Yes, Jack plays with my iPad. We like to look through the pictures in my camera roll together, watch little music videos, and play a few games.

A few months ago I downloaded an app that I thought would be fun for Jack. He loves it and interacts with it like crazy! It’s called Endless ABC by Callaway Digital Arts. It is free. Here is a screenshot.

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It’s basically a series of interactive flash cards that show words and explode their letters over the screen. You drag them back to where they go and they make silly letter sounds as you drag them. Once you put the word back together there is a celebration and then a cute video with little monster creatures that illustrates the word.

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Jack started off by playing one of the words, ‘flop’, over and over again. How many times could I listen to feu, feu, feu, feu? I asked myself… Soon after he started playing that game I saw him finding Fs all over the place. From the car, we’d be stopped in traffic near signs with Fs and he’d shriek feu, feu, feu, feu! Then, when he tried out other words it started to happen with Ns and then other letters.

When he plays Endless ABC he’s constantly making sounds – repeating the words, the letter sounds, and calling out to the creatures in the videos.

Now, at 2 1/2, he absolutely loves letters, their sounds, and their names. When he sees words he scans them for the ones he knows and delights in pointing them out to me and making their sounds.

I know that the game plays a large roll in this. I also know that it is but one aspect. It’s a wonderful tool within a family culture of reading. What else do I do to support reading?

When we put on clothing with words on them, we look for the ones we know. Jack was so excited when he found the F on this shirt!

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His crib is filled with books and before any sleep time, he reads a book to me. Ok. Maybe more than one. Sometimes I read to him, sometimes we read to each other.

When we get in the truck, we look for the letters on the dashboard. He first pointed out the FF on the CD player and it grew from there.

His grandfather bought him an alphabet puzzle on a recent trip and we play it together often.

He sits with me when I read my books, sometimes digitally, sometimes on paper, and he watches. And he says, ‘mommy book’.

Our house is covered with books. His and mine.

We celebrate letters, words, and books. When a book gets torn I become ‘mommy book doctor’ and he watches while I tape it back together.

Oh, and when he plays Endless ABC, or any other digital game, we do it together. It is not his babysitter…

So learning to read and to celebrate reading is so much more than an app or a phonics program and Endless ABC is definitely a fun addition to our family reading culture.