Most schools use online programs to help with reading comprehension. If you search online, you’ll find several programs for schools, teachers, and families to support reading development. Not all online programs are equal; some teach the wrong reading skills.
It is concerning to see how some children struggle with reading comprehension. This is concerning because reading comprehension is the goal of reading. Reading is necessary for content-area mathematics, science, and social studies learning. Hence text comprehension facilitates all other learning.
During elementary school, my son experienced reading difficulties a few years ago. I took several actions to address his reading struggles, using online programs to support reading comprehension at home. I used reading A-Z, readworks.org, imagine learning, and the one-minute reading application to help improve his reading development.
Reading A-Z Program
Reading A-Z is an online independent reading program that provides thousands of online leveled reader books. The site contains 29 different levels that students can choose from based on their reading abilities. Although this program is not free, the 1-year subscription for the Spanish-level readings is well worth the investment.
The program has an app that students can use on their tablets and even cell phones. The website notes that graduated difficulty levels build students’ confidence while increasing comprehension and fluency. Other features are available to support other content area learning.
Imagine Learning is an individualized reading program that assesses each student the first time they log in and creates a personalized learning experience based on their needs. The program is only available to families through schools because educators must manage some features. Imagine Learning uses the 5 essential skills of reading development: phonemic awareness, phonics/decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.
Some schools purchase online accounts to provide additional practice to struggling readers. Check with your school to find out of any available online program memberships you could at home to reinforce reading or math. We could also use the imagine learning program to simultaneously increase his language and literacy.
The website readworks.org is a free reading program that uses non-fiction articles to reinforce reading comprehension. For instance, readworks.org focuses on vocabulary to increase knowledge about real-life events. I signed up and assigned short articles my son read daily to increase his oral vocabulary.
Parents can sign up for readworks.org and assign articles to their kids free of charge. Schools and educators very know this website as a program that helps with reading comprehension.
In 5th grade, we began using the one-minute-read application. In short, this app uses a 3-step process to engage students in quick nonfiction reads to target fluency and comprehension. First, the student completes a cold read for 1 minute. Then, the student re-reads out loud with the app three different times. Last, the student re-reads the same paragraph using a 1-minute timer. The immediate impact of re-reading and constant practice improved my son’s fluency skills.
In summary, the benefits of online programs that help with reading comprehension all impact vocabulary and reading development. I used each application at different times to change the routine. It was helpful to have options, but we must remember that not all online programs are equal.