Parents might not know that their child is struggling to comprehend what they are reading. While some parents might have noticed that their child couldn’t retell the story or answer questions that go beyond the surface of the story, other parents might be floored to discover that their child is reading below grade level.
There are many tools and strategies to help children who struggle with comprehension; reading apps are just one option. Finding the best reading comprehension apps isn’t a hunt, though. Parents can find reading apps just by searching online or searching on Google Play or the App Store.
What Types of Apps Help Children with Comprehension?
Apps that help children with comprehension might not be designed as a game. While educational games focused on reading might help children with identifying rhyming words, sight words or understanding sounds and sound blends, comprehension might be a completely different issue.
Reading comprehension expectations change as a child progresses through elementary school and into middle and high school. Young readers in lower grade levels might simply learn to retell stories and explain what has happened. They might need to be expected to name the main characters and identify the setting. The ‘w/h’ questions could be the standard for early comprehension. These questions delve into who, what, where, when and how. For younger readers, comprehending the basics might be the only expectation.
However, as reading grows, students will be expected to grow their mind…and their abstract thinking skills. Teachers will begin to expect them to read between the lines and make predictions about what could happen next. They may need to be able to understand the perspectives of different characters.
These abstract comprehension skills grow even more complex into high school and beyond. Students will need to identify metaphors and symbolic meanings. They will need to provide insight into how an event in the book relates to a broader situation. They will be expected to compare and contrast characters across different books and make detailed observations. They will have mastered the art of using quotes and details from the story to support their arguments.
Comprehension begins simply and grows very complex. Children who have difficulty with the basic comprehension skills expected in the early grades might fall behind if they fail to grasp these beginning concepts.
Apps can vary in how they help children master comprehension. Parents can find apps that have children read paragraphs of text and answer questions related to what they’ve read. Some apps might offer more immersive assistance.
Parents also could implore the use of ereader apps and tutor children with these apps. Ereader apps allow users to download books and read them via a device. Think of these as virtual books. Parents can download free books or purchase books via an online store. Most smartphones or tablets offer pre-installed readers that link to a book library where parents can download and purchase books. However, if a phone or tablet doesn’t have an ereader, PCMag offers a list of the best ebook readers.
Ereaders aren’t designed to test a child’s comprehension. They don’t offer questions or quizzes related to the book. These aren’t teaching apps, but parents can use them to help their child with comprehension. Some children prefer online or virtual books; parents can read with their child and ask them questions about the book after each chapter or throughout the reading lesson. Ereaders can be used for parents who want to take the lead in tutoring or helping children. Parents can find reading comprehension worksheets online to help complement their ereader tutoring, too.
Apps Offered by the School or District
It’s always worth reminding parents to check with schools about any educational apps they may offer to children to access from home. There may be programs that students use at school that they also can access from home, however this varies per district or school. And not all schools may provide access to any or all apps used in the classroom.
If a child is struggling with reading comprehension, parents might touch base with their child’s teacher to find out if the school recommends any apps or uses any apps to help with reading skills. Teachers might offer recommendations or parents may discover that they can access some apps from home.
Subscription-Based Reading Comprehension Apps
Parents who need more focused support for their child might consider subscription-based reading comprehension apps. These reading programs can provide structured lesson-based reading assistance for children who struggle with reading comprehension. Parents pay a subscription fee for access to the program; the fee may be charged monthly.
Readability, for example, is designed to provide support in all areas of literacy. The program helps children who struggle with proficiency and comprehension. Readability includes an AI tutor that is programmed to recognize the unique voice of each child; the voice recognition ability helps the tutor recognize when a child is stumbling or has mispronounced a word. When the virtual tutor detects an error during lesions, it provides corrections.
Lessons via Readability require the child to read aloud. When the child completes a book or story, the tutor will then ask questions about what the child has read. These end-of-book quizzes help the program identify the child’s comprehension abilities.
When using Readability, children have to display mastery of both comprehension and reading proficiency to move to a more difficult level. The program is designed to keep children at the level that best suits their ability; only when they have shown reading growth can they advance within the program.
How Can Parents Measure the Success of Reading Apps?
When parents use apps to help their child with reading comprehension, there may be a concern about how to measure success. How do parents know that an app is helping their child?
Every app may measure or show results differently. If parents are using e readers to help tutor their child, the parent may need to independently gauge comprehension skills and proficiency. An ereader app isn’t designed to measure reading proficiency or test comprehension skills.
With Readability, parents are provided with their own portal to check their child’s progress with the program. The Parent Dashboard provides parents with their child’s reading data, including their reading level, words per minute and the duration of time spent on lessons via the app. Parents can use this data to gauge their child’s progress and success. However, they also can pull this data into a report that can be sent to their child’s teacher. While progress via the app is important, many parents really want to know that their child is showing reading progress in the classroom, too. Creating a report for the teacher can help parents and teachers connect and communicate about classroom reading progress and other data.
Are All Subscription Apps the Same?
Different apps may include different structures and formats. Parents might wish to investigate numerous reading apps before committing or paying for a subscription. Some reading apps allow parents and their children to try out the program for free. Readability offers a seven-day free trial that allows children to read stories and become familiar with the AI tutor.
When utilizing free trial periods, parents might want to sit with children to explore the program, too. In this way, parents can get a better understanding about how their child engages with the app…or if there are any issues with the app’s features.
Interested in exploring Readability’s stories and AI features to help boost comprehension skills? Try Readability today!