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… because your child should have the opportunity to become an early reader! My own child and my clients as young as two have benefited from my games and activities – yours can too!

The original Letter Sound BoxThe idea for Letter Sound Box, our first app, grew from a game I have played with my preschoolers and kindergarteners for years. This is “the” game that they beg me to play again and again. (“What toy will I get next? Is it my turn?”) Simply it is a box with a lid with a hole at the top big enough for your child to reach a hand in and pull out a three-dimensional object.

This game’s focus is to teach letter sounds. For example, you might start working on the letter “c” with your child. Fill the box with objects that begin with the hard letter “c” sound, like in cat, car or cookie.

Then ask your child to pull an object from the box, say the name of the object, and then place it into the “c” bag. As your child masters letters, mix objects with up to three different letter sounds into the box. This is a great way to start your two year old on the way to learning letter sounds.

Our app, the Letter Sound Box plays on the same concept. Its goals are to help your child:

  1. master letter sounds
  2. become a reader quickly because after learning just four letter sounds your child will be prepared to read and spell real words in the app.
  3. find reading fun through positive reinforcements such as sounds like cheering, visual cues like winking or smiling, and rewards for hard work like souvenirs collected in an in-app treasure box.
  4. remain challenged by progressing though our series of apps that reinforce and build on each other. For example once your child masters the Letter Sound Box app, Word Builders is ready with the next challenge.

The Letter Sound Box appWhy are we making apps for your two year old to begin the journey to becoming an early reader? Because at roadmap2reading, we know that your two-year-old or older preschooler has the potential to begin an early passion for reading and learning.

What motivates your child to want to read?


A recent article points to toy trends that can benefit your child, and confirm that roadmap2reading apps are on the right track.

Trend – gender neutral games. Your child has the freedom to explore without the usual themes of princesses for your girl or trucks for your son. Our games are like taking a trip to the beach or into the forest, and will appeal to your child regardless of their gender.

Trend – games for young preschoolers. We have designed our apps to help your two year old successfully navigate, as they get ready to read. They allow you as the parent to collect data on your child’s progress and for your child to feel successful and have fun while learning to read. Also, an adjustable recommended time limit of 30 minutes helps you keep track of how long your child has been playing.

Trend – games with instant gratification. Your child may be accustom to receiving instant gratification when playing games. While playing our games, instant gratification includes your child adding treasures to their treasure box just for playing. In addition, our games provide positive motivators throughout to encourage learning even if your child misses an answer. Instead, our games redirect your child in a way that is constructive and positive.

Our apps recognize the changing trends for toys that your children play – qualities that they will experience while playing our apps. Your child as young as two, whether boy or girl, will enjoy escaping to a world of reading that is fun, engaging, and motivating.

Click here for an informative article about toy trends: toy trends link

Which games does your child play that are gender neutral and for young preschoolers?

Why are magazines important to encouraging your child’s imagination and reading? Magazines offer short and easy to read articles with content that is sure to peak your child’s interests. Plus, your child will likely experience the thrill that my daughter feels when one of her many magazines arrives in the mail.

The Ranger Rick magazine is all about animals – their habitats and behaviors. Each issue will introduce your child to neranger rickw habitats and animals, for example a virtual excursion down the Amazon to study tree frogs. Your child will enjoy learning how other children’s parents have jobs that take them into these habitats around the world or are doing interesting projects to improve the environment right in their backyard.

Another gZoobooksreat magazine for your animal lover is Zoobooks. Each issue focuses on just one animal species, for example wolves. The magazine offers your child a quick way to become an expert on a monthly featured animal. Your early reader will cherish the Zoobooks photographs for collage projects. Later he or she will fall in love with Zoobooks as a source of information for their elementary school five-paragraph essay assignments.

For your scientist or artist, Ask is an excellent magazine. Each issue has a theme, for example: “How does a computer work?” Each issue includes simply explained, short, well-illusasktrated articles on the theme. Interspersed are cartoons and commentary by animal characters that moderate each issue, short biographical sketches of relevant and unusual historical figures, and theme-related puzzles and craft projects. Just to mix it up, each issue includes off-theme, quirky articles. Past articles have described how to grow square watermelons and an unusual species of fish with teeth on its skin.

Finally, HighligHighlightshts is a classic favorite among most kids. Your child will love the activities in this magazine, especially the arts-and-crafts projects and challenging visual puzzles. Like other magazines, its fact-base paragraphs about dinosaurs and unusual animals will fascinate your child. However, the substance of the magazine is fiction that will entertain your child while teaching them how to thrive in a world full of differences and moral challenges.

What is most important for your child is that they are enjoying what they are reading while discovering the world and new ideas.

What children’s magazines do you recommend?

Knowing what motivates your child is important to cultivating an early reader. As a teacher, I am aware of what motivates my students and have a clear outcome in mind. Especially when my preschoolers are learning to read, I am aware of what engages them and what does not, because the end goal is clear – reading enjoyment!

What motivates your child? Is it a toy, a sweet treat or a visit to their favorite fast-food restaurant? As parents, we often forget just how our words, action, and gestures influence our children. It is especially easy to forget this when tired or rushed. However ultimately, your clear and high expectations will motivate your early reader. When you have a clear goal for your child to succeed, you are inherently building your child’s self-esteem. In the end, your belief motivates your child’s good decision-making and choices.

Dr. Angela Duckworth

Dr. Angela Duckworth gives a TED Talk about grit. Click her photo to link to her talk.

Your high expectations help foster your child’s academic achievement and motivation. Research supports this view. Dr. Angela Duckworth studied motivation, and its measurement. She studied kids and adults – including teachers working with students in tough neighborhoods. She found that students with passion and perseverance where most likely to finish the school year. In short, they found that these kids had grit. Grittier kids were more likely to graduate, regardless of IQ or family background. How do we build grit? Building your child’s self-esteem and setting clear expectations builds grit.

“Grit is the tendency to sustain interest in, and effort toward a very long-term goal. It often correlates with self-control.” – Dr. Angela Duckworth

You know this. I know this. However, so much of society is antithetical to making our children gritty. Opportunities and rewards seem to come without effort in the world around us. Many games and TV shows make it seem that success comes easily and deal with mistakes negatively – not as learning opportunities.

roadmap2reading games motivate and provide positive feedback through data that is clear to you and your child. For example, when your child learns a letter sound, the letter begins to glow and fireworks go off. Your child’s play receives intermittent rewards for her hard work and persistence. She keeps her rewards in her treasure box. Intermittent rewards in our games are like a rewards card from your favorite store. You get a reward just because you frequent their establishment and purchase their products. This is very motivating because you get a payoff for just showing up. We want your child to learn, have fun, and be motivated to play. The payoff is huge – your young child learns to read, which leads to her self-esteem and success!

What activities capture and motivate your child’s sustained attention?

Your home is your child’s learning environment. So what might the environment of your early reader look like?

Books will become a huge part of your child’s learning environment. As your child becomes an early reader, she will delight in a bedroom that holds many books in shelves, and a comfortable bed, table and chair for reading. A reading light over your child’s bed that is dim enough to sooth, but not too bright, will help support their likely wish to read before nodding off. As your child becomes a more proficient reader, she will likely to return to favorite books. She may be almost 8 years old and still look back at board books in between venturing into Harry Potter or an encyclopedia of North American frogs. Books become friends to your early reader who may want to keep many of her books – so consider more bookshelves. Of course, toys and clothing are in your early reader’s room too but hidden in bins to free her of distracting clutter.

Bella room

Distractions can influence your child becoming an early reader who is motivated to learn as much as possible. Screen time can become a major distraction. If you have TV, consider keeping it behind cabinet doors and on only in the evening after bedtime. Consider limiting your child’s time on the iPad, too. Interestingly enough, you may find your child will want to craft or pursue other creative outlets instead of iPad time. The key point is that your early reader’s environment is set up so that reading is what he wants to do, because other distractions like TV and the computer are a controlled privilege.

Clutter can be another distraction. Consider keeping your child’s toys in her room in containers. Fewer toys can foster creativity. Contrary to what some might think, more “stuff” does not necessarily lead to a happier, smarter child. Instead, more seems to lead to a child who is only satisfied with the latest toy.

Cultivating imagination and creativity can help cultivate your child’s interest in early reading. Creative play that encourages imagination can help motivate him to become an early reader. To foster your child’s imagination and creativity, focus on providing materials and places inside your home dedicated to your child learning. Elsewhere in your home where you and your child frequent, consider providing an easeBella sewingl and stocking a craft cabinet. Supply obvious things like glue, crayons, and paper to the less obvious like recycled clothes, tape, cardboard tubes and boxes. You will find your child may choose to create if they are not far from the action in your home with less screen time and clutter. Once your early reader is comfortable in their learning environment that you create, and wants to learn to do something, like sewing or building a model rocket, he will read about it first and then give it a go. Free of screen time distractions and clutter, he will find entertainment in what is available in the current environment rather than wanting new toys or more time on the computer.

If possible, a backyard or other outdoor space can benefit your early reader. It doesn’t have to be big – but it should be secure and private. Ideally, it is fenced in and private enough your child can easily explore and play without your constant attention. A sandbox is a favorite areMud Pies.indda where your imaginative one can make cakes for backyard fairies  or pursue a career as a famous scientist. A garden is another favorite for learning the names of various herbs and plants, which become material for creations or samples for the microscope. A birdfeeder too is an endless source of inspiration for research, drawing and storytelling. Again, only a few toys hidden in containers – mostly tools for creating, exploring and moving the body.

Regardless of where you live, your early reader is most likely to thrive in an uncluttered environment where easily accessible books are the main entertainment and screen time is limited and tied to privilege – where toys fulfill needs rather than to satisfy wants and are a special treat.

What is your early reader’s home environment? How do you cultivate early reading?