Learning to read is a step-by-step process. Children need to begin with the basics—letter recognition and phonics—before they can move on to the task of sounding out words. Reading certain words through recognition—sight words—also is an important step towards early mastery and proficiency. A kids best reading training app should help children gain understanding and mastery of each skill at a pace that is unique to each child’s ability.
Parents who wish to guide their child through the stages of reading need to understand the process toward proficiency. While some children can read without any guidance and may be incredibly precocious in their abilities, parents also could discover that this ability is limited to decoding only. In fact, the child may not have a full understanding of textual comprehension. However, there also are many kids who may read and decode far beyond grade-level.
Other children may struggle with both phonetic and phonemic mastery as well as comprehension. Children with dyslexia may be able to fully comprehend text through auditory reading but may struggle with the ability to sound out or decode words—thus, leading to a lack of comprehension through the visual task of reading.
The Steps to Early Reading
For early and emerging readers, let’s focus on the most basic steps of reading and how an app can help these young readers gain reading proficiency.
A to Z: The Basic Code of Reading
Before a child can learn to sound out a word or even learn a word by sight, the child must learn the basic code of language: the alphabet. Learning the alphabet, being able to identify each letter independently and understanding (or even mimicking) the sound of each letter, is the first step of both phonetic and phonemic fluency.
If a child doesn’t understand the sounds of each letter and/or has difficulty identifying a letter, this could affect how a child learns to sound out a word.
Once a child masters the alphabet, learns to identify letters on sight and can mimic the sound of each letter, they can begin to learn to decode small words. This is an early and important step in the reading process.
Young children can sound out small words like cat, dog, hot, am, spot, etc. For children in kindergarten, the understanding of more complex sound rules may be a bit beyond their understanding—although this depends on the child. More complex patterns may include mixed vowel sounds (ea, ou, etc.).
Learn Words by Sight
Certain words are considered so common (and simplistic) that children are expected to learn them by sight. Thus, the term ‘sight words.’ The most common sight words for kindergarteners include: all, am, are, black, but, did, and do (but there are many , many more…including some colors).
The best way for kids to learn sight words is through memorization. Make flashcards with each word to help children identify these words quickly. When reading together, encourage children to find these words in the text.
Put Words Together for Sentences
Young readers can begin to read small sentences and stories. Again, though, these should include words that are easy for the child to decode with the skills they have learned in school. Grade-level teachers should provide parents with a child’s reading Lexile so that parents can choose books that are at the appropriate level of difficulty.
When a child is able to read small sentences, they also should be able to comprehend the meaning of that sentence and of the text as a whole. Again, though, all stories should be within the appropriate level for the child.
How to Use Reading Training Software for Each Step
Readability provides all the tools that emerging readers need to gain early proficiency and to master each step of the reading journey. Guided and responsive recognition technology allows children to understand when they might have made an error in pronunciation and can help correct these small mistakes. This virtual tutor provides feedback to ensure that children feel reassurance during the process.
Children who struggle to read may feel self-conscious about pronunciation or reading errors and this could impact self-esteem. It’s extremely important for parents to choose a program that provides positive feedback to ensure that children feel confident…and never shamed.
Readability also provides leveled content for all lessons. The program grows with a child’s ability, and lessons will never be too easy or too difficult. As a child advances, the stories become more complex. However, no matter what a child’s reading level, the stories on Readability will always be engaging and immersive. Reading should be exciting and should take young minds on a journey. Children who struggle to read should not feel that their stories are any less interesting because they are reading at a different level.
How Apps Can Improve Comprehension
The final step of reading is all about comprehension. After a child masters phonetics and phonemics and can read the text fluently, they must understand what it all means as a whole. Comprehension involves all the “wh” questions of a story, but, as the levels become more difficult, comprehension also requires children to infer meaning and predict future outcomes.
Children who are emerging readers may simply need to be able to understand what they read—that is, they aren’t expected to be making predictions quite yet. Readability can help emerging readers through its Interactive Voice-based Questions & Answers (IVQA™) technology. This unique feature is a bit like a virtual teacher—it engages kids and asks them questions about the story. IVQA helps children gain a deeper understanding of the story and provides support for readers who struggle to answer the ‘wh’ questions of a story.
Ready to test-drive the kids’ best reading training app! Try Readability for free to see how the app can help your child.