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Endless Reader app review

endless reader menuFrom Originator (formerly Callaway Digital Arts), developer of the fantastic Endless Alphabet, comes Endless Reader (November 2013).

Endless Reader closely follows the format and style of the previous app. A narrator speaks a sight word — such as all, eat, on, up, or you — as it appears in lowercase letters on the screen. A stampede of cute monsters scatters the letters, which the user places back into the correct order to spell the word. The narrator then reads a context sentence (this time with the invitation to put the words in the correct order after the whole sentence appears on the screen), followed by a brief, funny animation explicating the sentence. Animations and the reading of words or sentences by the narrator may easily be replayed; the main menu allows the user to scroll backwards or forwards through the alphabet to revisit favorite (or challenging) words.

endless reader cake

Clever visual and auditory clues to the words’ meanings (can sings to the tune of that infamous can-can tune, Offenbach’s “Infernal Galop”; ball makes an onomatopoeic bouncing sound; the d in dog has a face with panting tongue and floppy ears) help increase comprehension and retention. Basic phonemes are covered many times in the selected words, which themselves reappear throughout the app in context sentences. The sentence for all, for example, is really a three-for-one deal: “Pinkerton gobbled up all of the cookies!” As in the app’s predecessor, this subtle repetition helps to solidify learning.

The friendly monsters and goofily personified letters introduced in Endless Alphabet squeak, giggle, grump, and cheer their way through the app. Along with stylish illustrations (with a cut-paper look), silly sound effects, and a personable narrator, these characters provide new readers with an engaging and palatable way to practice.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 5.0 or later). The free preview offers one word beginning with each letter A through F; download “reader packs” of twenty words for $2.99 each. Recommended for preschool and primary users.

Katie Bircher About Katie Bircher

Katie Bircher, associate editor at The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons College. She served as chair of the 2018 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committee. Follow Katie on Twitter @lyraelle.

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