Reading Without Tears: Use the iPad to Encourage Reluctant Readers

If your child has a meltdown when it’s time to “drop everything and read,” consider using the iPad to build good reading habits and to help your child find content that interest him.

Of course parents can tell a child that “there’s no iPad until you’ve done your reading.” And, there are many, many high-quality kids book appsavailable that encourage children to read, for some kids reading remains a chore.

Look for apps which, while they aren’t books, still require reading. Let your child watch BrainPop with the mute button on, so he has to read along on his own. Not only are there iPad apps for BrainPop’s Featured Movie and BrainPop Jr.,which are free to download, but many schools offer free full access to their students. If your child’s school doesn’t subscribe to BrainPop consider a BrainPop explorer membership. For $1.99 per month a subscriber can watch the featured movie as well as the 3 to 4 related movies. It’s less expensive than full access, which costs $6.99 per month. Since each clip is about four minutes long, that’s close to 20 minutes of reading each day that doesn’t feel like reading.


Make reading more like a game. Two titles that might appeal to reluctant readers are the “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure”-style books Brush of Truth ($1.99) and Treasure Kai and the Lost Gold of Shark Island ($1.99). We covered Underground Kingdom, another title that plans to us this model, and should be available for purchase by November 2012. These titles gamify the process of reading, and will help quell the frustrated child’s cry that “reading is boring.”


Work more reading into a child’s play time. Encourage your child to play with apps that require reading and build vocabulary. Mad Libs (free – $3.99) brings the classic (and hilarious) pen and pencil game to the iPad. Brainquest for iPad (free – $9.99) delivers the same entertaining quizzes found in its question packs. The Desksplorers series appeals to adventurous 7 to 11 year-olds, currently has 5 available seasons, the first of which is free to try, while the others are sold separately for $2.99 each. All three of these apps also give parents a chance to share screen time with their kids, which both the parent and child should enjoy.


Track a child’s progress. No matter how much a kid loves to read on the iPad, there are times when he still reads an old-fashioned printed book. Use the Scholastic Reading Timer (free) so your child can log the time he spends reading each day. The app also includes booklists and articles that make it easier to find books that your child will enjoy.




Do you have a reluctant reader at home? Do you use the iPad as a tool to make reading time run smoothly? Share your tips in the comments.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Creative Donkey.

About Emily: Emily is a freelance writer who loves discovering new apps whenever she can pry the iPad away from her children or husband. You can contact her via Twitter: @whatwentwrite

  • Sergey Karchmit

    poor grammar, but I agree with your point.