In kindergarten, children are learning the basics of reading. They are exploring sound blends, memorizing sight words and reading easy text. By fifth grade, students will be preparing for middle school. Their reading is likely focused on chapter books, and they are learning more abstract concepts.
The years between kindergarten and fifth grade represent an accumulation of reading knowledge. Each year offers different milestones and unique academic benchmarks. When a child struggles with reading at any grade level, however, parents may need to offer help. How do parents find the best elementary school reading apps for their child’s grade level?
Determine a Child’s Struggles
A child’s reading struggles may be focused on reading fluency or decoding or comprehension. Some children may struggle with both decoding and comprehension. Finding the best tools to help a child who struggles with reading may depend on identifying their specific challenges.
Parents also may take a step back and review data from the school related to their child’s reading mastery. Many schools will communicate with parents about their child’s reading progress. Schools may test children’s reading abilities throughout the year; these scores can provide a snapshot of both the child’s reading abilities and their progress, too.
A child could have been hitting reading benchmarks in lower grades but suddenly began to struggle as reading expectations became more difficult. Other children might have been making literacy gains but were still reading below grade level.
Reviewing reading scores and tests from the school can help parents better understand the areas in which their child is struggling. Contacting the child’s teacher to discuss reading concerns also can help open up a dialogue about how best parents can help at home. Teachers may offer suggestions. Sometimes teachers can provide parents with educational sites that children use at school that also can be used for at-home enrichment.
Finding the Best Elementary School Leveled Reading Apps
There are a number of ways that parents can help their child with reading at home. For younger children who struggle, parents may read with them and help them sound out words or ask them questions about the story as they read. In early elementary grades, comprehension usually focuses on the basic w/h questions: who, what, where, when, why and how.
In later elementary grades, children may be reading chapter books. Parents may still read with children, tackling the book chapter by chapter, and then talking about events and characters.
However, as books are longer and as literacy expectations become more complex, it may be more difficult for parents to zero in on their child’s struggles. In later elementary grades, comprehension may be focused on ‘interpretive’ understanding that requires deeper thinking. Interpretive comprehension involves inferencing.
Some parents can help children who struggle to read between the lines of a story to make predictions, but other parents might not know how to explain these more abstract comprehension concepts. Inferencing requires children to dig deeper and pick up on clues and insights in the text. This type of comprehension isn’t black and white.
Reading apps can help bridge the gaps between what parents know how to explain and maybe what they don’t. Reading apps can be used by children in all grade-levels, but parents need to find the best apps to meet their child’s needs and provide the tools to help them.
Free Apps and Subscription Reading Apps for Elementary School
Parents can search for reading apps via the App Store or Google Play—depending on the type of device they use. Searching for reading apps, though, will bring up a long list of results. Many of these apps are free to download, but, when parents start researching and exploring each app, they may realize that full use of the app requires a subscription.
Other apps are offered in a game format. These might not require any subscription, but these apps might offer in-app purchases. This means that children can make purchases in the game. Phones let parents turn off this option, and parents might consider deactivating the in-app purchase option. Otherwise, they may end up with surprise charges.
Are subscription apps better than free reading apps? Typically, subscription apps are designed with a lesson-based approach to reading. These apps may provide more one-on-one help for children who struggle with reading.
Free apps can be a good choice, though, when parents need to help their child practice sight words or learn letters and sounds. Free apps may have more basic offerings, but children may find the game-based approach to be a fun way to master key concepts.
Are Subscription Reading Apps Designed for all Grade Levels?
With subscription apps, parents may have a lot of different choices. Are subscription-based reading apps designed for all elementary school grade levels? The answer really depends on each particular reading app.
Parents should know their child’s reading struggles when researching the best app for their child. They also might look for reading apps that will grow with a child? What does this mean? If a child is in first grade and is struggling with reading, parents may research apps that can be used to help them throughout elementary school. In this situation, parents may prefer reading apps that can be used through fifth grade.
Subscription reading apps will include the age or grade-level range for which the app is designed. If a program can be used throughout elementary school, the app will note this.
Some reading apps may be designed for younger children but most are focused on the elementary school years. This period is a crucial time for literacy development, and many apps will provide help for children until fifth grade. Readability can be used from preschool to fifth grade!
Finding the Best Reading App for the Money
When reading apps require a subscription to use, parents may be cautious about the investment. How much does a reading app subscription cost? Each different reading program may have its own monthly subscription price. Some may even offer one price for an entire year.
Parents who are worried about committing to a monthly payment might choose to explore the app via a trial period. Before paying for an app, parents will want to ensure their child likes it and that it will help address their child’s struggles.
Many subscription-based reading apps will offer a free-trial period. Typically, the free offer extends for seven days. When looking at the monthly price of a subscription, though, parents also might take into consideration how many children can use one account. Readability allows up to three children per account.
When multiple children can use one subscription, the cost per user is then minimized.
Explore an App that Grows with a Child’s Reading Needs
All reading apps may be designed differently and may focus on different literacy challenges. Readability offers a comprehensive approach to literacy, providing help for children who struggle with fluency and comprehension.
Readability offers a built-in AI tutor that guides the reading lessons. Children read stories aloud, and the tutor will provide help when a child stumbles or struggles. At the end of each story, the tutor also asks questions to test comprehension.
Readability also offers a Storytime function; this lets children listen to the story. Some children learn better when they read a story and hear it, too. Storytime provides another tool to support readers on their journey to proficiency.
For parents who might be unsure if Readability is the best choice for their child, sign up for a free seven-day trial to explore all the features! Children can work with the AI tutor and explore different stories on the app. With a subscription, parents can use their Readability account for up to three readers. Start exploring Readability today, and sign up for a trial!