Duolingo releases a free iPhone and iPad app to help kids learn to read

Duolingo Abc Panorama Image
Duolingo Abc Panorama Image (Image credit: Duolingo)

What you need to know

  • A new Duolingo app helps kids learn to read.
  • It's aimed at ages 3 through 6.
  • Duolingo ABC includes over 300 lessons.

If you're dealing with homeschooling your kids right now you're probably on the lookout for all the help you can get. That's why Duolingo has released its ABC app ahead of schedule. It was set to be released at some point in the future, bug given the coronavirus situation, the company decided to do parents a solid and get it out now.

And boy are we glad that decision was made!

We decided to release this app early (this week) in order to help meet the needs of the many parents who are now homeschooling their kids in light of COVID-19. Duolingo ABC includes over 300 fun, bite-sized lessons teaching the alphabet, phonics, and sight words.

Duolingo ABC is aimed at kids from three through six years old and hopes to help teach them to read via 300 different lessons. And there's a ton going on in this free app, although you need to be in the UK, US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or Ireland to get your hands on it.

Duolingo outlines its methodology so:

Phonemic Awareness The ability to recognize and manipulate the individual sounds in spoken words.Phonics Systematic knowledge of the relationships between written symbols and spoken sounds.Comprehension The ability to engage with text to unlock the meanings of words, sentences, and longer passages.Fluency The ability to read text quickly and accurately.

You probably can't sit your kid down with an iPad and Duolingo ABC and expect them to teach themselves, but there's plenty on offer here – especially when you remember that the whole thing doesn't cost a penny!

Children can learn independently The app is child-friendly and designed specifically for younger users. There are no ads or in-app purchases of any kind.Guided handwriting lessons Letter writing activities teach each lowercase and capital letter. Personalized lessons teach children how to write their own name.Assisted Reading The course includes dozens of fully illustrated short stories. Speech recognition gives children real-time feedback while they read aloud.Decoding and Sight Words The app teaches how to blend sounds together to "decode" simple words. Children learn high-frequency sight words through repeated exposure.

You can download Duolingo ABC for free from the App Store now.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.