Best tips to help those struggling readers
When I have at-risk conferences, I don't like to talk about deficits. I prefer to talk about ways to work with your kids. Here's what I discuss with my parents.
First and foremost, read every day. There is no substitute for spending quality time with the adults you love. Besides that, talk about the reading. The common core has shifted from basic who, what, when, where questions to how and why questions. When discussing the text with your child, make sure to ask questions like "Why do you think the character did that?" and "How do you know...?" Beyond that, ask for text evidence. When they answer a question, ask them to point out evidence in the text that proves their point.
Secondly, make sure there are a lot of materials they can read around the house. It should be a combination of stories and nonfiction texts. Magazines and newspapers qualify. Kids love nonfiction about animals. Amazon is quick and easy and of course, the library is free!
Luckily, nowadays, we have a plethora of web sites and apps that can also help. Here are some I recommend:
- Storybird.com This is a great web site that curates art. Basically, artists provide their art for kids to use when writing stories. The art sparks ideas for the writing. Kids can also read stories by others. Accounts are created and you do not need an email address.
- / offers a digital library. There are a ton of books to read.
- scholastic.com has both a kids section and a parents section. The parents section has a lot of tips and tricks. It can hone in on specific grade levels. The kids section has a lot of games and contests and is based on the current , most popular kid lit.
- Learning Ally has a lot of audiobooks available for readers. If a kid reads a book enough times, they start to connect the text to the sounds.
- Voicedream is an app that will take any text and turn it into speech. You can use it on an iPad or Android device. It has synchronized highlighting too!
- Dragon dictation This app is great for those kids who are struggling to get their ideas down because the spelling/writing gets in the way. They say what they want and the app turns it into text. And it's free!
- Blio is another app ereader. It's great because it will highlight words as it is reading them. Super helpful.
I hope you find these apps useful for new readers or struggling readers.
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