Children who struggle to read may quickly begin to view reading as a chore. Whether a child’s struggles lie in phonetic decoding or comprehension, turning reading time into just another lesson can be one of the biggest mistakes parents unknowingly make.
Struggling readers may be forced to focus on the intricacies of the reading experience instead of the experience itself. Reading intervention programs shouldn’t just help children develop their reading skills, they also should make reading fun. Online reading programs used for home-based literacy development and mastery should be designed to help readers gain proficiency and enjoy the reading experience.
How do you use online reading programs to develop happy readers?
- Don’t nag about reading lessons
- Start a reading ritual (maybe a snack or a fun environment)
- Stop when a child begins to lose interest
- Set reasonable goals
- Read for fun (beyond lessons)
If a child perceives reading to be an “I have to do this” task instead of a fun immersive experience, where’s the joy? Reading is about discovery; books take us into new lands, introduce us to unique characters and let us gain new insight about the world around us.
Don’t Nag About Lessons
“Did you do your homework? Did you read for 20 minutes?” Sound familiar? Ensuring our children do their homework is part of parenthood. However, there’s a fine line between pushing accountability and nagging.
When parents use online reading software to help their child boost reading proficiency, the software can become yet another “did you….” How can parents ensure kids are meeting reading goals without pushing too hard?
For young children, parents should be in charge of lesson times. Ideally, parents should set a specific time for children to work on reading lessons with Readability. Parents should understand, though, that most kids need a bit of downtime after school.
Don’t start lessons straight off the bus. Instead, provide kids with time to unwind, engage in fun activities and process the day.
Older kids may want more autonomy. However, parents should still be in charge of lesson time. Otherwise, online lessons may be pushed aside completely. Parents should set a time for lessons every day or every other day (depending on homework load). Parents can set up the lessons in a space where they can monitor lessons or progress, but avoid micromanaging older kids during their online lessons.
Start a Reading Ritual
Setting a specific time for reading lessons ensures kids know the reading routine. However, parents should make the lesson experience fun—especially for younger kids.
Did you ever build a chair fort and read by flashlight? Thanks to mobile devices, reading software can be accessed anywhere. Grab a tablet and let your child relax in a reading fort!
Not sure how to create a reading fort? Take two chairs with backs facing each other (a few feet apart) and drape a blanket over the chairs.
A reading ritual also could include a snack or maybe the company of a few favorite stuffed animals. Create an environment that encourages relaxation…not stress!
Know When Enough is Enough
A child’s brain isn’t without its limits, and, after a while, those lessons can become too much. Lessons via Readability and online reading software shouldn’t drag on for hours. Parents also should let kids take “brain breaks.”
If a child is immersed in lessons and wants to continue to another story, then parents can encourage more time. However, children who seem to be disinterested or discouraged should not be forced to keep plugging away.
Watch a child’s demeanor and their actions. When a child is overwhelmed, stressed or too frustrated, call it a day. The lessons will be there tomorrow.
Set Reasonable Goals
Big goals are great motivators. Aiming beyond a child’s ability, though, may just lead to frustration…for you and your child. Don’t expect a child to boost their reading level overnight.
Reading proficiency can be quick for some but more difficult for others. Move at a pace that is best for your child. Set reasonable goals and keep the lessons relaxed and fun.
Never yell at a struggling child or demean them for making mistakes. Be positive and encourage your child throughout their journey.
Read for Fun!
Lessons are important to boost literacy levels. Using the software helps struggling readers increase phonetic understanding and improve their reading comprehension. However, reading for fun helps struggling readers, too!
No matter the age of the child, a parent can read aloud books and stories to kids to encourage active listening and comprehension. Reading aloud to kids is a great bonding experience for kids and parents and allows readers to enjoy a story without lessons attached.
Parents also can encourage ‘fun reading’ by allowing kids to choose any book on their shelf—regardless of reading level. Maybe a child has a beloved book from years ago; let them read it! Struggling readers also may not be able to read grade-level books that their peers read; this may cause them to feel left out. Read the book aloud to kids, and talk to them about the story and plot.
Don’t set goals for fun reading. Let kids read as long as they like. Many schools even encourage kids to read comic books or magazines…reading is reading. All words can help facilitate literacy.
Is Online Reading Software Right for Your Child?
When is the right time for reading intervention? Typically, a child’s school will flag reading concerns and discuss those concerns with parents. Some children may qualify for reading intervention through the school, but others might not qualify as reading concerns aren’t deemed severe enough.
If parents feel that a child should have additional reading intervention in the classroom, they should facilitate a dialogue with the school to explore options. Online reading programs at home also could help children gain proficiency and boost reading their reading level.
Readability can help children with all types of reading struggles—including dyslexia. Schedule a free trial period to explore the program and see if Readability is right for your child.