App review by Sandy Wisneski, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2019
HOMER Stories: Kids Library
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HOMER Stories: Kids Library

Entertaining stories offer handy extensions to HOMER Reading

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Grades
Pre-K–2 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, English-Language Learning

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Pros: 200+ interactive and animated stories/songs.

Cons: Activities and stories lack focus on comprehension; library isn't as big as some competitors'.

Bottom Line: This versatile, story-based companion app to HOMER Reading connects kids to the written word and shines best as a supplement.

The HOMER Stories library offers 200+ interactive and animated stories/songs covering topics for all interest areas. Teachers and parents will find the selection helpful for connecting their young readers to the joy of the written word. Teachers can have kids read selections alone or follow along with a narrator. Some stories feature interactive elements, like asking kids to select animals in a zoo or dress an astronaut in space. Teachers could roam around and engage kids in discussion about the stories they're reading and the activities they're doing, or connect them to related nonfiction content to build on students' budding interests. Stories cover 24 different topics, including classics like Stone Soup and Harry the Dirty Dog, so kids are likely to find something appealing. 

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HOMER Stories: Kids Library is a reading app offered as a supplementary, story-focused experience to the app HOMER Reading: Learn to Read. Subscribers to HOMER Reading get access to HOMER Stories, and access to four separate profiles. Teachers take note: Subscriptions to HOMER are free for teachers. The focus in HOMER Stories is exclusively on building a love of reading, via 200+ interactive books, songs, and stories. Topics cover a range of interests including science, history, sports, and nursery rhymes. Kids can hear stories read aloud or practice reading and fluency independently. 

HOMER Stories works well for engaging and connecting readers to books, with some personalization and interest-based learning. Kids can read stories alone using the read-along option, or parents and teachers could use the stories for deeper conversation on comprehension. Unfortunately, there's nothing built into the program that offers this deeper learning, however. Still, this is a good platform for building passionate readers, especially when taken as a whole (HOMER Reading and Stories combined). Stories cover a wide range of topics and are high quality, which can be the biggest hurdle for teachers looking to get a whole classroom of readers interested. There's a nice balance between quality and quantity, and while some competitors succeed at both, many lean one way or the other. The animated and interactive story elements add some extras that'll grab and hold students' attention, and there are clear audio and visual prompts throughout. In this way, HOMER offers a worth-considering platform for building reading habits for young kids.

 

 

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

The wide variety of interactive stories and songs will grab kids' interest, connecting reading to fun; however, other apps offer a larger library.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Stories and songs in the app vary reading experiences. They cover a wide genre of topics and model reading fluency, but not comprehension.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

Kids get guided through the selections with voice commands and arrow cues. Icons and symbols are simplified for ease of use.


Common Sense reviewer
Sandy Wisneski Classroom teacher

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