Helping a child with reading isn’t always easy for parents. Some children struggle with fluency and sounding out words. Others might be unable to comprehend what they have read. Some young readers struggle with decoding and comprehending the text.
Parents don’t always know how to take on the role of teacher. Children who are reading below grade level may require more help than parents know how to provide. Reading intervention programs could be an effective tool in helping children gain reading confidence and proficiency and help them hit grade-level benchmarks, too.
How do parents find the best online reading intervention programs for their child? Parents can look at these elements of the program:
- Teaching Methodologies
- Assessment Methodologies
- Unique Features
- Parent Communication
Understanding a Child’s Struggles to Find the Best Program
Parents know their child(ren) best. They understand their child’s struggles and have likely witnessed their child’s difficulties with reading. When researching different reading intervention programs, understanding a child’s struggles is necessary to helping them and in finding the program that best addresses their struggles.
Googling reading programs will lead to many different companies and programs all promising to help a child with reading. Not every program is ideal for every child, though.
A child who struggles primarily with decoding and fluency will require a program that places emphasis on guiding this area of literacy. However, a child who cannot retell the basic plot of a story or who has difficulty grasping what’s happening in the story needs a program that addresses comprehension struggles.
Some programs, including Readability, are designed to help in all areas of reading. Parents should investigate the core fundamentals of a program, including what it teaches and how it helps guide children with reading struggles.
Some families have a tighter budget than others. Reading programs and apps come in many different price ranges. Each program might have a different billing structure, too. Some may require parents to pay the entire cost up front, while other programs offer a monthly subscription. Tutoring services even might bill per hour.
Affordable reading intervention programs or services are available. Parents might have to research their options to find the most affordable program. For families with multiple children who need reading help or intervention, parents also might inquire about how many users can sign up per account. Readability allows up to three users on each account.
Parents want a program that addresses their child’s struggles. To ensure that a program is a good fit for their child, parents might research the program’s teaching methodologies. Even a program that is designed to help children who struggle with fluency or decoding might not be designed in such a way that is compatible with the child’s learning needs.
Parents can look for programs that offer multisensory approaches to learning. Children have different learning styles. Some children learn best by hearing, others are visual learners, etc. Readability is designed for visual, auditory, reading/writing and even kinesthetic learning styles.
Readability requires stories to be read aloud. The program includes a built-in AI tutor that is programmed to understand the child’s voice. When a child stumbles during a story, if they can’t decode a word or they incorrectly pronounce the word, the tutor will provide help. This auditory feedback can help children better understand their errors without feeling embarrassed.
The tutor also asks questions after each story to measure comprehension. If a child answers the question incorrectly, the tutor will show them a passage from the story that helps them answer the question. The tutor also reads the passage. The child can have another chance to answer the question. In this way, children learn through seeing and hearing.
Children also have a list of vocabulary words for each story. In addition to these words, children also can tap any word in a story to hear the definition or hear it used in a sentence. These newly discovered words are added to a child’s own word bank. They can revisit their word bank as often as they want to rediscover the words they found.
Children who have difficulty with reading also can be overwhelmed if they see too much text at once. Readability breaks up text into manageable chunks and provides illustrations to further help children understand the details of the story.
A reading intervention program should help a child learn through many different methodologies.
For a program to guide a child’s reading journey, it also needs to be able to assess progress and advance the child when appropriate. Parents should review the assessment methodologies of programs.
Readability uses an AI tutor that listens as the child reads a story. The tutor provides help during lessons, but it’s also assessing the child’s fluency (words read per minute) and comprehension. Again, the tutor asks questions related to the story to measure a child’s understanding of the content.
Children only advance to the next reading level when they have demonstrated proficiency in both reading fluency and reading comprehension.
Children won’t be excited to use or engage with a reading program if the content isn’t interesting. Reading programs should include a mix of fiction and nonfiction books for content that is engaging to all users.
In addition, lessons should be leveled and appropriate for both the child’s reading level and their age. Older children who struggle to read don’t want to read the same types of content as a younger reader. While the level should be appropriate, children should be excited to read and find the books and content enjoyable.
High/low books are books that are designed for older children but are written at a lower reading level. Reading intervention programs should include these books.
Programs might have a unique feature that helps them stand apart from the competition. These features can heighten the enjoyment of the program and increase the child’s engagement.
Readability includes immersive features and colorful illustrations to keep children engaged. They can explore words in a story to add to their word bank.
Readability also has added a new feature to its program called Storytime. With Storytime, children can listen to their favorite Readability stories. When parents don’t have time to read aloud or if the family is in a rush to go somewhere, children can enjoy hearing stories read to them even on the go.
When parents are paying for a reading intervention program to help their child, they want to be able to understand their child’s progress. Parents should research how the program communicates with parents.
Readability includes a portal that’s only accessible to parents called the Progress Dashboard. This parent portal shows all the child’s reading data. Parents can see their child’s reading level, their reading fluency (words read per minute), how long their child used the program, etc.
The Program Dashboard also allows parents to compile their child’s reading data into a report that can be sent to the child’s teacher. This can help parents communicate with the school about their child’s progress.
In addition, stories on Readability also include points for Accelerated Reader (AR); when children finish reading these books, they can take the quizzes via the AR program at school.
Try Out Programs
Programs are all designed differently, and parents might be hesitant to pay for a program if they are unsure if it will work for their child. Many programs, though, offer a free trial to allow parents to explore the program with their child.
Readability offers a free seven-day trial. With the trial, children have access to the program’s stories and AI tutor. Parents can explore the program with their child so they can better assess how it works.
While every reading intervention program is unique, parents should look at the teaching methodologies, the assessment methodologies, the content and unique features to better understand how the program will address and assess their child’s reading struggles. Parents also should look for programs that provide a resource for parents to help them follow their child’s reading progress via the program. For many families, though, the price might be a major factor. The best reading intervention program should fit the budget and offer a free trial, too!