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How to Choose the Best Gamified Reading App

As a classroom teacher, I was always looking for the best apps to share with my students. And as I’m sure you can imagine, I often get asked for app recommendations – especially for growing readers. So, where should you start if you want to choose the very best gamified reading app for your students?

Today on the blog, I have a gamified reading app to share with you called Duolingo ABC. I’ll unpack the term gamified and share a few questions you can use as you search for the very best resources for your classroom.

Finding a Gamified Reading App

What is gamification? In the education space, we use the term gamification to describe the process of turning a traditional learning experience into an activity that feels more like a game. Typically, a gamified app helps students explore content in an engaging way without feeling overwhelmed or like the content is too difficult. Sometimes a gamified app has a narrative to follow or levels to work through. There is usually some sort of reward for progressing from one part of the game to the next.

How to Choose the Best Gamified Reading App

Gamification in education is a popular way to boost engagement and help students learn new things. When students are rewarded, this motivates them and gets them to pay attention. Gamified apps can motivate students as they have fun and earn rewards simultaneously. Students can learn new things and stay encouraged as they interact with new content and review ideas from past learning experiences.

Learning to read is hard work, and gamification can be especially helpful for literacy!

6 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Gamified Reading App

If you are trying to decide if a gamified reading app is the right fit for your students, Audrey Kittredge, Ph.D., a learning scientist at Duolingo, has a few questions you can ask. These questions can help you determine if an app is the right fit for your group of students.

Literacy Concepts

Does the app focus kids’ attention on literacy concepts? Regular readers of this blog know that I often use the phrase “tasks before apps.” The first question on the list addresses this idea. You want to ensure the app focuses students’ attention on your primary goal – literacy concepts. Duolingo ABC is focused on literacy and includes lessons that scaffold new ideas for learners in a deliberate sequence.

Fun and Meaningful

Are the reading activities enjoyable and meaningful? To make sure students stay motivated as they spend time in a gamified reading app, you want to ensure the reading activities are enjoyable and meaningful to kids. Duolingo ABC rotates between fun phonics games and engaging stories with characters that kids can connect with as they play.

How to Choose the Best Gamified Reading App

Reward Student Progress

How does this app reward students for their literacy progress? A well-designed game rewards a learner’s progress by unlocking more content and challenging levels. Giving students access to more learning opportunities motivates them to keep going. For example, as kids progress on Duolingo ABC, they unlock more challenging lessons and more stories to read, encouraging them to keep going. 

Curriculum Alignment

Is the app based on a solid literacy curriculum? When choosing a gamified reading app for your students, you want to make sure it addresses foundational skills like phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. These are all core to effective reading programs. Duolingo ABC teaches all of these foundational skills for reading.

Research-Based Apps

Is the literacy app backed by research? Even a fun game can be built on great research. The Duolingo ABC app takes a science-based approach to teaching reading with the research-backed Duolingo Method. Students focus on what matters and learn by doing, in a personalized way. They can feel the delight and this helps them stay motivated. Research by Education Development Center shows that kids who used Duolingo ABC for nine weeks improved their literacy scores by 28%.

Establishing a Plan

How will a gamified reading app fit into my classroom instruction in a practical way? If you feel tight on time, this is a crucial consideration. Learning apps that provide bite-sized lessons can help learners see their own progress while allowing for independent practice. For example, the Duolingo ABC curriculum is broken into small lessons. These small chunks can help students feel a sense of progress and achievement in as little as five minutes.

Ready to try out a gamified reading app with your students? Duolingo ABC is an engaging literacy app that provides support for growing readers! Download the free Duolingo ABC reading app to introduce gamification to your students!

Find more posts featuring Duolingo:

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Blog Author and EdTech Consultant Dr. Monica Burns

Monica Burns

Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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