App of the Week: Endless Reader spells fun for preschoolers

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It’s increasingly easy for young kids to pick up a phone or tablet and get sucked into an interactive experience, so why not accelerate their reading abilities in the process?

maptuneThat’s the concept behind Endless Reader, the latest in a series of apps from Originator Inc. that use interactive graphics, fun characters and wacky audio cues to help preschoolers get a head start on reading fundamentals.

The magic of the Endless Reader app is the ability for kids to feel like they’re playing a game — first assembling a word by dragging the letters into place, then putting together a sentence using that word, and finally hearing the sentence read aloud to them by the app, along with an accompanying scene featuring a cute monster.

kiroradioApp of the Week is a regular feature of the GeekWire radio show and podcast, airing every weekend on KIRO-FM (97.3) in Seattle. Listen to this week’s segment below, or via this MP3 file.

Along the way, lighthearted music and audio features help kids sound out the words and learn their letters.

The app itself is a free download, with six words included. To go further, parents need to purchase additional “reader packs,” starting at $4.99 each for a pack of 20 words, or $11.99 for a four-pack.

In our testing at home, the app is so engaging that parents will probably be tempted to just hand it to their kids and let them use it on their own. But for maximum value it’s better to follow the advice of our recent GeekWire radio guest, Blue’s Clues creator Angela Santomero, and participate yourself — using this and other apps as another way to engage with your kids.

Endless Reader is available for iPhone and iPad.

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