Today’s families are busy. Many children are involved in multiple after-school activities like scouting programs, sports, dance, music lessons, and church groups too. Parents have work engagements, their own social activities, and then there’s family time. Homework for children may be completed between activities or even on-the-move.
Most children also have to read daily—20 minutes, typically. While books are easy to grab on the run, sometimes parents forget. Reading materials on phones and devices, though, are always a click away. And for children who need extra help, online reading programs can be used anywhere for mobile reading practice.
Some children might have a certain book that they are reading in class. They might want to continue reading this book at home. When parents and children get busy and are rushing to head out the door, though, sometimes books and other materials are left behind.
One easy way for parents to ensure that books are never left behind is to use an ereader app. Typically, these apps are pre-downloaded onto phones and other devices. They also usually connect with a virtual library or bookstore where parents can download and purchase other books. Some materials through the ereader are free, but others are not. Prices can vary.
Parents can download the book their child is currently reading to ensure that there is a mobile copy. Children can then read their book on a tablet or phone. Those reading minutes can be clocked in the car between activities or maybe on the sidelines of their sibling’s activity.
Ereaders provide parents with another means to encourage reading. And if a child leaves the book behind, there is a backup copy waiting to be read…virtually.
While ereaders are not reading programs, they are another way to enjoy the reading journey and to encourage children to practice reading. Virtual books can be found for all reading levels.
Younger elementary students might need to practice the basics of reading—phonics and letter recognition. They also might be tasked with memorizing a list of sight words. These are easy words that children should be able to recognize on sight.
Game-based apps can help children practice these early reading skills. Parents can download games focused on letter recognition, sounds and sight words, too. Some games may encourage letter tracing. Others may have a variety of games that children can enjoy…while they practice their skills.
Parents can find free apps, but some may have a cost. Even free apps, though, might have hidden costs—these are called in-app purchases. Parents can receive surprise bills from games with these purchasing options. However, parents can opt to turn off in-app purchases so that children cannot buy items within their games.
So what reading games are the best? This really depends on the child and their own interests. Parents can check the reviews, though, to see what others think about the app. If the app is free, parents can just delete it if children don’t show much interest.
Online Elementary Reading Programs to Help Struggling Readers
Some children may need more help with reading than simple games can provide. They may struggle with comprehension or reading fluency, and parents may be on the lookout for a program that can help them hit necessary grade-level benchmarks.
There are a number of online reading programs to help struggling readers. Each program may offer a different format or may focus on a different aspect of reading. For this reason, parents can research their options before committing to a program.
For children who struggle with comprehension, there may be programs that focus solely on this skill. Others may help guide children that have difficulty with reading fluency, letter recognition, and sounds or sound blends.
Programs like Readability focus on a comprehensive approach to help readers in all areas of literacy. Readability includes a built-in AI tutor that is programmed to recognize each child’s voice. Readability lessons require children to read stories and books aloud, and, as they read, the AI tutor will help them along the way—if they stumble.
To help test comprehension and to ensure that children understand what they are reading, the tutor also asks questions at the end of each story. If children show mastery of both comprehension and fluency at the stories for their current reading level, Readability will move them to the next level.
Children might progress through the program at different speeds. Some children may master levels quickly only to need additional practice at more difficult levels. Other children may take longer to progress.
For busy families, though, one of the biggest benefits of online reading programs like Readability is that they can go anywhere…as long as there is wifi access or a cell phone signal. This means that children can practice reading in the car or even on vacation. However, parents might want to check their cell phone data plan to ensure before using the app remotely.
Do Online Reading Programs Work?
Parents may be hesitant to use an app to guide their child’s reading. Reading programs can help struggling readers gain confidence and proficiency, but parents should choose the program that will best help and guide their child. Each program also may be designed for a specific age or grade range. For example, Readability can be used from preschool through fifth grade. It’s important for parents to understand not simply the features and design of a program but any age or grade specifications as well.
This is why trying out or researching different programs is so important. While parents can look at a company’s website to gain a bit of background about a reading program, the only way to really understand and gain familiarity with the program is to use it.
Many reading programs offer free trial periods so that parents and their children can work with the program to better understand features and format. Readability provides a free seven-day trial period; this allows parents and their children to have access to stories and use the AI tutor.
Parents may want to supervise a few lessons so that they can see the program and how it works. If parents are confident that the program is a good fit for their child, they can continue on with a Readability monthly subscription.
As their child uses Readability, parents can check-up on reading progress by accessing a parent-only portal called the Parent Dashboard. This space will show all the reading data associated with each child (up to three children can use one subscription of Readability). The Parent Dashboard displays current reading levels, words read per minute and even how long a child used the program.
All reading data can be compiled into a report that can be emailed to the child’s teacher. This can help parents better communicate with the school about reading progress. While seeing that a child is progressing at home is a good sign, parents will also want to know that the child is demonstrating the same progress at school.
Teachers can then share with parents what they are seeing in the classroom related to reading fluency and progress. Parents also can compare reading progress on Readability to reading data sent from the school from standardized reading tests or other assessments.
Interested in scheduling a free trial to discover Readability? Sign up today!