In this Lou Adventures review, we’ll take a closer look at one of the most popular reading apps out there and see if it’s worth your time.
As parents, we know that one of the most important skills we can instill in our children is a love of reading.
Reading helps kids develop their imagination, attention span, comprehension, problem-solving, and analytical skills.
Plus, a child who reads confidently will have an easier time tackling other skills, too. After all, almost every school subject is built on a foundation of reading.
Building a love of reading can feel difficult, though, especially in today’s world where so many other forms of entertainment might seem to crowd out old-fashioned books.
Happily, though, you don’t need to battle with your child to get them interested in the written word.
There are tons of strategies, games, and apps available that are designed to foster a love of reading through play.
One such app is Lou Adventures, designed to hook kids with entertaining games and challenges while building their reading fluency, comprehension, and literacy skills.
In our Lou Adventures review, we take a closer look at what the app has to offer, who it’s geared towards, and how it works.
Read on to see if Lou Adventures might be a good fit for your young reader this summer!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost for you, we might get a commission if you click the link and purchase.
What is Lou Adventures?
Lou Adventures is an interactive learning story for kids that helps them improve their reading skills through a fun, adventurous game.
Users follow Lou, a friendly talking yellow Lab, as he leads them on adventures and helps them solve mysteries.
As kids click through different pages, they read passages aloud, play games, and answer comprehension-based questions to unlock the next section.
The storylines are designed to draw kids in and keep them guessing about what happens next. Meanwhile, literacy skills are incorporated into the process to help them level up their reading abilities.
Lou Adventures uses speech recognition technology to monitor how accurately users are reading each mystery passage out loud. The app also records your child’s reading, making it easy to play it back and reflect.
Lou Adventures also tracks the number of questions your young reader answers and how many they get correct.
Parents can quickly glance at this information on the site’s Parent Dashboard, making it a convenient way to monitor growth and reward progress.
How Does Lou Adventures Build Literacy?
Reading is a more complex skill than many parents and guardians might initially remember.
There are several keys needed to unlock a child’s ability to read effectively.
To be an effective reader, a child needs to read with fluency. This means they’re able to read with speed, accuracy, and appropriate expression.
Being able to haltingly sound out individual words is not the same as being a fluent reader.
Effective readers also display a high level of comprehension. After they’ve read a story, children with strong reading comprehension can retell the main events and think critically about the plot.
Just because a child can read a passage out loud, doesn’t mean that he or she was necessarily able to absorb the meaning of the words.
Other literacy skills, like being able to determine what new words mean or make inferences about what a character may be thinking, also help kids access deeper meaning as they become better readers.
It can be hard to build fluency, comprehension, and other literacy skills into a reading program for kids without making it feel too much like schoolwork, but Lou Adventures does an admirable job blending these skills while keeping the gameplay entertaining.
Read-Aloud for Fluency
The verbal read-aloud portion of Lou Adventures helps students practice their fluency in real-time.
Since the app records your child’s reading, you can play it back to help them recognize where they’re soaring and where they might be stumbling. You can also use the recordings to notice patterns and trends in your child’s ability.
Younger or more hesitant readers can also opt to listen to Lou read the passages out loud instead of reading them aloud themselves.
Listening to a text while reading it is a proven way to help young students build fluency and understanding.
Quick Questions for Comprehension
Comprehension questions follow each part of the unfolding mystery story as Lou asks kids about what they’ve just read.
If a child is confused by the question and responds incorrectly, Lou will prompt them to reread key highlighted parts of the text to find the answers.
This is an easy way to build an important habit. Strong readers are able to go back to the text and figure out why an answer is correct, instead of blindly guessing.
The game keeps the stories engaging, with each passage revealing a bit more of the mystery plot, so the reading load never feels too overwhelming or heavy-handed.
The questions are fairly quick and easy (think multiple choice, not short-answer essays), but still help kids get in the habit of supporting their answers with text-based evidence.
Gameplay for Literacy Skills
Lou Adventures also allows kids to develop their literacy skills through gameplay, a fun way to strengthen their abilities. In two of its newest games, readers are able to complete challenges to learn new words.
Rather than simply matching vocabulary to definitions, Lou Adventures provides kids with word-comprehension strategies that actually make them stronger readers.
One of the games, for example, asks users to place new words correctly in a sentence.
This helps readers use context clues to figure out what an unknown word most likely means, a skill that will serve them across a variety of subjects.
Another Lou Adventures game is based on finding synonyms, a useful strategy for young readers trying to determine the definition of a new vocabulary word.
The passages, questions, and games presented by Lou Adventures are meant to be fun, but they also promote reading strategies that kids can apply to anything they need to read and understand.
Who is Lou Adventures Good For?
Lou Adventures is an ideal resource for mid-elementary school grades. Think ages 7-10: not so young they need constant support, but not so old that they’re disinterested in the app’s storylines.
Lou Adventures is tailored towards readers who have the right building blocks in place, but will still benefit from extra literacy practice and skills building.
Lou Adventures is not designed to teach kids how to read from the ground up, so it’s not the app to rely on if you’ve got a Kindergarten or first-grade student just starting to work on letter sounds.
On the other hand, middle schoolers may still benefit from the literacy skills and practice, but may not be as entertained by Lou and his antics as their younger siblings.
Readers in second through fifth grade, meanwhile, are able to take full advantage of everything this engaging app has to offer.
Kids at this stage are just the right audience for Lou’s fun and silly mystery stories.
Plus, the difficulty level of the passages, questions, and games should be challenging for these readers without being exhausting.
Parents and caregivers can keep track of how well the app is working for their children by checking into the site’s built-in dashboard to see their growth.
The parent dashboard provided by Lou Adventures also creates a nice level of independence for your elementary-grade reader.
There’s no need to hover over their shoulder (unless you’re having fun playing together), but you can still monitor exactly how much progress your kiddo is making.
What Does Lou Adventures Cost?
Lou Adventures is completely free, unlike many online reading apps that charge a monthly or yearly subscription fee.
Parents and kids can enjoy this interactive experience without being charged at all.
Keep in mind, however, that Lou Adventures is only available through the App Store for iPhone or iPad.
With ratings hovering at 4.8 out of 5 stars, it’s clear that parents and kids alike are enjoying Lou Adventures.
Many parent reviews note that not only were their kids engaged in the stories and enjoying reading, but the app itself didn’t lag or result in any glitches on their phones.
Final Thoughts on Lou Adventures
As the summer months roll by, many families may be in search of ways to keep their kids interested in reading while enjoying a break from school.
Lou Adventures is an ideal app for the student between the ages of 7-10 who knows the basics but could benefit from more reading and literacy practice.
Lou makes for an appealingly friendly guide dog as kids unravel mysteries and search for clues. Meanwhile, the parent dashboard makes it easy for grownups to check in without being obtrusive.
The app seamlessly makes recording, prompting, and monitoring your child’s progress part of the gameplay as Lou walks them through each section of the mystery they’re trying to solve.
Options to hear the passages read aloud makes Lou Adventures inclusive even for more reluctant readers, while interactive games painlessly help your child become more confident at reading on their own.
Add in the fact that the app is completely free – not a temporary free trial – and you’ve got even more reason to let your elementary school reader check it out.
Lou Adventures is a fun way to mix up your child’s reading routine and help them build skills that will make them better readers in all subject areas.
No mystery to that!
Have any questions about our Lou Adventures review? Do you know of any other great reading apps for engaging elementary-age students? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
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