Of all the intellectual milestones that occur in a child’s life, learning to read is often the one that parents worry about the most. While kids naturally learn to talk and interact with their surroundings, reading is a learned skill that requires both patience and practice in order to perfect.
Eager to provide their children with a head start, more and more parents are investing in products and tools that claim to help infants “read” sooner. But, even as our expectations increase, current brain development research shows that, on average, children simply don’t have the cognitive power needed for reading until around age 5. What’s more, expecting too much from your child at too early of an age could frustrate them to the point of turning them off of reading for good.
Of course, that’s not to say you shouldn’t encourage your growing child to participate in reading activities. Now’s just not the time to focus all of your attention on phonetics. First things first, they need to learn how letters and words work. In short, they must develop what educators call “concepts about print.”
Concepts about print provide little readers with a foundational understanding of text. From the awareness that print on a page carries a message, to directionality (left to right, top to bottom), punctuation and capitalization, there’s a lot for little minds to master before they can begin reading basic sentences. Help your child grasp these important literacy understandings through guided hands-on experiences with reading in our upcoming interactive application Busytown Mysteries.
Digital Concepts About Print
Concepts about print have always played an important role in the development of digital story experiences here at Loud Crow. In fact, all of our apps, including our upcoming Busytown Mysteries release, feature a number of pre-reading strategies that help to portray how print and text “works” within the context of a story. These tools include:
- Three Different “Reading” Modes
Little learners can experience Busytown Mysteries in one of three modes: they can watch and read as the story auto-advances on the screen; they can swipe to read the story at their own pace; or they can opt to turn the narration off and read the dialogue themselves.
- Word Highlighting
Loud Crow’s signature word highlighting feature has received a colorful upgrade in our new Busytown Mysteries release, thanks to character-specific color-coding. Distinguishing character discourse by color is a simple way to help children wrap their minds around the concept of dialogue and on-screen interaction. This, along with the use of ancillary speech bubbles, helps children clearly understand which characters are speaking which lines of text.
- Touch-to-speak Technology
Pointing to words while reading aloud is a basic teaching technique that helps reinforce the idea that the story is being told through these letters on the page. This concept is not readily apparent to a child unless it is clearly articulated to them. Our touch-to-speak technology is designed to reinforce the importance of print, as well as teach children new words and sounds.
- Finger Swipe Tutorials and Instructions
Each “page” of the app includes a visual tutorial that instructs children on how to advance the narrative. As with a book, this helps children realize that there is more to come in the story and that they must move forward in order for the scene to progress.
Concepts about print are fundamental understandings that support reading acquisition – whether you’re reading a book or enjoying some of our interactive children’s content.
Busytown Mysteries™ and all related and associated trademarks are owned by Cookie Jar Entertainment Inc. and used under license from Cookie Jar Entertainment Inc. © Cookie Jar Entertainment Inc.