Parents sometimes aren’t aware of resources that children use at school for reading or math. Children might use certain computer programs or websites at school to help them gain proficiency in reading or practice math skills.
These websites, though, aren’t just useful at school. Parents might not even know children can access these sites from a home computer or device. Online reading programs for schools might be available at home for additional enrichment, and these sites and tools might be beneficial for children who struggle with reading.
What Sites, Apps and Programs Does the School Use?
Schools can use a variety of sites, apps or programs for enrichment. These sites might even be used by kids during downtime for fun. One example is the site Cool Math Games, which offers different games that help children practice math skills (whether kids realize it or not!).
Every school or school district might use different sites or programs. Many teachers, though, will provide children with login credentials and passwords for any sites that can be used at home.
Typically, if children can gain access to online reading programs for schools, teachers will send info home to parents with the information about the site (including those important login credentials). However, not every program that children use at school can be accessed at home. Some sites are strictly for school use only.
Parents who want their child to practice skills at home should check in with their child’s teacher to find out about sites that are accessible at home. Children also might have a daily binder with this info, too.
How Can Online Reading Programs for Schools Help at Home?
Consistency can be comforting for kids. Using the same online reading programs at home that they use in school offers a sense of familiarity. Plus, children already understand how to navigate these sites and can often use them without much help from parents.
Teachers, schools or districts might use specific programs because they have been proven to be successful, too. Sites, apps or programs might offer a structure or teaching methodology that has been proven to help students gain proficiency in a specific subject area.
Using these programs at home also can give parents insight as to the tools that are available to their children. And parents also can provide additional help during lessons via these online programs.
What about Families that Lack Internet Access?
Not every family can afford or has access to the internet. For these families, using online reading programs might not seem like an option.
Families who don’t have internet access, though, should not consider these programs to be out of reach for their child. Parents or guardians can contact the school or the school district’s web administrator. Sometimes schools can provide a device for a child to use at home. Some schools also can provide a hotspot device, which lets children gain access to the internet.
Public libraries also can offer a space to access the internet. Families can obtain a library card from their local public library at no cost. This card not only gives children access to all the books they could want but also other materials, too, like audiobooks, movies and computer use. Visit the local library for more information!
In addition, T-Mobile launched a program that provides free internet access to qualifying children. Parents can visit Project 10 Million to check eligibility and sign up.
How are Online Reading Programs Beneficial?
Using online reading programs at home can help children gain confidence and proficiency. While these programs are great tools for enrichment and to help children boost their reading abilities, all reading is beneficial.
Online reading programs, though, might offer features beyond the basic bound book. Some programs provide interactive components that capture the child’s attention. Others combine narrated reading (allowing children to hear the book) with self-guided reading. Then the child might be expected to take a quiz to test their comprehension.
Combining auditory and visual features might heighten engagement. Programs also could feature virtual prizes or other rewards as part of the experience.
Programs also could offer individualized pacing. This keeps the experience focused on the needs and abilities of each child. Some students might start off at a more difficult level while others could begin with easier stories. From there, children might then advance as they show proficiency.
No Access at Home? Here are Other Options
Some schools might not offer access to online reading programs at home. However, parents can still find online reading programs that their child can use and access at home. Programs may be accessible via a website or even an app.
Finding the best program for a child’s needs is important. If parents just want to use a program to help their child advance their skills, then they might need to look at each program’s limitations. Some programs might only be designed to be used up to a specific grade level. So a parent who wants their fifth grader to boost their skills and read several grades ahead might need to keep any grade-level limitations in mind.
Some children might struggle with a specific component of reading. Maybe they have difficulty with decoding words or comprehension. Parents should research each program to ensure that it meets the needs of their child.
Parents also should understand how the program is designed. For example, does it provide narration? Will it help a child when they struggle to pronounce a word? Does it test for understanding?
Reviews of programs also can help parents understand features, benefits and even issues related to the program. Parents can then address concerns to a customer service rep or email the company. Free trial periods also could help parents and their children explore the program and find out if it’s a good fit. Many companies offer trial periods.
The Cost of Online Reading Programs
While schools could offer free access to programs used in the classroom, some schools also might not be able to provide access at home. Parents may then have to find online programs for their child to use at home, and these programs could come with a price tag.
The cost of online reading programs could vary. Parents, of course, will want to ensure that the cost meets the family’s budget. Families with more than one child that needs reading help also might need to explore the cost of multiple users.
Some reading programs like Readability are budget-friendly for families that don’t have a lot of money to spend on private tutors or pricey online programs. Readability costs $9.99 per month, and this offers children unlimited use each month.
Readability also lets up to three children use one account. Parents who have multiple children who need reading help can access Readability without having to pay for three separate accounts. If three children in the family use the program, parents are really only paying a little more than $3 per child per month for online reading guidance.
Online Reading Programs that Offer Tutoring
Online reading programs also can be designed as a tutoring program. Children don’t just read stories and answer questions about what they’ve read, but they actually receive help during the program.
Readability is designed with a built-in AI tutor. This virtual tutor helps provide assistance to children who might struggle while reading aloud. The tutor recognizes each child’s unique voice and will help correct pronunciation errors while they read.
The tutor also is the voice behind comprehension quizzes. After each story or book, the tutor asks children questions about the book to check for understanding. Both out-loud reading and quiz performance affect advancement via the program. Readability only advances a child to the next level if they demonstrate proficiency with comprehension and reading fluidity.
How Do Parents Know that Online Reading Programs are Beneficial?
Whether a child is using an online reading program for schools or an online reading program that parents have purchased to use at home, how can parents tell if the program is beneficial? For programs used at school, parents might receive updates regarding their child’s reading level on the program.
For programs that parents purchase for children to use at home, there also needs to be a way to gauge efficacy. With Readability, parents are provided with their own portal called the Parent Dashboard. This area shows all the reading data associated with each user. Parents can see their child’s reading level, the number of words they read per minute and how long they used the program.
Even better? Parents can share reading data from Readability with their child’s teacher. The Parent Dashboard allows parents to compile a report that can be sent to the teacher or school. Sharing this data can help keep the channels of communication open between parents and educators. While parents want to know that their child is advancing via the program, they also want to be sure that progress is exhibited in the classroom setting.
Signing Up for an Online Reading Program
Parents who are ready to subscribe to a reading program to help their child at home might begin their research online. While there are many programs available, parents also might want to explore a program now. Readability offers help with both phonics and comprehension, and parents can sign up for a free trial today!