There are quite a few online kids reading programs available but how do you know which to choose? Which of the online kids reading programs offers what? Here are three of the top programs reviewed:
No. 1 – ClicknKids
Age group: ClicknKids is suitable for children from age 4 to age 8 or 9 struggling children or those with learning difficulties or adults for whom English is a foreign language.
Curriculum: Phonics curriculum up to and including USA public school 3rd grade.
Supervision: This program is easy enough to follow and an older child will certainly be able to navigate and learn without adult supervision. Very young children may need some help initially.
Cost: $ 99.95 (at the time of writing, reduced to $ 59.85. Flexible payment options available.
How does it work?: The program is interactive and holds the children’s attention using a cartoon character as the teacher and a rather inept (but amusing) TV screen as his helper. Children start by just pointing and clicking when they recognise sounds up to typing in words and sentences themselves.
What do you get?: 100 lessons with a progress report provided at the end of each one, which indicates where improvement is needed.
Opinion: This would be my number one pick out of these three online kids reading programs because it is the most comprehensive and best value for money as well as being enjoyable for the kids.
2 – Starfall.com
Age group: Starfall caters for children from kindergarten to age 7 or 8 (2nd grade) and also helps struggling readers.
Curriculum: I was unable to find any claim to match a school curriculum but what is provided was designed to meet the recommendations of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development covering the most important five areas of focus, i.e. phonemic awareness, systematic phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension
Supervision: Computer literate kids will be able to navigate the website unaided however, Starfall do state that this program is not intended to replace a human teacher but to act as an aid.
Cost: Free unless you want hard copy books, CDs, etc.
How does it work?: This works by simple sound recognition and creating words by adding a letter to start with as well as word recognition and movies using animated characters to re-enforce the learning.
What do you get?: For beginners there are 15 play lessons, 15 books, movies and videos and downloadable journals. All these have amusing animations which the kids will love.
Opinion: This one of the more basic online kids reading programs but it’s a good starting point, it does have follow up programs and it’s free.
No. 3 – Headsprout
Age group: Early reading for ages 4 – 7 moving on to reading comprehension for ages 7 and above.
Curriculum: No state recognised curriculum actually stated but claims to teach a child up to mid 2nd grade reading skills.
Supervision: If your child can use a mouse then they could be left unsupervised but you’ll probably want to sit with them for a while when they start out.
Cost: $ 198
How does it work: As with most online kids reading programs, the child starts out learning to recognise sounds and clicking on them progressing to reading whole sentences. To hold the child’s attention, this one uses animated characters such as a spaceship and a worm.
What do you get?: 80 lessons with personalised instruction and printable accompaniments, detailed progress reports at the end of each lesson.
Opinion: This program seems to offer everything that a child would need to learn to read and the printable materials are a bonus. However, the cost is its down side.