This summer as a homeschooler, I feel that I am finally grasping the concept of using technology at its fullest to do school. I love finding new and fun programs which can be used not only on the computer but also on our iPad (or Android). It seriously makes life so much easier!
This last month, my family has been reviewing Snap Learning – a new find for our reading time. Snap Learning provides a Structured Guided Reading Program with over 130 books, complete lesson plans for students in k-6th grade, plus extra supports for other age groups. These books are displayed in colorful, clean illustrations with many interactive components including fill-in, videos, photographs, word pronunciation audio clips, hand writing, etc. For my 6-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter, we used this program almost completely on the iPad.
On the iPad, the set up is easy to use with only the actual interactive books. Things are organized by grade level… In each grade level chapter, all of the books are listed. To read the books, you select the chosen title and then download that file. These files are small and download quickly. The older grades have more than one lesson per book…while the younger ages don’t. The image below is from a younger grade level. The stories use much repetition and image props to help with the reading. The older grades include more factual information in the stories. But there is also a fictional component added. For instance in the weather story for 6th grade, there was a reporter talking about weather. In these factual stories there are some interesting pictures and short video clips to enhance the learning experience.
Below is a screen shot of a depiction of different religions in a ‘book’ called, Someone to Believe in: Ancient Hebrew and Christian Religions. Other religions are mentioned in this book even though the title does not mention this.
As mentioned before, these books are interactive. Below is a screen shot of a fill-in activity….
As you can see below, this is a secular curriculum teaching a more mainstream idea of how the earth is formed.
Each grade level has a set of ‘high frequency words’ and each story has a selection of these to practice. Online (not on the tablet), there is also an assessment tool to keep track of which words your students have mastered.
The younger ages have simple hand writing exercises, dot-to-dot, and other things.
Also found online at the Snap Learning website are many resources to assist in planning. There are lesson plans, assessment tools, and logs. Most of these are PDF files to download to your computer. I found that most of these have a lot of content.
We used the Snap Learning app during times that we were busy and needed a little extra something to support reading. It was convenient and easy to use. Once the books are downloaded onto the iPad, wifi is no longer needed to use that specific book–which is great! This makes this tool nice for car travel or appointments. The kids had no trouble using the app or interacting with it.
One good thing I noticed was that, at least in the younger years, the books have a ton of repetition. That is a good thing, especially for children who struggle with reading or have some kind of learning disability.
This is a supplemental reading curriculum that uses more of a sight-word focus than a phonics focus. For this reason, I found that it didn’t fit well with what we are already using for reading.
I also often struggled to get my children to use this resource. Both of them declared that the content was “boring.” As a parent, I have to agree that the stories were a bit bland. My 11-year-old also thought that the 6th grade stories were too young for her.
If you are looking for a supplement that will help you teach sight words to your children, this resource could benefit you. Also, this resource would probably be of more benefit to younger children (lower elementary ages) rather than older children (upper elementary).
If you’re interested in buying a 1-year license to SNAP Learning, use this link to get more information. One license is good for an academic year for all of the students in your home. If you’re part of a co-op, the license is good for one academic year for up to 30 students. The cost is $89.