Andy Helps You Read by Jordan Price is a new app developed by two dedicated teachers who have specialized in working with reluctant or challenged readers their entire career. Walt Waid and Jordan Price have put their heart and souls into sharing their expertise in the field by taking what worked in the classroom and reworking it into a convenient app. This app contains 20 lessons, all geared toward helping your child/student develop and build foundational reading skills. This app teaches children to focus, listen attentively, and to follow directions, these key skills are needed to become a successful reader. The app contains three different exercises: Word Practice, Flashing Practice, and Reading Practice.
Word Practice is a comprised of 20 lists, each with ten sight words, the words that very often can’t be sounded out and are the most frequently used in the English language. By using these foundational words, it ensures a child’s success by having them be able to automatically recognize these particular words and use them as a “connector” to new vocabulary. A child can read the word and tap for auditory reinforcement or if unable to read the word they can tap, listen and repeat to gain mastery. Sight words need to be learned by sight and this exercise is a great way to work on that skill quickly and regularly.
Next up is, Flashing Practice, this activity may appear simplistic and fun, and it is FUN! However, children are building visual discrimination, working memory, and spatial relations skills all which are essential for success in reading. In addition, these simple look, memorize, and reproduce activities help grow a child’s visual motor integration. It also provides an ideal way to work on impulse control, the emphasis given to self-regulation of when to start and when to stop helps the struggling reader. The format is to look, memorize, then when the shape disappears replicate from memory with a drawing. When you finish the ten actions a screen appears and compares your drawings to what you had seen. This combination of exercises helps in developing a temporal timeline.
Lastly is Reading Practice, a passage is displayed and children can read along with it as each highlighted work is read. Unfortunately, the voice is computerized and has no intonation or expression that is necessary for advancing reading comprehension. After the passage, a number of questions are asked using the sight words from the Word Practice lists to complete sentences using the connecting words for a fill in the blank type exercise. Using these connector words can be a very valuable lesson as they make up for 75% of reading.
Andy, the mascot of the Andy Helps You Read Program acts as the narrator and although he has little to do with the activities he is an endearing character and the kids we worked with were all delighted by his presence, he has establishes a personality through the voice of teacher Jordan Price, a happy facial expression, and his encouraging messages. There are two tutorial videos included with Andy Helps You Read to explain to parents, teachers and students how to use this reading program.
- Passages need to be read by a real person
- Title should be read as an introduction
- Passages could start out shorter and be leveled down to help young readers
- The addition of comprehension questions would enhance the depth of the reader’s experience