Some reading programs require a special instructor. Others are designed for use in the classroom. Then there are the programs that parents can use to help their child at home. Parents looking for the top reading programs for struggling readers might have a lot of choices once they begin their search…which might begin online.
Conveniently, one of the top reading programs for struggling readers is also an app that can be downloaded to a parent’s phone or even a tablet!
Children and Tech Time
Many districts and schools utilize one-to-one computing, with children receiving a laptop or Chromebook for lessons. These small laptop computers stay with children and may even come home with them as they get into higher grade levels—like middle school and high school. Class assignments may be completed and then turned in electronically on these school-issued devices. With technology so tightly woven into academia, many children are confident using these devices, and computers and portable devices may be second-nature to them.
Using technology at home for educational purposes could be a great way for parents to mimic the learning environment from the classroom. And if children like to use technology or prefer to use technology, then games or apps designed to help enrich their learning may be a good choice.
Some parents may worry, though, about their child having too much screen time. The American Academy of Pediatrics emphasizes a healthy balance between technology and other activities. Screen time should not interfere with good healthy habits, and those screens and devices should not interrupt eating, sleeping or physical activity.
However, parents may set their own limitations on screen use at home. Screen time and how long children stare at these screens and use devices may vary per household. Families should focus on guidelines that work for their needs and comfort. In fact, creating a family media plan is encouraged by the experts. Healthychildren.org even offers an online tool that lets parents create their own Family Media Use Plan.
Using an App for Learning
Parents might incorporate the use of a learning app like a reading program for struggling readers into their Family Media Use Plan. Perhaps the time spent using the app goes toward a child’s screen time rules. Parents can create their own guidelines.
Using an app for learning, though, could be beneficial for kids who learn best via technology. However, children don’t have to be incredibly media savvy to use a reading app. Many are easy to navigate, and parents can sit with children and help them as they learn.
Free trial periods also could allow parents and children to get acquainted with a program and explore all features, see how the program works and if it is beneficial for the child’s struggles. Parents researching different programs might wish to inquire about these trial periods. For example, Readability offers a week-long free trial.
Benefits of Apps
While some children may thrive with technology, there are many other reasons why parents might opt for an app-based reading program. Apps are incredibly convenient, subscriptions are often budget-friendly, and some app-based programs can be used by more than one child.
Parents who own a smartphone or a tablet know that apps can be downloaded to these devices for accessibility on the go. Children who need help with reading also might have many other activities beyond just school. Parents may be shuttling them to sports practices, camps, dance, scouts or other extracurricular activities.
Time in the car may be plentiful. And while books are portable, parents aren’t always able to sit in the backseat with a child to help them read. Struggling readers may need guidance, and reading apps like Readability can provide reading guidance and instruction in the car, on the bleachers at a sibling’s ball game or anywhere there is wi-fi, a hot spot or cell phone service. However, families with data use plans that are limited in minutes might need to be vigilant when using apps on the go.
Reading programs for children may vary in price. App-based programs might be more affordable. Readability offers a subscription-based service that is charged per month. A subscription, though, can be cancelled at any time. Parents aren’t locked in for an entire year or multiple months at a time. When the child is finished using the app or if they have reached a point of grade-level proficiency, then parents can cancel at any time.
Readability also isn’t hard on a family’s finances. The monthly subscription price is only $19.99 per month.
Multiple Users for One Account
Reading programs may charge parents for a subscription monthly, but some also may charge per child, too. Other apps—like Readability—allow for up to three children to sign up with one account. That means parents can set up separate users while only paying for one monthly subscription. Families with three children who need help with reading will essentially pay less than $7 per child per month for the app subscription.
Before signing up for an app or other reading program, parents might want to inquire about multiple users on an account. Some programs allow multiple users, but others might not. This is important to consider when more than one child needs the benefits of a reading program.
Is a Reading App Enough? There Are Never Too Many Books and Reading Experiences!
Reading programs for struggling readers can help boost a child’s confidence, help them become more proficient readers and also help them with comprehension. But is one program or one app enough?
The more a child reads, the better reader they may become. Reading skills build over time, and confidence will also build as a child reads more each day. While a program like Readability might help boost a child’s proficiency or may help them meet grade-level benchmarks, parents also might wish to encourage children to read beyond the lessons on the app.
Books are an adventure, and the joy of reading is important, too. Parents can help spark this joy by planning trips to the library to encourage children to pick out books that interest them. Most libraries have designated sections for children. Parents can sit down and let their child explore all the different books (of course, parents also should supervise children).
Letting a child choose their books, however, might help them become more excited about reading. Before the trip to the library, parents can also talk to children about the books they may want to read. Parents and children also could start their own family book club and read the same book together…then discuss it. Book clubs also could be themed for holidays, special events or even historical events.
Libraries also often offer their own reading programs during the summer months. These programs can help encourage children to read during the long break so that they don’t encounter the “summer slide,” which is a term that refers to a decline in academic abilities during the summer (especially math and reading). Libraries could offer incentives for participating in their summer reading programs; some could offer prizes or other cool rewards.
Local libraries also could offer other events that can help children get excited about books. Storytimes for young children are a popular and fun way for parents to socialize their children and get them out of the house for a fun hour of listening to books and stories (some libraries even offer crafts). Every local library may offer their own activities and events, so call or visit their website to find out about different offerings.
Children’s schools also sometimes participate in reading programs sponsored by local restaurants or even theme parks. One popular program is Pizza Hut’s BOOK IT! program, which lets children earn a free personal pan pizza for their reading efforts. Parents interested in finding out what programs their school participates in should reach out to their child’s teacher.
Explore the World of Reading Beyond Books
The Readability blog often mentions other ways to get children interested and immersed in books. Obviously, reading books is crucial to becoming a more confident and skilled reader. However, parents also can enhance the book with activities to help children actually step into the story. Cook up recipes for foods found in a child’s favorite book, go on a book field trip to a place mentioned in a story or book, watch the movie after the child finishes the book…think outside the book and explore the story in unique ways!
Parents also can take a different kind of reading field trip. Everyone can pack a book and head out to nature. Go to a park, the beach or even the backyard, lay out a blanket and read outdoors. Sometimes transforming the reading space can help the reading journey become more enjoyable. After all, books aren’t just to be read in bed, on the couch or at school…they can go anywhere!