Reading is an essential skill for your child's success in life. Giving your youngster the opportunity to learn to read early on can provide a head start when it comes time to enter school or begin home schooling, or even after your child has started any type of formal education. Learning to read also makes a world of difference when it comes to learning other subjects. If your child is behind in academics or needs extra help to keep up, learn to read applications can help him or her learn the basics and have fun at the same time.
There are many reading programs on the market. You can choose from the discs that still are available for reading programs, but you also can select software as a service or downloads from manufacturers' websites.
Applications that teach your child to read can be helpful if you are not there to instruct your child as often as you would like. While online education certainly does not take the place of that affectionate and effective one-on-one reading time with a child, it can supplement it. Learn to read applications provide your child with guides for proper pronunciation so he or she can learn to read and speak words correctly. The applications can also give you progress reports to let you know how your child is doing.
Programs that teach children how to read can make reading fun, especially if they are equipped with reading games and activities to reinforce the concepts presented in lessons. Learn to read applications can take your children on adventures with animated characters who patiently repeat sounds and give positive feedback to build their confidence. We found that ClickN Read Phonics, TNT Reading Tutor and the Red Apple Reading Complete Package are the best tools to effectively assist your children in learning how to read. For additional information, we also have articles about learning to read.
It is a good idea to choose learn to read applications designed for preschool and early elementary. You want the navigation to be simple and the lessons to be progressive, building logically and methodically on concepts that were presented previously. It also is fun to have a virtual narrator – who often is an animated character – guiding your child through the lessons with simple and straightforward instructions.
Another key feature to look for is audio that pronounces letters and words so your child can learn if he or she is using the application independently. With headphones or the computer's speakers, students can hear how letters and words are pronounced. Some applications set their volume levels higher than others do, so you should try out the headphones with the applications to test the volume before your child uses the headphones to avoid any hearing damage to young ears. If the application does not have volume control, you can adjust the volume on the computer.
Below are the criteria that we used to rate the learn to read applications we reviewed:
For most children, reading lessons should begin with comprehensive coverage of the alphabet, with an emphasis on associating letters with words and letter sounds. A good curriculum then moves on to simple words and eventually sentences.
Interactive lessons keep your child involved in the process, and progressive lessons build on the concepts that the application has presented previously. Some applications also include keyboard instruction, though some children have trouble learning to read at the same time they learn to type.
Reading applications should have at least 15 lessons. Exceptional reading programs include more than 50 and cover at least preschool to first-grade reading levels.
The applications should be easy for children as young as 3 or 4 to use. An animated reading coach or narrator should guide students through exercises with straightforward instructions so your child can use the reading program with little supervision. Learn to read applications should be fun to interact with as well as educational.
Games and activities can supplement lessons nicely by offering extra practice as well as enjoyable animated characters. Children love to participate in adventures or help solve a problem in a story, and if they are doing this as a reading exercise, it makes learning a delight. It also helps when the application offers audible encouragement and even printable certificates that you can proudly display on the refrigerator door.
It is always useful to see some kind of progress report so you as a parent can help your child where he or she is struggling and offer some cheery praise for accomplishments. It also helps to have printable materials to supplement whatever work your child does on the screen. The best applications have online communities where you can discuss reading-related matters with other parents.
Help & Support
The application's website should provide telephone and email support for answers to general questions about the application or help with technical problems. It also is good to have an online list of FAQs. Some applications offer tutorials and a user guide, which provide extra help.
Your child can learn how to read or improve his or her skills by using quality reading applications. These applications are designed with the user in mind: your child. While one-on-one reading between you and your child is still paramount to your child's success, this type of application can help him or her increase essential skills and gain confidence in his or her ability to learn to read.