PROS / This application includes 100 reading lessons for kindergarten through third grade.
CONS / ClickN Read Phonics does not offer preschool instruction.
VERDICT / With likable animated characters and entertaining reading activities, this is the best software for helping your children learn to read.
ClickN Read Phonics is a fun online application for learning to read that you can access from any computer with an internet connection. All you need is your username and password. This application teaches kindergarten through third grade phonics-based reading, but it does not offer preschool instruction.
With 100 lessons, your children can practice all the letter sounds and many combinations of sounds. They can learn words that use those sounds and practice them, then progress to sentences.
Since ClickN Read Phonics is intended for young children, the navigation is simple, the screen is filled with brightly colored characters and the instructions are clear. For these reasons and more, ClickN Read Phonics is our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award winner.
ClickN Read Phonics divides each lesson into four segments: the Letter Sound Chamber, the Listening Cube, the Reading Room and the Speed Chamber. Each exercise introduces new material and reviews key concepts from previous lessons. After a series of correct responses, the application allows your child to move to the next exercise in the lesson. Each successful exercise garners praise for your child, and the fun animation makes the lessons seem more like games than chores.
After it introduces new material in each exercise, ClickN Read Phonics becomes interactive. The reading program prompts your child to click on or type correct responses for the remainder of the exercise. The software instructs your children on where letters are located on the keyboard and provide hints if they have trouble during a particular exercise. Another nice feature about ClickN Read Phonics is that your children can repeat lessons whenever they want.
The Letter Sound Chamber introduces new letters and their sounds or combinations of sounds. In this section, your child learns visual recognition and proper pronunciation. Children also learn where the letters are on a virtual keyboard, using the mouse to click on the keyboard buttons that show up on the screen.
The Listening Cube incorporates the newly introduced letter sounds into words, where they appear at the beginning, middle and end of those words. These reading activities teach children how the same letter can sound different depending where it appears in a word. The software also reads some words with you. For example, if your child is learning the word "rag," this learn to read application sounds out each letter: "rrrr-aaaa-gggg, rag." This allows your child to see how letters come together to form each of the sounds in a word.
The Reading Room focuses on spelling and sounding out words that contain the newly introduced letter sounds and incorporates the words into sentences. It teaches sight words such as "a" and "the." It also gives your child more opportunities to find the letters on the keyboard on the screen. It also teaches children about families of words. For example, it shows which words you can make from "an," such as "can" and "ran."
To progress, your child must point and click on sounds and words that ClickN Kid says in the Speed Chamber. This allows children to practice the new letter sounds and words at higher speeds. They must respond with correct answers within a specific amount of time to pass this last level and move on to the next lesson.
To make things entertaining as well as educational, your children work with a space dog guide named ClickN Kid, who leads them through the lessons by first offering some helpful instructions.
When your child clicks on the correct sounds and letters or words, this animated pal voices enthusiastic praise. If your child makes an error, there is a pleasant "oops!" and a gentle suggestion to try again. By hearing ClickN Kid say things correctly, your child can learn how to say letters, words and sentences properly when reading aloud.
ClickN Read Phonics has high-quality graphics and animation. The sound effects make the entire activity enjoyable for small children. As your child moves from exercise to exercise, the colorful backgrounds change and the characters move around the screen. ClickN Kid and a character named TV Screen talk to one another, have races and help each other from time to time.
The parent company, ClickN Kids, has entered into a partnership with Warner Brothers to create an additional application, Looney Tunes ClickN Read Phonics. This is the same instructional curriculum with different animated guides, and the reading activities are interspersed with short cartoon clips of famous Looney Tunes characters.
The Looney Tunes application runs on an iPad; the original ClickN Read Phonics works on a Kindle but is less powerful on it. Both applications run on Windows and Mac computers. Other than the entertainment value of the Looney Tunes segments, there is no difference between the two applications.
After each lesson, you can see a progress report, which you can print if you want. On it, you can see how your child did at selecting letter sounds on the screen, spelling letter sounds on the screen keyboard and identifying the last letter sounds in words.
The report also tells you how your child did on word blends, identifying sight words, working with the lesson's word family, and identifying words and sounds in less than one minute. If you want your child to retake a lesson, you can select that on the screen that shows the report.
You also have access to the ClickN Read online community of parents, where you can learn more about reading and education in general, read useful blog articles and post comments, and chat with other parents about your shared interest in helping children to read.
Help & Support
The ClickN Kids website has a list of FAQs and an online user guide. You can also contact the company by telephone or email. The parent community forum also can be a great source of information if you have general questions.
ClickN Read Phonics is an entertaining application that effectively teaches kindergarten to third-grade reading. It offers a clear and simple design, a well-planned progressive curriculum, the ability to repeat lessons, and some fun graphics. This learn to read application provides systematic instruction that moves your child from letter sounds to words to sentences in 100 lessons, and you as the parent get progress reports along the way. ClickN Read is the best software in our lineup for helping your child learn to read.