Best Reading Programs for Struggling Readers

February 4, 2020

A child sits on a large stack of books reading while wearing large glasses

When a child struggles to read at grade level, parents may feel powerless to help them. The issues compound if a child is unable to qualify for special education services or other intervention programs at school to help them catch up to their peers. Parents may start investigating reading programs to provide at-home enrichment and in-depth guided lessons aimed at improving fluency and boosting comprehension.

There are so many reading programs offered online, but the best reading programs for struggling readers should help foster literacy growth and encourage kids to enjoy reading. Here are the key features of successful online reading programs:

  • Engaging content
  • Level appropriate text
  • Guided lessons with auditory feedback
  • Interactive components
  • An affordable price

Engaging Content is the Lure That Keeps Kids Reading

Some reading programs may feature books or stories that are basic and not so exciting. All kids want to read a fun, intriguing story, and a child’s reading level shouldn’t force them to read a book that is lacking a storyline.

The best reading programs should include story lessons that keep kids engaged . This means colorful illustrations and a story worth reading. Struggling readers may already feel that they are unable to read the same grade-level books as their peers, and there may be sadness about missing out on shared book experiences (like a specific series). Their reading program shouldn’t make them feel that they are reading books that talk down to them in content.

What are the Best Reading Programs? 

The Best Programs Ensure Struggling Readers Have Access to Level Appropriate Text

While kids want great stories with fun plots, they also cannot be forced to read text that is beyond their ability. Look for reading programs that move and grow with a child’s ability. Reading lessons shouldn’t be too easy, but they also shouldn’t be so difficult that a child constantly struggles. Reading Rockets also advises that schools look for programs that are “research-based,” and parents likely should follow this advice, too. After all, you want to know it works!

When you’re researching programs, dig deep and find out how the program determines reading levels. Make sure that the structure of the program effectively measures a child’s fluency and reading ability so that guided lessons are on target with the needs of the child.

A young boy struggles to read

How Can I Help My Struggling Reader? 

Choose a Program that Offers Guided Lessons with Auditory Feedback

Children who struggle while reading need support during their lessons. Programs should provide supportive methods and corrective techniques aimed at guiding a child who stumbles with pronunciation or reading fluency.

Ideally, online programs should offer auditory feedback in the form of a reading tutor. The role of the AI tutor is to gently correct mispronunciations and keep kids on track when they experience difficulties during lessons. The program should offer feedback to help children understand errors and correct their mistakes. Of course, programs should provide positive encouragement, too.  

How Do You Make Reading Fun for Struggling Readers? 

Use Interactive Components!

Reading programs have one main objective: to improve reading ability. However, all reading programs also should help inspire a passion for reading. If you love to read, then you read often. If you read often, you become a better reader. So how can reading programs facilitate this passion?

Engaging content is one way to get kids hooked on a book. Interactive features within those stories, though, become the icing on the literary cake. These features may involve auditory dialogue, unique visual effects or other touch-and-explore explorations.

Interactive components add another dimension to the life of the story, and kids often have fun exploring the new features on every digital page.

Choose a Program with an Affordable Price Tag

All parents want to help their children improve their reading skills. Unfortunately, many parents may worry that reading intervention programs come at a high cost. Private tutors also could become too costly for those on a budget, especially if tutors charge by the hour and require that parents commit to a set number of sessions each month.

Reading programs are offered at almost every price point, and parents may need to explore different options. However, all reputable reading programs should offer a free trial period, because no parent wants to pay for a program that doesn’t meet a child’s needs.

So how much should parents expect to pay for a reputable reading program?

Readability offers a subscription for less than $100.

Are more expensive programs better?

Not necessarily. Price doesn’t always correlate with the success of any program. What works best is what works for your child’s needs.

How long is the free trial period?

Readability offers a seven-day trial period. After a week of using the program, you should be able to gauge whether or not it will be a good fit for your child.

Ready to try Readability for free? Sign up for a trial period now.