words (available in the settings menu). This will help accurately represent the relationship between letters and word formation. Kids will need to play individually to get the most out of interacting with the letters and words. However, there's no tracking or multiple account creation options, so teachers don't have a way to monitor progress or know which words kids have been working with.

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Endless Reader teaches young kids those all-important sight words. Words are organized in alphabetical order by level: Level 1 is for PreK-K; Level 2, K-2; and Level 3, grades 2-3. Kids choose a word from inside a monster's mouth, a group of monsters mess up the word's letters, and kids drag the letters back to their correct places (indicated by dotted outlines). Kids hear the letter's sound when they tap on it. Then, the target word is used in a sentence; once again, monsters knock the target word and other sight words out of place, and kids drag the words back in place. By tapping on the words, kids can hear them pronounced. Every action also results in a little animation. The school version provides 223 words in the first two levels; level 3, with 118 more words, will be available as a free download in late 2014.

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Endless Reader is certainly fun, and the graphics and animations make the words and letters come alive quite nicely. Kids get a lot of opportunities to tap on letters and words to hear them pronounced, which helps solidify the connection between the written word or letter and the sound it makes. Words also often get repeated as they show up in multiple sentences throughout the game. With the focus on single letter sounds rather than complete phonemes, though, kids can't deeply explore how to pronounce words. Letters aren't even always pronounced correctly for the target word (for example, y is pronounced "yuh" rather than the "ee" sound it makes in the target word funny). Some more game features would also be nice, such as the option to repeat the same word, create multiple accounts, track progress, choose which words to download (downloading them all can overload the memory on your device), or choose specific words to assign to kids. Though Endless Reader is an engaging app for learning vocabulary, it falls short for sight reading and phonics learning.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Cute monster-like characters engage kids with letters, words, and word meanings. Great animations make letters and words come alive.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

New words may not transfer effectively into usage due to confusion between phonetic sounds when dragging letters not matching with the word. Kids will explore the words on their own, but the challenge does not adapt based on performance.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Play is easily accessible and incredibly straightforward. Yet, there are no options to customize learning or track kids' progress, or tips for deeper learning such as connections to offline activities.


Teacher Reviews

(See all 1 reviews) (1 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Michelle O. , School district administrator
School district administrator
Erie 1 BOCES
West Seneca, NY
GREAT app for PreK students and beginning readers. My son plays this along with Endless ABC at age 2.

Again, great for PreK and beginning readers. They can match the letters and words.

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