Saturday, December 20, 2014

Best FREE e-Books to Engage Young Readers of ALL Ages

Last week's article presented helpful book list links to help our readers find just the right gift for the readers on their holiday shopping lists this year (GREAT Book Lists---for Now & Throughout the Year). We received so much positive input about the article from many readers that we thought it might be a good idea to continue our efforts in a similar way this week.

Let's face it. The holidays annually test our budgets and tempt us to purchase gifts that may often be too pricey. That's why this week, we wanted to help our readers avoid that issue entirely, especially as the holiday shopping time winds down and "funds" may be quite depleted. What about giving your child or teen a FREE e-book---or, better yet, a list of FREE e-books? That way, your gift will "keep on giving" not only during this holiday time but throughout the entire year! Not bad for a gift that will cost you only the time it takes to read this article and browse the e-book lists we've provided. (You'll totally avoid the mall crowds, too!)

We hope you'll find here at least one selection to appeal to a young reader you know. In fact, consider creating your own list of links personally chosen by you for a child or teen you know. Copy and paste the links selected on a Word document, fold and wrap it in a box with pretty paper and ribbon. We think it will be a treasured gift for a special young reader!

Special Notes: You do NOT need an e-book reader to utilize these resources. Just visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/digital/fiona/kcp-landing-page?ie=UTF8&ref_=klp_mn and follow the easy steps there to start reading Kindle apps on your tablet, smartphone, or computer! Many of these resources can be downloaded directly to a laptop, desktop or other device without a special application. In addition, please know that the books in these link lists were FREE at the time of this article's publication but may NOT be free at a later date.

ManyBooks (e-Book Selections for Children)
You can subscribe to ManyBooks.com to gain access to many FREE, downloadable e-Books. Join 120,000+ fellow readers and receive FREE eBooks and book bargains in your inbox. This link will provide many e-book titles (with downloads) for children in various age groups.
http://manybooks.net/categories/CHI

Best Free Kindle e-Books for Children
FREE Kindle downloads for children aged 7-12.
http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/21465.Best_Free_Kindle_Ebooks_for_Children_

29 Sites With Free Teen & Young Adult e-Books
Within the virtual pages of these teen and young adult e-books, you’ll find realistic dilemmas, timeless themes, dating, love and messages of hope. Young adult authors have found a way to capture the minds of young readers, drawing special circumstances of a teen’s world and life through fantastic worlds of unlimited possibilities.
http://www.getfreeebooks.com/?p=10709

Goodreads---FREE e-Books for Teens
An assortment of titles of FREE e-books for teens.
http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/23017.FREE_Ebooks_For_Teens

For more information on customizable low-tech & digital reading tools for all kinds of challenged readers, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image courtesy of:
ClipArt.me at http://clipart.me/premium-technology/realistic-vector-laptop-tablet-computer-monitor-and-mobile-phone-template-1565 and
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

GREAT Book Lists---for Now & Throughout the Year

We are quickly approaching mid-December and with it "crunch time" has arrived for getting just the right present for those special someones on your holiday gift list. What if you could achieve that goal within the next couple of hours? Would that help brighten your holiday spirit? Well, we think it's possible, and, as always, we want to be your provider of helpful "tools" to accomplish this.

Most of our readers know us as facilitators and resource providers for parents and teachers of students who are challenged with ADHD, dyslexia and other learning differences that often can affect reading ability and overall academic success. This week, with "holiday crunch time" upon us, we want to give you that same brand of help---book lists to help with gifting each person to whom you plan to give a present. The resources to follow here will help you give the BEST book to each individual child, teen (yes, teen!) and adult on your holiday gift list. Quickly, we think you'll discover that these collections of very special books will be timely for the holiday season as well as throughout the entire year. We also think you'll find MUCH shopping time saved, too!

Happy Holidays AND Happy Reading, everyone!

GREAT Book Lists for Now & Throughout the Year

Holiday kids' books: Reindeer and monsters, oh my!
by Jocelyn McClurg, USA TODAY
These charming holiday picture books – some playful, some traditional – will delight the young reader on your gift list for seasons to come.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/books/2014/12/03/holiday-childrens-books-rudolph-the-red-nosed-reindeer/70055698/

10 children's books filled with the holiday spirit
by Jody Mitori, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Holiday-themed children’s books this year are mostly filled with anticipation of Santa and gifts under the tree. But one local author uses the season to address the futility of war.
http://www.stltoday.com/entertainment/books-and-literature/reviews/children-s-books-filled-with-the-holiday-spirit/article_1e8f497b-fd74-574e-81b0-fe68da3c4793.html

Best Christmas and Holiday Books for Kids
by Sasha Emmons, Parenting Magazine
20 children's holiday books, from timeless reads to newer classics.
http://www.parenting.com/gallery/best-christmas-books-kids

30 Best Christmas Children’s Books
from ChildrensBookGuide.com
Sometimes, just before bed on the one magical Eve of the year, the perfect Christmas book can make for the perfect way to lull excited children off into the land of sugar plums and fairies. But they’re also great leading up to that special day, as well as the rest of December. Grab a cookie and read up!
http://childrensbooksguide.com/featured/30-best-christmas-books

Christmas-Themed Books for Teens
by Jodie Wells-Slowgrove
Christmas novels come in many genres---from romance to fantasy to humor. So whether you want to laugh or sigh, there is a Christmas-themed novel that's just right for the teen on your list.
https://suite.io/jodie-wells-slowgrove/158q2gg

Teen Book Lists
from GoodReads.com
Many lists of the best books for teens and young adults for year 'round reading.
http://www.goodreads.com/list/tag/teen

GeekMom’s 2014 Gift Guide of Books
by Cathé Post
This gift guide is full of books: Historical books, storybooks, reference books, baby books, comic books, and more. There's something for everyone on this list!
http://geekmom.com/2014/12/geekmoms-2014-gift-guide-books/

Tricia Goyer Christmas Reading List
by Jennifer A. Janes
If you’re looking for some great books to add to your Christmas reading or shopping list this year, consider one (or all!) of these books by Tricia Goyer. The stories are heart-warming reads that have already brightened the season for many and can do the same for you!
http://jenniferajanes.com/tricia-goyer-christmas/

The ten best books of 2014
by Charles Matthews of The Washington Post
List of current books for adults.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/the-10-best-books-of-2014/2014/11/20/40784e0a-3dc6-11e4-b03f-de718edeb92f_story.html

The 10 Best Books of 2014
The year’s best fiction and non-fiction books (for adults), selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/14/books/review/the-10-best-books-of-2014.html?_r=0

For more information on customizable low-tech & digital reading tools for all kinds of challenged readers, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image: Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Practical Resources for Parents of Kids with ADHD---Right Now!

The family Thanksgiving Dinner is only a pleasant memory. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now history, and the media tell us that there are only so many shopping days left until Christmas. Without a doubt, the annual holiday season is in full swing, but your child with ADHD is getting more easily excited and increasingly distracted as December 25th fast approaches. What is a parent to do---and ALL while making your family's preparations for this special time of the year?

A child or teen who does not have ADHD is normally pretty excited about the coming of Hannukah, Christmas or Kwanzaa. However, a child or teenager who struggles with the symptoms of ADHD is so much more affected by the anticipation of the holidays and their related activities that the situation can pose real problems for the child and certainly for his parents, too.

At Brennan Innovators, LLC, we love solving problems for parents, teachers and children, especially issues related to reading, learning, behavior and additional needs (they are all related, of course!) That is why this week we are providing a handful of resources to help parents of children with ADHD during these hectic weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. We hope the resources here will help someone you know to be a bit more relaxed and focused during the coming weeks of celebration. That way, you'll ALL enjoy the holidays this year!

Practical Resources for Parents of Kids with ADHD for the Holiday Season

Resources for Kids with LD and/or ADHD (A Book List for Kids with LD)
by Jill Lauren, Learning Specialist and Author, Succeeding with LD
This is a list of great books for kids in which the main character struggles with some aspect of learning. The characters often appeal to kids with LD and/or ADHD as they can relate to the characters and learn from their development. Note that many kids may benefit from having the books read to them or hearing them on tape.
http://www.flashlightworthybooks.com/Resources-for-Kids-with-LD-ADHD/416

Choosing Educational Fun Games & Activities for the Holidays
by Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET
This article with resources will provide information on how to choose educational games and activities to keep your kids engaged and learning over the holidays. http://www.bonnieterry.com/blog/2012/12/choosing-educational-fun-games-for-the-holidays/

The Holidays with ADHD Children
by Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.
Even if you are a parent with ADHD and your children share the disorder, it is possible to reduce stress during holiday time. This article provides some good ideas.
http://www.sevencounties.org/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=34623&cn=3

Avoid Holiday Havoc: Help for ADHD Children
by Carol Brady, Ph.D. and ADDitude Magazine
Six ways for parents to help their ADHD children enjoy holiday celebrations without behavior problems, family conflict, or ADD symptom flare-ups.
http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/900.html

ADD/ADHD Parenting Tips
Helping Children and Teens with Attention Deficit Disorder
Life with a child with ADD/ADHD can be frustrating and overwhelming, but as a parent there is a lot you can do to help control and reduce the symptoms. You can help your child overcome daily challenges, channel his or her energy into positive arenas, and bring greater calm to your family. The earlier and more consistently you address your child’s problems, the greater chance they have for success in life.
http://www.helpguide.org/articles/add-adhd/attention-deficit-disorder-adhd-parenting-tips.htm

Best ADHD Books for Parents and Kids
Get Expert Advice for Your Child With ADHD
by Lori Newman, Lifescript Staff Writer
If your child has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), where can you find the information you need? Lifescript asked experts to recommend ADHD books for parents and kids that will help you manage the condition. Their suggestions are presented here.
http://www.lifescript.com/health/centers/adhd_pediatric/articles/best_adhd_books_for_parents_and_kids.aspx


Parenting Kids with ADHD: 16 Tips to Tackle Common Challenges
by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
This link provides excellent tips for parents of children with ADHD.
http://psychcentral.com/lib/parenting-kids-with-adhd-16-tips-to-tackle-common-challenges/0006557


ADHD and Reading Difficulties
by Susie McGee, M.Ed, Teacher
ADHD and reading difficulties often go hand in hand. In fact, reading difficulties are some of the most common problems associated with ADHD in children. Because ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) interferes with the learning process, reading and other academic skills can continue to fall behind if the symptoms aren't recognized and addressed. This article will offer some help with these issues.
http://kids.lovetoknow.com/wiki/ADHD_and_Reading_Difficulties

For more information on customizable low-tech & digital reading tools for all kinds of challenged readers, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image: Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NEW Desktop App Now Helps Even More Struggling Readers

Over the past few years, a number of our readers have inquired as to if or when there might be a Reading Focus Card APP developed to help even more struggling readers. Today, it is our great pleasure to announce that we now DO have such an application for use with computer desktops and Microsoft Surface tablets. This app will open new doors and eliminate many hurdles for a great number of challenged readers and struggling learners when they attempt to read online web pages or digital documents.

A Brief History of the App

The glimmer of this software idea came to us way back in 2003---even before the word app was commonly used for a software program. The idea remained on the drawing board here at Brennan Innovators until 2009 when the first patent was issued for our low-tech reading tools, the Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759). When orders for these physical reading tools began to arrive in increasing numbers, we started saving some of that revenue in preparation for possible app development. At the same time in 2009, a second patent application was submitted---this time, for the Reading Focus Card app idea.

In 2013 when that second patent was issued for this application by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, we felt it was (finally!) the appropriate time to turn our attention to the actual creation of the application. We began working with a clinical psychologist who understood the hurdles faced by challenged readers, a developer of special needs apps and an experienced educator to create a digital version of the physical, low-tech Reading Focus Cards first invented and prototyped in 1998.

The Reading Focus Cards App---Digital Tool to Help Even More Readers

The work of developing this idea born in 2003 has been most exciting, and now we finally have a practical DESKTOP app for Windows PCs, Macs and Microsoft Surface tablets that will provide needed digital READING SUPPORT for children and adults with ADHD, dyslexia, autism, eye strain/visual stress, convergence insufficiency, low vision, Down Syndrome, stroke recovery/TBI issues (aphasia) and other conditions that can affect reading success.

The Reading Focus Cards app (Patent 8,360,779) provides the following:

1. Allows a user to change nearly all features of the digital reading tool. A reader can
increase or decrease the height and/or width
of the digital Reading Focus Card itself as well as those of the Reading Window Filter. This means that as much or as little text can be covered or uncovered on a webpage or digital document. It also means that the reader can choose what filter color through which he will read text.

2. Enables the user to change the colors of the tool features, allowing a user to view a chosen card color covering text not to be viewed AND to read text through a selected and more comfortable, colored filter. Other options for tool modification or adjustment are also provided via the application's Toolbox (disappears when reader chooses).

3. Is also compatible with and supports touch-screen technology (where applicable). A reader can interact directly with the digital tool to move it over text on a desktop screen with either fingers, a mouse or the arrow keys. If a user's hardware does not have a touch screen, then the mouse and arrow keys will provide the movement of the digital Reading Focus Card over the text needing to be read--at the speed desired by the reader. Regardless of hardware capability, the application stays on top of the text while in use, which eliminates further frustration by an already-challenged reader.

Now, ALL readers can enjoy more reading success with both the low-tech, customizable Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759) for physical books, documents, etc. AND the high-tech Reading Focus Cards app (Patent 8,360,779) for much more FOCUSED online reading of nearly all digital media (webpages, e-books, PDF files, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets & more!)

Parent Testimonial

Recently, the parent of a teen son provided these comments about the NEW Reading Focus Cards desktop app:

He chose a dark blue (reading) window with a black card. I like the fact the window can be widened or made smaller to fit an individual word on the screen (PDF). He read words individually that way. Then we widened the window to see the whole sentence and reread. It was much easier than pointing at the screen so he wouldn't lose his spot.

You, our loyal readers, have been most supportive of our efforts to help challenged readers and learners since this blog's inception in 2010. Hopefully, our re-doubled efforts (along with your continued support) will now go toward helping even more struggling readers---regardless of age, ability or the media format presented. Thank you for that great support!

Happy Reading---NOW for EVERYONE!

To learn more about the Reading Focus Cards app (Patent 8,360,779), please visit http://www.focusandread.com/page/488513590.

Direct links to access app download:
1. For Macs: Visit the Mac App Store and search for Read and Focus or go directly to
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/read-and-focus/id920617853?mt=12

2. For Windows PCs: Visit the Microsoft Windows Store and search for the app called Reading Focus Cards. (No URLs are provided for apps in the Windows Store.)

3. Another option to access this Windows PC version: Visit Gumroad.com at
https://gumroad.com/l/ReadingFocusCards

For more information on customizable low-tech & digital reading tools for all kinds of challenged readers, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Raising Awareness & Providing Supportive Resources for Dyslexia

Many of our loyal readers already know that we often present information in this blog on the topic of dyslexia and other reading challenges. As we conclude Dyslexia Awareness Month here in the U.S. and begin Dyslexia Awareness Week 2014 (November 3-9) in the U.K., we thought it timely to present an article here about what dyslexia actually is and some helpful resources to support families challenged with it.

First of all, what IS dyslexia? The International Dyslexia Association provides the following definition:

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Dyslexia refers to a cluster of symptoms, which result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Students with dyslexia usually experience difficulties with other language skills such as spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. Dyslexia affects individuals throughout their lives; however, its impact can change at different stages in a person’s life. It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment, and in its more severe forms, will qualify a student for special education, special accommodations or extra support services.
(Source: International Dyslexia Association---Please see links to follow.)

Dyslexia affects approximately 20% of the population in the U.S. (1 in 5 individuals). For some individuals who have never been diagnosed, dyslexia is a hidden disability which may result in underemployment, difficulty navigating academic environments, difficulty on the job and decreased self-esteem or confidence. Even those who have been diagnosed are likely to struggle with reading or writing in some aspects of their lives. Dyslexia is a specific reading difference and does not reflect low intelligence. In fact, there are many bright and creative individuals with dyslexia who are challenged throughout life with reading, writing and/or spelling. Often, however, with appropriate teaching methods, dyslexics can learn successfully.

This week, we have a large basket of resources to help. In our list, you'll discover some of the best tools, books and support organizations to provide the help needed for individuals of ANY age struggling with dyslexia. We hope you will take advantage of at least a few of these resources. Someone's future could depend on it!

Helpful Dyslexia Tools & Apps

OpenDyslexic Font (FREE)
Created by Abelardo Gonzalez
OpenDyslexic is a new, open-sourced font created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia. The typeface includes regular, bold, italic, and bold-italic styles. It is being updated continually and improved based on input from dyslexic users. There are no restrictions on using OpenDyslexic outside of attribution. FREE download via this link.
http://opendyslexic.org/

The Reading Focus Cards
(Patent 7,565,759)
From Brennan Innovators, LLC
Sensory-appealing and customizable reading tools and solutions for challenged readers of all ages. Made in the U.S.A.
www.FocusandRead.com/products

APP---Overlays! (for OS X 10.8 or later---Price: $6.99)
Created by Abbie Gonzalez
Use to help with reading or sometimes to help following large tables and lists of data. Battle the wall of text, eyestrain and distractions with this on screen overlay to help you keep your place!
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/overlays!/id868499627?mt=12

APP---Reading Focus Cards (for Macs & Windows PCs---Price: $5.99)
(Patent 8,360,779)
From Brennan Innovators, LLC
This DESKTOP app is the digital version of the physical Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759), solutions for struggling readers. This app for Windows PCs and Macs provides practical READING SUPPORT for children and adults with ADHD, dyslexia, autism and other conditions that can affect reading success. It promotes more FOCUSED online reading of almost ALL digital media (webpages, PDF files, Word docs, Excel spreadsheets & more.) In addition, the Reading Focus Card app is compatible with and supports touch-screen technology. The application can be moved on the screen over text by the fingers, mouse or arrow keys as needed.

1. For Windows PCs:
Visit the Microsoft Windows Store and search for the app called "Reading Focus Cards."
(No URLs are ever provided for apps in the Windows Store.)

2. Another option to access this Windows PC version:
Visit Gumroad at https://gumroad.com/l/ReadingFocusCards

3. For Macs:
Visit the Mac App Store and search for "Read and Focus" or go directly to
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/read-and-focus/id920617853?mt=12

Best Books for Dyslexia

Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level
by Sally Shaywitz, M.D.; Vintage (2005)

Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy: The Special Education Survival Guide
by Pam Wright and Pete Wright; Harbor House Law Press (2006)

The Gift of Dyslexia
by Ronald D. Davis, Eldon M. Braun; Penguin Group-USA (1997)
(first published May 1, 1993)

The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain
by Brock and Fernette Eide M.D.; Plume (2012)

Dyslexia Support Organizations

The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity
The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity serves as a nexus for research on dyslexia, and is as well a leading source of advocacy and information to better the lives of people with dyslexia.
http://dyslexia.yale.edu/

The International Dyslexia Association
This well-known organization provides general information and support for persons with dyslexia. The following link presents an online Dyslexia Self-Assessment for Adults
http://www.interdys.org/AreYouDyslexic_AdultTest.htm
FAQ page: http://www.interdys.org/FAQ.htm

Decoding Dyslexia
Decoding Dyslexia is a network of parent-led grassroots movements across the country concerned with the limited access to educational interventions for dyslexia within the public education system. We aim to raise dyslexia awareness, empower families to support their children and inform policy-makers on best practices to identify, remediate and support students with dyslexia.
For more information and to learn if your state has an affiliate branch of this organization (currently 47 states do), please visit the link provided here.
http://www.decodingdyslexia.net/

National Center for Learning Disabilities (Section on Dyslexia)
The National Center for Learning Disabilities improves the lives of all people with learning difficulties and disabilities by empowering parents, enabling young adults, transforming schools, and creating policy and advocacy impact. The link to follow here provides general information, dyslexia symptoms/warning signs categorized by grade level and resources to help parents and teachers.
http://ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/dyslexia

Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy
Parents, educators, advocates, and attorneys come to Wrightslaw for accurate, reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities. - See more at: http://wrightslaw.com/#sthash.ajmQK87L.dpuf
http://wrightslaw.com/

Dyslegia: A Legislative Information Site
This website is maintained by Davis Dyslexia Association International to report and track pending legislation in the United States. This blog-based web site is a resource for sharing information about legislative initiatives, as a forum for discussion and exploration of policy issues, and as a communications tool to encourage citizen participation and involvement with their representatives in government.
http://www.dyslegia.com/

For more information on customizable reading tools for all kinds of challenged readers, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Saturday, October 25, 2014

FREE Literacy Apps for ALL Kinds of Struggling Readers

The month of October is always an "active" month for us, and this October 2014 definitely did not disappoint! It has been a very busy week here at Brennan Innovators with quite a number of parent phone consultations, the continuous packing and shipping of Reading Focus Card orders and the finalizing of preparations for a new product launch! Yes, a new product (unlike anything we've offered previously)! Next week in our blog article, we'll be telling you all about it, too. (Patience, patience, please!)

Traditionally at this part of October, parents and teachers are also meeting for the first conferences of the school year to discuss student progress. Also by this time in the semester, it can be fairly apparent to an educator if a student is experiencing issues with one or more reading skills. There might be a problem with focus and attention or fluency. Comprehension or retention of what is read could be issues. Parents may notice that it takes "forever" for their child to complete reading or written assignments at home. Other red flags might be raised, and solutions are urgently sought to help the challenged reader improve the deficient reading skills.

This week, we wanted to respond to a large number of email and phone requests as well as the many recent searches on our blog for "struggling reader apps." We thought we'd even take it a little further and offer a list of FREE apps in this often-requested category. In addition, we wanted to provide these apps for ALL kinds of challenged readers---for young, new readers, adolescents, middle-school readers, low-vision readers and even an application for teachers of struggling readers.

So, we hope that you will take a minute or two to survey the list of FREE iPad and Android apps we have created here for struggling readers in your life. We also hope you will discover at least one of them that will offer your child or students the help needed to read with much more success Oh, yes, and don't forget to check back here next week for that new product announcement! We think you'll be glad you did!

FREE Literacy Apps for Struggling Readers

8 Apps For Struggling Adolescent Readers (for Android & iPad)
by Hope Mulholland, Te@chThought
FREE apps that provide e-books, audiobooks and more for challenged teen readers can be found here.
http://www.teachthought.com/apps-2/8-apps-for-struggling-adolescent-readers/

Free App: One Minute Reader (Android & iPad)
If you have a child struggling with reading, download the free One Minute Reader app for iPad on iTunes. This app from the respected Minnesota-based company, Reading Naturally, contains a placement process to decide what reading level is right for your child and includes one FREE story from each level.
For Android: http://filedir.com/android/books-reference/one-minute-reader-3899592.html)
For iPad: http://oneminutereader.com/

Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read (Compatible with iPhone, iPad, & iPod touch-Optimized for iPhone 5)
by Hooked on Phonics
This FREE app is based on the award-winning Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read system. Millions of kids have learned to read using Hooked on Phonics. Now, we are proud to introduce our exciting new digital reading program!
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hooked-on-phonics-helping/id588868907?mt=8

Phonics Genius (Compatible with iPhone, iPad, & iPod touch)
by Innovative Mobile Apps
Over 6,000 words grouped by phonics sounds! This FREE app is an excellent resource for teaching phonemic awareness!
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/phonics-genius/id461659980?mt=8

iCam Magnifier (Compatible with iPhone, iPad, & iPod touch-Optimized for iPhone 5)
FREE low vision app from Clarix (iCam is a low vision magnifier and reader for your iPhone or iPad. It features 5 high-contrast false color modes, as well as black and white, and color. If you struggle with reading, iCam can help magnify printed text. With an optional light, use it in dim lit rooms, restaurants, home, etc. It can be used to read menus, receipts, pill bottles & more.)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/icam-magnifier/id628567362?ls=1&mt=8

Fluency Tutor™ for Google (Android)
by TextHelp, Ltd.
Fluency Tutor™ for Google is a FREE, easy-to-use reading and assessment tool that helps busy teachers support struggling readers.
Great for time-stretched teachers, Fluency Tutor™ for Google lets students practice reading aloud at their own pace.
Make reading aloud more fun and satisfying for even your most reluctant students. It’s also great for early readers and individuals learning English as a second language. (Student app is used in conjunction with the Teacher app.)
Teacher App: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/fluency-tutor-for-google/ejajakfhhhhkifioabcekjjlhpoiijfa (available from the Chrome Web Store)
Student App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.texthelp.fluencytutorstudent (available from Google Play)

For more information on customizable reading tools for all kinds of challenged readers, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Saturday, October 18, 2014

BEST Literacy Apps for Kids

Last weekend, we had the great privilege of attending the “2014 Literacy for All Conference: The Community Reads” presented by the Harris-Stowe State University College of Education and the St. Louis Suburban Council of the International Reading Association. Brennan Innovators has participated and exhibited at this annual conference for the past five years, and each year, the speakers have been excellent.

We want to especially thank Dr. Betty Porter-Walls, faculty member at the university, for organizing and presenting this event all of those five years. Her enthusiasm has always been infectious, and as a result, attendees have always left the conferences re-inspired, re-energized and ready to promote literacy in their classrooms in new and exciting ways. With Dr. Betty's brand of organization, preparation and enthusiasm on tap once again, this year was no exception.

The session topics at the conference were timely yet practical. From “Tips to Make a Guided Reading Program More Effective” [K-6] by Dr. Sam Bommarito to "Using Favorite Read-Alouds to Develop Curriculum [PK-3] by Ms. Julia Auch, the conference offered much to the educators who attended last Saturday's event.

We spoke with many teachers that day who took time to visit us at our Reading Focus Cards' exhibit table. A number of them commented on the increasing number of challenged readers coming to their classrooms. A few educators mentioned that students are so easily distracted when attempting to read a selection. Others cited that their students need some type of sustained visual stimulation (i.e. pictures, color, graphics or technology) to stay on-task or to effectively learn concepts. These were only two of the reasons why conference attendees visited us at the event. We demonstrated and allowed the teachers to interact with the Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759), our low-tech tools for challenged readers. We appreciated their high level of interest in wanting to help students who struggle to read.

More than a few times, the attendees requested apps and tech tools to assist with building reading skills such as phonemic awareness, phonics and fluency---in addition to help with focusing and tracking. We provided them with handouts that included strategies and website links to aid them.

Because of the teachers' requests and a similar demand experienced recently with our other clients and customers, we decided to provide our blog readers this week with a list of literacy apps for educators and parents to help children build some of those all-important reading skills. We included both iPad and Android apps in the list and grouped them into different reading skill categories. We have found these to be some of the most frequently recommended reading skills apps currently available. We believe the apps in this list will definitely do much to entice reluctant readers to begin reading, keep unfocused readers engaged, and provide the colorful visuals to get students excited about reading everyday---all while improving reading skill levels. We hope you and a struggling reader you know will benefit from the use of at least one of them!

FREE Literacy Apps for Kids

Apps for Phonemic Awareness

ABC Magic Reading 1 - Short Vowel Words (FREE)
by Preschool University
This sampler app can help your child’s future reading success by giving your child key reading skills practice.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/abc-reading-magic-1-short/id416896853?mt=8

100+ Top Apps for Phonemic Awareness (for iPhone/iPad---FREE & various prices)
A long list of iPhone and iPad apps to help increase phonemic awareness for various grade levels.
http://appcrawlr.com/ios-apps/best-apps-phonemic-awareness

50+ Top Apps for Phonemic Awareness (for Android---FREE & various prices)
A collection of Android apps to help increase phonemic awareness for various grade levels.
http://appcrawlr.com/app/search?_src=sort_&max=12&q=phonemic+awareness&query=best-apps-phonemic-awareness&prefix=top-apps&price=&device=android&sort=&trigger=deviceChange

Apps for Phonics

ABC Magic Phonics (FREE)
by Preschool University
This app will help your child learn the sounds of the letters of the alphabet, which are necessary for reading. Learning the sounds of the letters gives your child the tools for reading and helps them become better readers. A matching phonetic photo image is matched with each letter to help your child learn the sound of each letter.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/abc-magic-phonics/id404048724?mt=8

ABC Pocket Phonics: Letter Sounds & Writing + First Words (Price: FREE & $6.99)
by Apps in My Pocket Ltd.(For iPhone and iPad)
This "universal" app teaches the basics of reading and writing to young children.
Lite version (FREE): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/abc-pocketphonics-lite/id302689971?mt=8
Full version ($6.99): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/abc-pocketphonics-letter-sounds/id299342927?mt=8

Sight Word Flip It (Price: $3.99)
by ReadingResource.net
Sight Word Flip It was carefully designed by two reading specialists who have taught 100s of children to read. Not many literacy apps can make this claim! Sight Word Flip It offers an effective and engaging way for kids to learn high frequency sight words.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sight-word-flip-it/id675328955?mt=8

Starfall ABCs (Price: $2.99)
by Starfall Education
The "ABCs" section of Starfall.com's well-loved website is now available as a universal application for your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Our activities motivate through positive reinforcement and play. (Note: App contains the ABC letter section only, NOT the whole website)
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/starfall-abcs/id395623983?mt=8

Apps for Fluency

Read With Me Fluency (Price: $4.99)
by sleek-geek inc.
Many educators have been looking for a system that would actually decrease the workload required for student reading assessment. This app appears to meet this need.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/read-with-me-fluency/id635704413?mt=8

Fluency (Price: $2.99)
by Michael Tillyer
Teachers can help students become better and more confident readers with this app. Children use the power of self correction to improve their own reading skills.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fluency/id474403640?mt=8

K-12 Timed Reading Practice Lite (FREE)
by k-12 Inc.
This app allows readers in grades K-4 to practice fluency, the ability to read smoothly and quickly (timed).
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/k12-timed-reading-practice/id384484818?mt=8

Reading Focus Cards (Patent 8,360,779) (for Macs & Windows PCs---Price: $5.99)
From Brennan Innovators, LLC
This DESKTOP app is the digital version of the physical Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759), solutions for struggling readers. This app for Windows PCs and Macs provides practical READING SUPPORT for children and adults with ADHD, dyslexia, autism and other conditions that can affect reading success. It promotes more FOCUS, FLUENCY and VISUAL COMFORT for online reading of almost ALL digital media (webpages, PDF files, Word docs, Excel spreadsheets & more.) In addition, the Reading Focus Card app is compatible with and supports touch-screen technology. The application can be moved on the screen over text by the fingers, mouse or arrow keys as needed.

1. For Windows PCs:
Visit the Microsoft Windows Store and search for the app called "Reading Focus Cards."
(No URLs are ever provided for apps in the Windows Store.)

2. Another option to access this Windows PC version:
Visit Gumroad at https://gumroad.com/l/ReadingFocusCards

3. For Macs:
Visit the Mac App Store and search for "Read and Focus" or go directly to
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/read-and-focus/id920617853?mt=12

For more information on customizable reading tools to improve focus and attention, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image courtesy of:
Clip Art Lord at http://www.clipartlord.com/free-tablet-computer-clip-art/
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com