Children in elementary school could struggle with reading for a number of reasons. Phonics/phonetics might impede a child’s ability to decode words and read fluently. Other children can struggle with understanding the story; they may have trouble retelling or identifying the answers to basic comprehension questions.
Children who struggle to read could avoid reading. However, some children begin to perceive reading as homework, avoid it and then perhaps fall behind. When a child isn’t reading at grade-level, parents can use a reading app to help them at home. What is the best app for struggling readers? Look for these features to uncover the best app:
- Read-aloud lesson format
- Comprehension tools and assessments
- Leveled books
- Immersive and interactive components
- Engaging content
- Vocabulary enrichment
- Audiobook options
How are Apps Priced?
Parents might be used to searching for apps via the App Store or Google Play. Many of these apps are low-priced or even free. With free apps, though, parents might contend with the issue of in-app purchases; unless this option is disabled, children might be able to purchase items in an app or game that is charged to a parent’s account.
Reading apps that are designed to provide guided instruction or children are often free to download but they also require a subscription to access. How does this work? Parents download the app, but an account is required to begin the instructional components of the program.
Reading apps are all priced differently, and may have different tiers of subscription choices, too. Readability offers one monthly subscription and is priced at $19.99. However, parents can use one Readability subscription for up to three users.
As instructional apps are a monthly financial commitment, many offer free trial periods that allow parents to explore them. Readability lets parents sign-up for a free seven-day trial that allows access to all the components of the program.
What Features are Important for a Reading Program or App?
App-based reading apps are designed differently. Not every program is an ideal fit for every child, but there are specific features on which parents might focus to ensure that the program can help their child and keep them engaged in lessons.
Older children might read silently. However, reading apps that are designed to help struggling readers might focus on a read-aloud format. Why is this format beneficial?
Reading aloud helps children hear the story and also hear themselves as they read the story. With Readability, reading aloud also is important as the program includes a built-in AI tutor that’s programmed with voice recognition software.
The AI tutor learns each child’s voice. When a child reads stories aloud with Readability, the tutor can identify if the child needs help. For example, a child might struggle to decode a word or they might mispronounce a word. The tutor picks up the error or struggle and provides help.
Children don’t work alone when using Readability. Every child has their own built-in reading tutor for guided instruction.
Comprehension Tools and Assessments
Not all children struggle with comprehension. Those who do struggle with this aspect of literacy, though, need tools that help them better understand the story. Readability includes assessments at the end of each story that gauges the child’s understanding of what they read.
When a child finishes a story or book in Readability, the AI tutor asks them a series of questions about the book. If a child answers the question incorrectly, the tutor will show them the section of the story that provides clues to correctly answer the question. The tutor also reads the portion of the book aloud.
This is how Readability helps children learn to go back and re-read sections to help improve their understanding. Re-reading can be a valuable learning skill for children who struggle with comprehension, and Readability helps reinforce this learning habit.
Reading programs need to be correctly leveled for each child. If lessons are too difficult, children will become frustrated and tune out.
Readability lets parents set the reading level for their child so that the program begins at the correct starting point for each reader. However, if a parent doesn’t know their child’s reading level, the program can determine the best reading level.
Readability ensures that books are perfectly leveled to help children gain confidence and advance to more difficult levels as they demonstrate proficiency.
Immersive and Interactive Components
Younger readers might lose interest if lessons are simply devoted to just reading stories aloud. Readability encourages children to explore the books they are enjoying.
Every book in a child’s leveled library includes immersive and colorful illustrations. These pictures help break up the text and help children identify the action of the story.
Children also can explore words in every book. They can tap any word to hear the word’s definition or hear it used in a sentence. Every discovered word is added to a child’s individual word bank; they can revisit all their vocabulary words and hear them again and again to gain fluency and understanding.
Older elementary students don’t want to read books written for first graders. Older children who struggle to read might find their book choices limited; the books their friends enjoy might be too difficult for them. Yet, lower-grade books are just too young for their interests.
Readability includes high/low books for older readers; these books are written for a child’s interests and grade-level while also being appropriate for their reading level. High refers to high-interest and low refers to a lower reading level.
Children can enjoy reading about favorite sports stars or stories featuring fun new fictional characters. Readability features many award-winning authors. Many books in Readability also are included in Accelerated Reader (AR); children can take AR quizzes at school on books they read while using Readability.
Children can tap any word in a book to hear the definition or listen to the word used in a sentence. However, Readability also includes a vocabulary list for every book in a child’s leveled library.
Readability helps children expand their vocabulary knowledge and explore new words, too. Vocabulary skills and mastery are integral in the reading journey. Understanding the meaning of words helps children better understand the meaning of a sentence, a paragraph and the story as a whole.
Children can access all their vocabulary words to review them again and again to gain mastery.
Some children learn best through hearing and are auditory learners. One of the best features that parents can look for in a reading app for auditory learners is the option for audiobook content.
Not only do these narrated stories help auditory learners, but they also provide children a chance to enjoy a storytime experience anywhere. Readability includes the Storytime feature; children can listen to their favorite books and follow along, too.
Storytime can be accessed anywhere. Children can listen to stories at a sibling’s sports practice, in the car or just at home. Parents don’t have to pay for these audiobooks; they are included for free with every Readability subscription.
Choosing the best reading app for a child isn’t always easy. However, parents who are interested in using an app that offers all the key features for reading success can sign up for a free seven-day Readability trial period. Children can meet the AI reading tutor that will help guide their reading journey and explore new books and stories, too.