How to Use an Online Reading Tutor to Improve Reading Skills

January 6, 2020

A mom and daughter read a book on the living room floor together

When using Readability, your child has access to an online reading tutor, powered by artificial intelligence,  that is programmed to understand your child’s voice. The role of the interactive tutor is to help guide your child’s reading journey by providing pronunciation assistance and addressing other issues during the lessons.  Your child’s private online tutor also offers positive feedback to encourage progress and help instill confidence.

Parents can look to the AI tutor as a unique resource during offline reading sessions, too. While access to virtual reading assistance is only available via Readability’s online program, parents should listen closely to the methods of their child’s guide to learn ways to help children when the program isn’t in session.

Can parents really take the place of an AI tutor? Parents and technology have unique roles in the reading journey, and both virtual and real-life lessons are important. Here’s how parents can serve as reading guides to boost their child’s confidence during independent reading:

1.  Gently correct mispronunciations.

The AI tutor will correct your child if a word is mispronounced during a lesson. Why is this important? Each word has a unique meaning, and a mispronunciation can change the meaning of the word…and the context of an entire sentence. One word makes a difference when a child is trying to make sense of a story. Mispronouncing “house” as “hose” can have a significant impact on the narrative.

Never yell at a child if they make an error. Gently correct the mispronunciation and help them sound out the word correctly. Explain the pronunciation, too. House isn’t “hose,” because “ou” makes the “ow” sound.

When your child is using Readability, listen to how the tutor corrects mistakes. Utilize similar phrasing to facilitate understanding and contextual meaning during private reading time.

A dad reads a book with his daughter online

2.  Praise Your Child!

Positive feedback is huge in boosting a child’s confidence. When children sound out a difficult word correctly, let them know they are doing a great job! Be a positive influence during their reading journey; encourage them to keep reading if they feel like giving up.

When reading books out loud, have children read age-appropriate text. And be sure that the book isn’t too long. Look to their Readability level for guidance and choose books of similar difficulty and length.

However, if a parent is reading aloud, then the child should choose the book. When parents are reading aloud to children, more difficult books are ok…but be sure to ask children questions during the story to gauge understanding.

3.  Make the Book Interactive

All books are interactive, but parents just have to tap into their own imagination to bring the story to life. With Readability, your child is able to discover different features hidden in every book. Interactive details bring the pages to life and your child’s imagination is awakened through these unique on-page discoveries.

Bound books hold the same potential, but parents have to be willing to explore the treasures on each page. Choose books with colorful pictures and encourage children to point out characters and hidden details that are important to the story. Reading about Cinderella? Have your child find the glass slipper that she loses when running from the ball. Ask your child how that slipper might have felt when it slipped off Cinderella’s foot…is a glass slipper cold? Do those slippers make Cinderella’s feet sore?

Ask unique questions and create interactive experiences to bring every book and story to life.

A young boy listens to an audiobook and follows along with the story on his tablet

4.  Listen to Books On Tape and Follow Along

Readability lets your child listen to the text of the story for better understanding. However, this feature can be mimicked thanks to recorded books…or books on tape. Where do you find these auditory books? Most libraries offer books on tape or they may be able to special order them for you. BookRiot also has a comprehensive list of free resources for audiobooks

Your child might enjoy the interactive experience of hearing the story while they are reading it. However, books on tape shouldn’t take the place of reading. Again, your child should read along while they listen to the story. The benefit of hearing the text is to better understand word pronunciation and help boost comprehension.

5.  Set Reading Goals

Parents can set reading goals when using Readability, but these goals can be carried over to other reading opportunities, too. If parents set a reading time goal of 15 minutes, try to match this goal when a child is reading independently.

When reading goals are tied to grade-level text, parents might wish to encourage their child to read this same level during independent reading. Again, though, parents also could let their child choose more difficult books if the story is being read aloud to the child.

A virtual online tutor guides reading lessons via Readability, but parents can be their child’s personal tutor during offline reading times.  When a child is utilizing Readability, parents should listen to how the AI tutor guides instruction and corrects errors. Parents can provide the same assistance and encouragement during private reading times when Readability isn’t in use. The ultimate goal is for children to meet their reading benchmarks, become proficient readers and, most importantly, embrace a love of stories and books. Parents should utilize Readability to help children reach their reading potential, but parents also can greatly impact how a child views books and the reading experience. Encourage young readers to explore all the treasures hidden in stories and help them understand that reading is a journey that can take them on unimaginable adventures.