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Most schools use online programs to help with reading comprehension. If you search online, you’ll find several online programs that are available for schools, teachers, and families to support reading development. Not all online programs are equal, and 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 learning in mathematics, science, and social studies. Hence text comprehension facilitates all other learning.
A few years ago during elementary school, my son experienced reading difficulties. 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 based on 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 from their tablets and even cellphones. The website notes that graduated levels of difficulty build students’ confidence while increasing comprehension and fluency. Other features are available to support other content area learning.
Imagine learning Online Program
Imagine learning is an individualized reading program that assesses each student the first time they log in and create a personalized learning experience based on each student’s needs. The program is only available to families through schools because some features must be managed by educators. Imagine Learning uses the 5 essential skills of reading development: phonemic awareness, phonics/decoding, fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension.
Some schools opt to 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 were also able to use the imagine learning program to increase his language and literacy simultaneously.
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 different real-life events. I signed up and assigned short articles that my son read each day to increase his oral vocabulary.
Parents can sign up for readworks.org and assign articles to their kids free of charge. This website is very known by schools and educators 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 on his own 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 keep in mind that not all online programs are equal.