Are you wondering about when to start working on foundational reading skills with preschoolers? It’s never too early to start addressing the Big Ideas in beginning reading. Although students at this young age may not be ready for fluency practice or comprehension exercises, preschool is the perfect time to begin working on phonemic awareness (learning to hear and manipulate sounds in spoken words), the alphabetic principle (words are composed of letters that represent sounds), and oral language and vocabulary development. Preschool is a critical time at which students need to reach certain milestones in language and literacy acquisition. Students in this age group have a wide range of abilities, which should be stimulated and developed to lay a good foundation for the next developmental step.

Here are some iOS apps you can use as you teach these skills:

Phonemic Awareness

  1. Beginning Sound Interactive Game: Perfect for independent practice during center time, this app helps students learn to identify beginning sounds.
  2. HearBuilder – Phonological Awareness: This app gets to the heart of phonological awareness as students add and delete phonemes, segment and blend them, and identify rhyming words.
  3. Pocket Charts Rhyming: With this cute app, which looks like one of the pocket charts you’d hang in the front of your classroom, students sort words by identifying those that rhyme.

Alphabetic Principle

  1. Gappy Learns Reading: Students build words to help Gappy hop home. As Gappy hops, students hear the sound for each letter and then hear the whole word sounded out.
  2. Sky Fish Phonics: As they propel Skyfish through a maze, students learn to identify pictures that represent the words presented.
  3. Duck Duck Moose Reading: Students match letters with sounds to create words.

Oral Language and Vocabulary Development

  1. Learn with Homer: This app introduces vocabulary in songs, poems, and books.
  2. books (available as individual iOS apps): These eBooks, which include a child-friendly glossary with entries for each vocabulary word, are really wonderful for shared reading experiences. 
  3. Vocabulary and Grammar! Language Development Games: Students learn new words while helping an octopus find items to juggle.

These apps will go a long way toward preparing your students for formalized reading instruction. Also, for more ideas, check out the Top Picks lists Fun Foundations for PreK and Elementary and Resources for Beginning Readers.

"Sculpture" by wsilver. Used under a CC BY 2.0 license.

Ruth O.

I have been using technology in the classroom for over 20 years. I am a Microsoft Innovative Educator and an Edmodo Ambassador. I am ISTE NETS-T certified and am on the leadership team for ISTE's Ed Tech Coach Network. I promote classroom technology integration as a presenter at local, state, and national conferences.

In 20 years I have had quite a number of experiences working with a variety of students and teachers. I began my teaching career as a Reading specialist at a private school. I have worked in the private sector as an Educational Therapist with children who have special learning needs. I have worked in public school as a Reading specialist and Reading Facilitator (Literacy Coach). In my current position I help teachers to integrate technology in their lessons.

Ed.D - Educational Leadership, Regent University
M. Ed - Education, Regent University
B.S. - Computer Science, Hofstra University

Postgraduate Professional License - VA
Endorsements: Computer Science, Reading Specialist, Admin and Supervision PreK-12