When a child is falling behind in any subject, parents may begin to worry and start a dialogue with the teacher to find ways to help. Other parents might just jump into action and start researching their own solutions. Children who are having difficulty in reading or who might be reading below grade level expectations could benefit from one-on-one tutoring.
Younger children like first graders and kindergarteners, however, might not look forward to those additional learning sessions. In addition, parents might not have the budget for a private tutor. Parents who need to find an affordable tutor first grade students will enjoy might skip real-life tutors and try tutoring technology like apps and reading programs.
What is the Benefit of Tutoring Technology?
Tutoring technology encompasses computer-based tutoring platforms like apps or online programs. Tutoring technology also could include virtual tutoring, which is still one-on-one but isn’t in-person. Virtual tutoring is offered via platforms like Zoom.
One-on-one private tutors might charge per hour. Tutors could offer different rates, which might allow parents to choose their tutor and find the best price. For some parents, though, paying for a private tutor can become expensive, especially if children need multiple sessions per week.
For parents who are limited in what they can pay for tutoring, an online program or app could be a more affordable option. Not all programs will identify as tutoring programs, but these programs usually have one commonality: they help children work on subjects of struggle.
Programs can help children with math, auditory processing, reading, science and other subjects and skills, too. Online programs or apps are convenient, as children can access them from almost anywhere via a device.
With tutoring programs, parents can research their options and find the program that best fits their child’s needs as well as the family budget. Programs may require a monthly or yearly subscription for access. However, others may bill differently.
Reading Benchmarks in First Grade
Reading skills should be built each year. When parents notice that their first grader is struggling with any aspect of reading, they may start to worry. Other parents might be unsure if their child is behind in skills. Parents who are concerned that their first grader is struggling with any subject might connect with their child’s teacher to discuss concerns.
A child’s struggles could be simply a common area of difficulty for many first graders, and they might even be on track per grade-level expectations. Sometimes a parent might have reading expectations that are beyond what is really expected at the grade level.
However, if a parent discovers that their child is falling behind or is reading below grade level, teachers also could be a great resource for helping parents to understand where the child needs to be (in reading) at the end of the year and how parents can best help their child.
- Vowel sounds (long and short)
- Sound blends
- Key structures of a sentence
- Difference between fiction and nonfiction
- Gathering evidence (for writing)
In the past, 41 states (plus the District of Columbia) followed Common Core. However, many schools have replaced the Common core curriculum with other standards. Public school standards could be researched via the state’s education department. Private schools also might set their own standards.
Using Apps and Programs as a Tutor
If parents don’t have access to a private tutor for their child, finding different apps and programs to help children, guide them, and, perhaps, even virtually tutor them in reading might be another solution. Finding the best learning apps for children could be as simple as opening up the App Store or Google Play.
Parents need to know the areas in which their child is struggling before they begin downloading reading apps. For example, children who have trouble identifying their sight words would need apps focused on sound word practice. Children who have difficulty with sound blends or letter identification might need apps focused on phonics.
While parents can search for ‘reading apps’ on the App Store or Google Play, finding the best resources requires entering more specific search queries. Search for “phonics apps” or “alphabet apps” or any key words related to the child’s specific area of concern.
Some of these apps may be designed as games, but others might include a variety of reading resources. Parents might find apps that help children with sight words and letters, too.
What about the cost of apps? When searching through either Google Play or the App Store, parents will find apps that are free and some that must be purchased. Most apps are reasonably priced, but parents should read the app description to ensure that it’s a good fit.
With free apps, parents might be a bit more liberal in downloading different options. If an app is free and isn’t a great option or the child doesn’t like it, parents can delete the app without any financial loss.
Are Apps and Games Reading Tutors
Apps and games aren’t traditional tutors in the sense that there is an instructor overseeing lessons (or games). Yet, these resources often are designed to help guide a child and include narration and other auditory engagement that offers praise or positive feedback.
For younger children, apps and reading games could help them with basic skills like letter recognition, sounds and sight word mastery.
Readability: An Affordable Reading Program with an AI Tutor
Readability is one of the best reading apps and programs to help children who are struggling to read. Children who use Readability also benefit from an AI tutor, which is programmed with voice recognition software to help the tutor understand each child.
The AI tutor isn’t a human helper, but it will guide children as they read stories aloud. If a child stumbles on a word or gets stumped, the AI tutor is there to provide assistance. At the end of each story, the AI tutor also asks children questions about what they read.
When the child reads stories aloud in Readability, the tutor also is tracking the child’s words read per minute. This key piece of reading data is how the program understands if the child is fluently reading at their present level. Children must master both fluency and comprehension in order to advance to a higher reading level in the program.
One of the biggest concerns parents might have with free apps or even with a private tutor is how progress is gauged. How does a parent know if their child is reading more proficiently? How do they know that the tutoring or program is helping their child?
Readability provides a Progress Dashboard that shows the reading data for the child. Parents can view how long the child used the program, the child’s current reading level and how many books their child has read. Parents also can collate this information into a report to send to the child’s teacher.
In order to access Readability, parents will need to pay for a monthly subscription. However, before parents commit to a subscription for their child, they can sign up for a free preview of the program. Readability offers a free seven-day trial period that provides access to all the stories and features.