Can anyone suggest what factors to look for in iPad apps for learning to read (English, native) at second grade level ? What are the recommended ways to locate such apps ?

The main factor that I consider important is that it should be as fun as possible - not just a fancy e-book. My son is in the first grade, but he has progressed to mid 2nd grade level. He will be away with my wife and her family for a couple of months this summer and will have missed 3 weeks of school when they come back. Getting him to read books at home has not been easy and he loves to play games on the iPad (when allowed, which isn't often) so some kind of fun game, that is focused on improving reading, is what I'm looking for.

  • Hello Peter, and welcome to the community! Specific product recommendations are off-topic so I closed your question. However, it would make sense to re-phrase your question into something like "What factors make iPad apps a good choice for first-graders?" Focus on the timeless why rather than on specific products that may not exist next year or on another platform. You could edit this question and then flag it for moderator attention, or post a new one if you prefer. Jun 11, 2012 at 11:44
  • @Torben Gundtofte-Bruun OK I have edited the question accordingly.
    – LeelaSella
    Jun 11, 2012 at 12:17
  • Good start! I would recommend that you expand the description a little: I assume you want English-language, but it's not evident. Is there a certain teaching style or other elements that are important to you? Jun 11, 2012 at 12:27
  • Torben Gundtofte-Bruun : Thanks, I have done as suggested.
    – LeelaSella
    Jun 11, 2012 at 12:36

2 Answers 2


Try text-based adventure games:

My first interactions on a computer was with a few text-based adventure games where my brother and I would have to read a paragraph and then type out some simple commands ("look floor") to get the next hint. Because English was not any of our primary languages, we spent a lot of time with a dictionary as well. Graphical adventure games (ooh, colors!) came later and still required a lot of reading and typing.

The entertainment factor of the game provided plenty of motivation to get over the hurdles of reading, understanding, interpreting, and trying solutions.

With this background, my first thought would be to google ipad adventure game and look for games that are suitable to the age range. many of the highest-rated results were actually top-10 lists with many promising titles.

If I were you, I'd look through those titles and consider these factors:

  • Does the game require reading?
    Obviously you will want to choose games that have written output (see a random example below) so you should avoid games that have spoken output. enter image description here

  • How much reading is involved?
    You will want to pick a game that has lots of text and not just the occasional word thrown in. For your purpose, the text needs to be the central carrier of the story - like a comic book. (Hey, there's another idea: comic e-books?)
    enter image description here

  • Does the game require typing?
    Depending on the challenge you want to present, a game requiring commands to be typed can be a great way to improve typing and thesaurus skills -- but perhaps games based on typed input are past era now?
    Many games have a point-and-click interface meaning that you can press a command from an on-screen list and then press the on-screen object you want to use with that command. enter image description here

  • Who is the intended audience?
    Some games are made for kids, some for teens, and some are decidedly adult. Make sure to check the description, and try the game yourself before you let Junior play.

I don't have an iPad so I don't really know what's "out there" but I'm sure that there's plenty to choose from - Lego Duplo, Smurfs, Marvel, and much more.

  • +1, Thanks, I hadn't thought of adventure games, but I will definitely look at them now !
    – LeelaSella
    Jun 11, 2012 at 20:24


Or, rather, interactive book apps. There are several books in the app store (rather than the iBook/iTunes store). It's not technically a game, but more of a game than your average book would be, so perhaps something that would get their attention.

Or, possibly, just standard iBooks. Just being able to read them on the iPad might make them interesting enough for your 2nd grader.

Ideally, though, he'll eventually find some actually book series he likes.

  • Could you elaborate on what features you look for when choosing children's ebooks/ibooks? Jun 12, 2012 at 7:50
  • I'm suggesting that if the kid likes games, maybe lean towards the interactive books (app form). As for me, the features I look for are: does my kid like it?
    – DA01
    Jun 12, 2012 at 14:02

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