Common Sense Review
Updated November 2013

Reading is Fundamental: Leading to Reading

Teachers and kids explore the wonderful world of reading together
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Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 5
  • The site is a reading-related activity collection targeted to preschoolers.
  • An animated book about the silly things that happen when animals play Telephone.
  • The preschool game collection includes some literacy games, a counting game, and some games just for fun.
  • Videos present new and familiar and finger plays.
  • There are lots of offline activity suggestion in the "grown-ups" section.
Pros
Promoting a positive relationship with reading, the site is overflowing with appealing graphics, books, and activities.
Cons
Actual book offerings for kids to explore online are limited.
Bottom Line
This delightful collection of online books, activities, games, and songs for the preschool set works best when shared with a grown-up.
Mieke VanderBorght
Common Sense Reviewer
Researcher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

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. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

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.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

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.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

You can use Leading to Reading 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.

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What's It Like?

Leading to Reading 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.

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Is It Good For Learning?

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 Leading to Reading 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.

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Lesson Plans