It seems that there are more resources than ever when it comes to teaching kids how to read and many of them can be found online. From resources for teachers, to tips for parents, the Internet seems to have reading covered. But how can you tell what’s bona fide when there is so much information vying for your attention? And is reading software effective in teaching kids how to read? Well, here are a few things that any reading software worth their salt will have.
Educators have found that reading is best taught in a structured, programmatic way. However when lessons are delivered, whether in the classroom or in reading software, they should build on one another. They should provide the necessary scaffolding of knowledge that enables kids to begin to work their way through texts, with the goal of reading for meaning and understanding.
While nothing can replace the face-to-face literacy instruction done by teachers and parents, reading software can be a very effective way to supplement and accelerate other reading instruction. Recent research in literacy (namely the research done by the National Reading Panel, 2000) has found that the most effective literacy programmes, including those as part of reading software, cover five key areas of literacy instruction:
- Phonemic awareness
- Text comprehension
Phonemic awareness comprises a number of skills that many kids only come to recognise in a formal teaching setting. Children learn phonemic awareness from activities such as word games, language play, rhymes and other activities that develop their skills with words, syllables and the sounds within words, which are called phonemes. Phonemic awareness skills are best learned within a structured and systematic reading programme that links all learning of individual skills to the larger goal of being able to read meaningful texts..
Reading Eggs uses a variety of phonemic awareness activities that immerse young readers in nursery rhymes, listening skills, sound play and alphabet books. In later lessons, children must listen to two or three words and then choose the one that includes the focus sound of the lesson. This trains children to be keen listeners to all the sounds that make up words. The Reading Eggs software also frames the teaching of phonemic awareness skills in the larger context of a literacy programme that has as its goal children reading real books for meaning.
Researchers have found that a huge obstacle to kids learning to read well is the difficulty in understanding and using the alphabetic principle. The alphabetic principle is the relation between letters and sounds that languages such as English have. Each letter and some particular groupings of letters are directly related to certain sounds. Kids who are unable to link letters to the sound(s) that they make can have a tough time learning to read, with many teachers finding the task more difficult than usual. Explicit phonics instruction is essential for any programme that aims to teach reading, and have kids reading fluently, in the first few years of school. Such instruction introduces kids to the alphabet and the sounds that letters make in a carefully structured sequence.
Reading Eggs uses a number of structured activities and lessons that introduce children to letters and the sounds that they make.Carefully sequenced lessons build on one another so that kids can use the previously learned letters and sounds in each consecutive lesson. By Lesson 9 in the Reading Eggs programme, children are reading their first book. The goal of Reading Eggs is to have kids reading real books. The Reading Eggs storybooks and nonfiction titles are written to provide children with opportunities to practice their letter-sound correspondences and sight words by reading extended text.
Fluency is the link between the recognition of words and understanding them. Effective reading software teaches fluency skills, so that readers can make the link between a word, its sound, and its meaning more quickly. Many skills come together when a reader reads fluently, including familiarity with the words of a text, the understanding of the content, a knowledge of phrasing and context, as well as knowledge of what a fluent reader sounds like.
The Reading Eggs software uses a number of strategies to increase reading fluency. The software models fluent reading of all books, encourages the re-reading of a text, and uses a number of activities that increase reading comprehension. Many of the activities within Reading Eggs aim to build an automaticity or quickness in the reading re-call of an increasing bank of high-frequency sight words, with sight word recognition being one of the essential skills needed to become a fluent reader.
A good vocabulary also helps when kids come to learn to read. The more words that kids know, the easier it will be for them to comprehend the text. Educators have found that the most successful reading software are able to accommodate children of different vocabulary levels, and often use lots of pictures to help kids learn the meaning of words.
Reading Comprehension is seen as the essence of reading. After all, reading can seem pointless if you can’t understand what you read. There are a number of strategies that are helpful for readers to learn in order to assess how much and at what level they understand a particular text. These strategies include: monitoring comprehension, asking and answering questions, using graphic organisers of text, and recognising story structure.
The Reading Eggs reading software uses all of the comprehension strategies listed above in order to help children to assess and develop their reading comprehension.
Reading Eggs reading software teaches kids to read, as well as supplements instruction they receive in school and at home. In its lessons, it systematically covers all of the key literacy areas of instruction. It teaches children how to be fluent readers, understanding and enjoying what they read.
My child LOVES Reading Eggs! This programme has been exactly what I’ve been looking for. We tried two other popular reading programmes and while they were fun, just didn’t translate to my child becoming a reader. He’s a reluctant reader, capable but frustrates easily. With Reading Eggs I have never witnessed an ounce of frustration, just watched my son having fun. And even better—I’ve watched him start to read in such a natural progression—that is a beautiful thing to watch. Thank you Reading Eggs! C. Bryant
I am very impressed with your wonderful programme. Each activity is clearly explained to the children. It is fun and fast moving and also provides a variety of follow-up activities. Andrew Reeson, Wingham Brush Public
Reading Eggs is a comprehensive, well-integrated programme, which I have found to be of great help in developing children’s skills and interest in reading. Even the senior students wated to have a go! Lynne Brehaut, Nungurner Primary