Inside: An amazing learn to read app developed by the happiest people on Earth. Children learn to read (and more!) in fun, engaging ways.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of BerryTale Studios. All opinions are completely my own.
Before my children started learning to read, I had this picture in my head about it. It was going to be a magical, beautiful, and seamless process. I had no idea what I was in for! I have to confess that I was really caught off guard when teaching my oldest to read, as it started off being the opposite of beautiful or even happy.
Reading and the Happiest People on Earth
I spent years researching how to put all of the puzzle pieces together to make this milestone amazing. When I started teaching my oldest to read, it brought out emotions that I never wanted her to associate with reading. There was frustration, low self-confidence, and even dread.
Every child’s learning experience is different, and what works for one child may not work at all for another. In general, children learn to read between the ages of four to seven. In our case this meant that we delayed formal reading instruction until my daughter was seven. I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to keep delaying it if I hadn’t discovered that children in Nordic countries don’t even begin school until seven-years-old. We also homeschooled for kindergarten and first grade, so we had more freedom to follow my daughter’s lead.
Reading instruction in the U.S. begins at the kindergarten level. By the end of the first grade, children are expected to read 60 words per minute. In contrast,
Learning to Read in Finland
Despite their later start, Finnish children are known for enjoying reading as well as showing confidence in it. They have some of the highest test scores in all of the world.
A big part of this picture is how a child feels about reading. According to a recent happiness report, Finland is listed as the fifth-happiest nation in the world. Teachers in Finland are concerned about a child’s happiness and finding ways to teach topics that are of interest to children. In fact, joy is written into the curriculum:
Arja-Sisko Holappa, a counselor for the Finnish National Board of Education said this:
According to the Journal of Instructional Psychology,
Whether children read or not is determined by their attitudes toward reading. If children do not like reading or they think that reading is boring, their negative attitude toward reading will hinder their reading improvement.”
The Learn to Read App Made by the Happiest People on Earth
So how do we help make reading a happy experience for children and build that life-long desire? While I would love to go send my children to school in Finland, it’s just not in the plan. I did get another glimpse of this happy reading experience when I came across a learn to read app created by a team of Finnish developers.
When Timothy Walker told me about a reading app that he was helping develop, I definitely wanted to hear more. Walker, an American teacher who moved to Finland and became a teacher there, sheds light on the Finnish school system in his book Teach Like Finland: 33 Simple Strategies for Joyful Classrooms.
Hale’s Tale Learn to Read App
Since this learn to read app was developed by dads in Finland, including Timothy Walker, I had to try it out. Hale’s Tale has calming music, peaceful nature scenes in its graphics, and ways for children of all reading levels to learn. With the app, children learn to read or increase their reading proficiency – all in a fun and inviting way. When I think of our experience with Hale’s Tale, what comes to mind is a reading app made by the happiest people in the world. If this is one small way to bring a bit of Nordic education into our home, I want to jump on the chance to try it and learn from it.
Since Hale’s Tale is a learn to read and reading app, I just expected my children to work on their early reading skills in a fun way. When I asked my son what he thought of the game, he gave me an answer that I never expected.
It teaches me to help people, mom.
Helping people!?! That was my first clue into the Finnish ways of developing the whole child, not just educating them.
Hale’s Tale promotes manners, critical thinking, kindness, strategy . . . and of course, reading. My son also told me,
Mom, Hale’s Tale doesn’t teach me how to read.
I had to chuckle because I had been watching him play, and he definitely was learning to read more proficiently. What he really meant is that he was having fun while learning, so he didn’t even realize how much he was learning. Another sign of the Finnish reading model.
Find Out More
Now, this is another tool in my toolbox for helping my children learn to read. Honestly, I love that it’s always exciting. They want to play it, so those tricky reading concepts that are oh so boring when I help them learn them are part of a game instead.
Are you curious about your child’s current progress? By downloading the free version of Hale’s Tale you will get a better glimpse of where your child is at. The app will tell you how many letter sounds and words your child knows. And it is a great way to get a small glimpse of the Nordic education system, just the way I did.
Would you like to learn more about the approach of learning through play? Play Into Readers has insights into Finland’s incredibly successful literacy rates, including insights about the four-hour school day for five and six-year-olds.
Reading is a life skill, not just something on the checklist to educate a child, and the developers of Hale’s Tale fully understand that. I highly recommend trying out their learn to read app if you want to help make reading a happy experience. It is a great reading tool for the home or the classroom that both parents and educators will feel good about.
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