Some of the Best Online Reading Programs for kids, ages 5-7 or so, are probably programs you have heard of already. Recently, I had a chance to work with a great company, called ABC Mouse. I wrote some leveled readers for them. ABC Mouse is one of many K-3 online reading programs for younger readers. This post will focus on what reading skills these programs should address, and what reading skill terms to look for when learning about reading programs or reading websites.
What Makes A Good Online Reading Program
There is plenty of buzz about the importance of learning to read well before the fourth grade. Statistics show that children who read proficiently by the end of third grade, read proficiently in grades 4-12 as well.
Reading Programs Should Address These K-3 Reading Milestones to Strengthen Reading Skills Needed Before 4th Grade
- Matching sounds to letter symbols of the alphabet in the pre-primary and primary grades: K-1
- Solid grasp on phonics: letter combinations and their sounds, long and short vowels, consonant sounds, and spelling and reading basic sight words found in K-3 texts
Effective word decoding strategies: through reading practice and targeted, explicit instruction, a child develops greater phonemic awareness and phonics skills to determine new words and remembers previously seen words with a decreasing amount of assistance.
- Develop common vocabulary words used in K-3 texts and strategies to understand what words mean through reading the text without assistance.
- Finally, comprehension should gradually increase in grades K-3. Comprehension at the K-3 levels is the beginning of the ability to identify the main point of what has been read, why it was written or its purpose, and be able to summarize a text adequately. Readers should be able to identify text structures or elements like topic headings, graphics, and bolded words in nonfiction.
Experience with Text
With fiction: Readers should be able to identify story elements, such as the setting, its plot, basic character development, basic thematic development, and author literary devices at a simple level: symbolism, word use, and sentence structure to convey meaning, dialogue, and simple foreshadowing.
Assessing online reading programs for kids
The point is not only that they are reading, but reading well and improving
An online reading program is yet another tool that teachers and parents can use to assist their children or students to read more, read better, and spark motivation.
Many have interesting and interactive features, actually most do. These are good things, but not what is most important: reading improvement is the number one goal, always.
So, if you invest in an online reading program, remember that it must strengthen reading skills first. This is its primary goal. Assess its interactive bells and whistles aside from its ability to strengthen phonemic awareness, decoding, fluency, vocabulary development, and comprehension. These should be the primary goals of any program. If a program is effective in improving these skills and the bells and whistles enhance the program instead of detracting from it, you have a winner!
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