a personalized and fun reading app for kids

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  • When it comes to screen time for kids, it is essential to include educational and engaging apps.
  • Homer, an early learning platform for kids ages 2 and up, tailors literacy classes to your child’s abilities and interests.
  • Stories and games caught my daughter’s attention more than any other app as she learned sight words and letter sounds.
  • After a free full-access trial period, Homer costs $ 9.99 per month or $ 60 for an annual subscription (usually $ 119.88).

Lately I’ve been trying to accommodate my kids’ requests for screen time less often. It’s easy for me to jump at the chance to take a short break from the chaos by letting them hang out with a device, but I’m not the kind of long-term parent that I’m really interested in.

However, I am completely open to being the type of parent who inspires their children to learn during screen time. That’s why apps like Homer are great. Literacy and reading skills are defined in an app who knows they love dinosaurs and music? Sign me up. Subscribe us all. And that’s exactly what we did when Homer offered to test his two bundled apps: Reading and Stories.

Since installing the apps, my 5-year-old Lyla has been happy to spend at least 30 minutes a day playing and learning with Homer, making up about half of her allotted screen time and not letting any of us get away from it all. feeling particularly benefited.

Specifications

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Alyson Aladro / INSIDER


Homer is an early learning literacy platform with over 1,000 games and stories for ages 2-8, although older children can benefit as well. Its two apps – Reading and Stories – are designed by a team of experts in child development, curriculum design and educational technologies and tailored to your child’s needs and interests for an optimal learning experience.

Bundled apps come as a 30-day free trial with full access to start, and then as a monthly ($ 9.99) or yearly (currently $ 60) subscription. Homer is compatible with both iOS and Android platforms and is available for download from the AppStore, Google Play Store, and Amazon. The apps contain space for individual accounts of up to four children based on information such as their age, reading level, and interests.

Throughout Reading and Stories, the illustrations, animations, and stories are all created to appeal to the masses. They are varied in style and content, especially when compared to other educational apps that feature a cohesive cast of characters, like Monsters from Endless drive. There is a regular presence throughout Homer Reading: a monkey who narrates throughout the games and guides your child through their learning journey with friendly encouragement.

The Stories app library also offers a wide variety of styles. Lyla chose a handful of topics that interested her, like vacations, princesses, and animals, and in return got a huge amount of story options. To get the most out of this platform, your child should be able to touch and hold objects on the screen, drag objects, and follow simple one-step instructions.

homer_my_stories


Alyson Aladro / INSIDER


What does it look like to use

To get started, Lyla and I opened the Stories app and worked together on the intro personalization process. We entered their first name and date of birth, chose their specific interests from a list of options, and determined their reading stage based on a series of simple letter and word recognition questions.

From that point on, Lyla snatched the iPad out of my hands so I could explore more. Like many 5-year-olds, she picks up a lot of reading clues and explores different aspects of literacy, such as rhymes and sounds. She was captivated by the captions which were highlighted one word at a time as the stories were read or sung to her aloud.

Also, the library she chose from was based entirely on the information we entered at the start. The stories were divided into the same types of categories, like princesses and animals, and she could easily switch to find a new story or revisit an older one. The stories I heard were wacky and funny and I could see why she loved them.

Later we tried the Reading app, which is used for more active learning through lessons and games. These are placed along a learning path and grouped by level. Lyla started to fly through each one. They include a combination of sight word exercises, letter tracing and games based on one’s reading level, followed by a level recap. That’s not to say that Lyla scores 100% on everything, but the games are simple and short and provide gentle prompts to help get the answer right before the activity ends.

Although she was actually learning the same sight words or letter sounds for a few activities in a row, she was able to stay alert as the challenges were presented in new ways. Each match kept him busy answering questions and thinking critically. Importantly, the learning tasks were punctuated by occasional self-guided drawing activities. In the end, she was more engaged and fun than I’ve seen her with other apps.

homer_learning_path


Alyson Aladro / INSIDER


What sets Homer apart

Typically, personalization is not a priority in early learning applications; the goal is to ensure that the lessons and content are intriguing enough that all the child would like. Homer emphasizes the relevance of a child’s preferences, interests and skills to their learning process. For about a month that Lyla has been using Homer, it has been easy for her to get lost in the stories and the games. She spends at least 30 minutes a day on apps, but often more.

Also note: Educators, including teachers and librarians, can download this app for free.

The inconvenients

You’ll need an internet connection to access your custom app settings, which is potentially limited for families without Wi-Fi or if you’re just on the go. You can download individual lessons while connected to the internet for later use, but if you close the app, downloads become unavailable – it must remain in the background for continued access.

The bottom line

Homer is good at keeping kids interested and at learning. Applications are flexible for a range of ages and skills, from toddlers to growing readers, as well as a range of learning styles and abilities. Lyla, for example, is at the start of reading and gets frustrated easily. Even when the tasks are difficult, she sticks to them thanks to the fact that games are inherently fun for her because they feel relevant and meaningful.

Advantages: Ideal for literacy, tailor-made programming for children ages 2 and up

The inconvenients: Not fully accessible offline


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