Parents of children in elementary school might have access to usernames and passwords for certain programs that their child uses in school. Some schools provide login info to students to encourage them to engage in these programs at home.
- Accelerated Reader
- Raz Kids
- Reading Recovery
- Wilson Reading Program
About the Programs
Not all schools provide access to programs outside of the classroom, and some reading programs are specialized and might need a professional instructor to guide the program. Others, though, might be used by all students and are accessible at home.
Accelerated Reader (aka “AR”)is designed by the company Renaissance Learning. AR is used by many school districts around the country. Children log into AR to take quizzes on books that they have read at home or in class. AR has an online query tool called AR Bookfinder that lets parents check reading levels and AR points for each book.
When children score a certain percentile on the AR quiz about their book, they earn points. Schools might create rewards systems associated with AR points that provide prizes when children reach certain point brackets.
AR quizzes help gauge a child’s comprehension of what they read. Since the AR quizzes are typically associated with rewards programs and helping to better understand a child’s level of comprehension, schools might not provide access outside of the classroom.
Some school districts use Raz-Kids in early elementary grades to help children practice their reading skills. Raz Kids is leveled; each reading level requires children to read a story, listen to the story and take a quiz.
When children show mastery, they advance to another reading level. The program also includes other fun activities, too. For example, children are provided with a Star Zone that they can design and decorate as they advance in the program.
Schools may provide login info for Raz Kids to encourage students to practice reading and help them gain proficiency. Plus, many children might enjoy the immersive and multi-sensory components of the program.
While children can record themselves reading a Raz-Kids book, the program isn’t necessarily designed to be a reading tutor for children.
This is a program that’s designed to be used in schools. Parents can’t have their child access Reading Recovery at home. The goal of the program is to help struggling readers catch up. Teachers are trained in the program so that it can be administered in schools.
Parents of children who are behind their peers in reading fluency might talk to the school to inquire if Reading Recovery is available. However, children may need to qualify for the program.
The Wilson Reading System is another specialized reading intervention program. WILSON is designed for children in second grade through high school (12th grade); it is used for children with “language-based learning disorders” (e.g. dyslexia). WILSON is taught by certified instructors.
Other Reading Programs for Elementary Schools
Elementary schools might have other programs that they use regularly in the classroom. If parents are interested in learning more about the programs that their child has access to in the classroom, they should reach out to the child’s teacher.
While schools might provide login information for children to use the programs at home, this isn’t always the case. If parents don’t have resources from the school that they can use with their children at home, what other reading programs are available? There are many different reading apps and programs. Some are free, but others require a subscription.
Finding Free Apps to Help Children Read
Google Play and the App Store both offer extensive options for reading apps. The choices can be overwhelming, and parents who are looking for the best apps should search for apps using more focused keywords.
For example, when parents need apps to help children with reading comprehension struggles, they can query “reading comprehension.” Parents who need to help their child with sight words can query ‘sight words free’ or similar keywords.
While many apps are free, parents might find that these apps might have limitations. Children who need a lesson-based approach to help with their reading struggles might be frustrated with free apps, which might not offer extra guidance.
However, since free apps are free, parents might decide to download a few different options to let their child explore them. If they don’t work out, parents can opt to delete the app.
Parents also should be mindful that free apps might offer ‘in-app’ purchases. This means that children can often buy items in the game, and these purchases will be charged to a parent’s account. To ensure that parents aren’t inundated with extra charges, parents should disable the in-app purchase option.
Reading Programs that Offer a Guided Approach
While some reading apps are free, parents also can find reading programs that provide a lessons-based guided approach to reading. These programs are often not free; instead, they require a subscription.
Each program might differ in how subscriptions are set up. Some—including Readability—bill monthly. This ensures that parents don’t have to commit to the program for an entire year.
What should parents look for in a reading program? When a child has difficulty with reading, parents should ensure that the program:
- Addresses the child’s needs and struggles
- Provides a guided approach
- Is immersive
- Includes multi-sensory learning options
Does the Program Address the Child’s Struggle?
The most important consideration when parents are researching reading programs is that the program addresses the child’s struggle. If a child struggles with comprehension, and the program focuses solely on phonics and decoding, it probably isn’t the best choice.
Parents can research different programs to find the best option for their child. Read about the program, and sign up for a free trial (many programs offer a trial).
The Importance of Guidance
A child who struggles to read might mispronounce words or struggle with understanding context. A reading program should help guide the child’s reading journey.
For example, Readability includes a built-in AI tutor that learns the child’s voice. Books in Readability are read aloud, and if a child says a word incorrectly, the tutor will recognize the error and provide help. The tutor also asks the child questions at the end of each story to assess the child’s mastery of comprehension.
Reading programs that encourage exploration also could help hold a child’s interest. If a program isn’t fun to use or isn’t enjoyable, the child won’t be engaged. Parents can look for reading programs that include colorful illustrations that break up the text and immersive content, too.
Readability includes a vocabulary list for every book, and children also can tap any word in a story to hear the definition of the word or hear it used in a sentence. Every new word a child explores is added to their word bank, and they can explore and practice the words again and again.
The Importance of Multi-Sensory Learning
Children learn in different ways. Some learn best by hearing, but others learn through visual concepts. A reading program should help support different learning styles.
Readability includes the Storytime feature and lets children listen to their favorite stories. In addition, colorful illustrations help children to visualize the story.
Try Readability for Free!
Parents whose children don’t have access to reading programs for elementary schools at home can try Readability. Sign up for a free trial period today!