Every parent wants to do as much as they can in their power to help their child learn to read. Many parents turn to online reading programs to help their children with reading. This is great because kids and parents can practice those newfound skills at home together. But how do you go about choosing the perfect program, and ensure you are not simply wasting your child's time?
Do not Just Read the Labels: Labels can sometimes be deceptive. A program can have some of the best marketing materials around, but just looking at the label with anything could get you in a lot of trouble. Not all fat free foods are actually good for your child, and not all programs that claim to be able to help to teach your child how to read are going to work as well as they say they might. Instead, look for a research-based choice that has solid results standing behind it to prove its ability to teach your child valuable skills. Look toward sites that have been awarded honors from other sites, as well as those that are developed by researchers or teachers.
Test the Software Out: Some software programs offer a trial period in which you can take a look at the software or play a few online reading games for kids before you actually sign up for the full version of the program. This is a great way to get a hands-on look at whether or not the program will actually be of service to your child. You may even want to have your child sit down and play a few of the games to see how well he or she interacts with it.
Talk to Others: You know lots of other parents. Ask them which online reading programs for kids they're using. Talk to parents within your child's school, at sports games, or at church. Even if you know parents with kids who are older or younger than yours, go ahead and ask to see if you've overlooked any potential avenues of help.
Go With Your Instincts: If you feel like a program might be good for your child, go with that feeling. If you just don't think it sounds like your child after looking at screenshots and reading about the program, it may not be the right one to meet your needs. As a parent, you know your child best, and not all online reading programs for kids are actually going to meet your child's needs, so go with what you think might be best.
There are lots of great learn to read programs out there, but the key is finding one that actually works for your child. You want it to be a fun, rewarding experience, because after all, reading is a life skill you want them to love.
The N READ curriculum is based on recommendations from the National Reading Panel and was developed by nationally recognized early education research professor J. Ron Nelson, Ph.D. Dr. Nelson is also Director of Curriculum Development for N KIDS.
N KIDS specializes in interactive phonics and spelling programs and software for children, including the Looney Tunes N READ Phonics, and the N KIDS Family Tablet.