Hello, and welcome back to the second part of my post about the best reading comprehension apps you can buy on the market today. If you want to, you can check out my first Top 10 reading comprehension apps post, and I actually encourage you to do so as the apps aren’t listed in any particular order, meaning the ones you are looking for could be there. In any case, on with the show: the remaining 5 best reading comprehension apps for your kids.
Question Builder (Grade Level: K-5)
Because understand a story requires one to recognize and identify abstract concepts just as well as tangible ones, children need to know how to think abstractly. Question Builder focuses on that as children are required to provide answers to abstract questions based on inference.
The app even makes use of various audio clips designed for special needs children with autism or sensory processing disorders (they can be turned on or off). Designed for the K-5 grade level, this app is one of the first and most important steps to take in teaching your children to understand abstract concepts.
In the previous post I discussed apps which help your children learn about antonyms, and so this time around we take a look at synonyms. In Same Meaning Magic, kids are shown a word and are then required to toss one of the many rocks at their disposal, each one having a word on it, in the well.
They need to toss the rock with the word which can best serve as the best synonym to the original word displayed. Designed for grade levels 2 to 6.
Yet another app focusing on helping your children learn about types of words, Same Sound Spellbound touches on the subject of homophones. The subject is taught through a game in which the player is required to correctly identify the best homophone to use in order to complete a sentence.
Needless to say, teaching your children about words which sound the same but have different spellings will prevent them from having a lot of misunderstands, just like it will prevent them from making so many mistakes on their school papers.
By now you probably have heard about the concept of mind mapping, whether you’ve studied it for a long time or have just recently begun watching Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch.
SimpleMind is an application designed for those who are new to the whole mind mapping thing. It basically turns the iPod into a work tool where ideas are born and collected through brainstorms. It wasn’t made for any grade level, but it’s really never too early to teach your child to remain organized mentally.
Finally, the last reading comprehension app to be discussed on this list is called Speech with Milo: Sequencing. It’s a storytelling game in which children are asked to place cards in a correct order so as to see the story they tell actually come to life.
The whole point of this app, designed for PreK-4 kids, is to help children learn about the importance of properly organizing whatever it is they do along with themes that are familiar to them.
And so, those were the 10 best reading comprehension apps I could find on the internet. While my title may seem to indicate differently, there are undoubtedly many more educational applications worthy of this list, and while I don’t exactly have the time to find them all, you can always give it a shot.
Even though I feel it may be superfluous, I feel it is my duty to remind parents that regardless of how many apps you get, they are never going to be substitutes for learning at school and from workbooks… they are simply a tool which needs to be added to your arsenal.
Needless to say, everyone out there is familiar with what an app is. Even though it is a short term for “application” which can really refer to any software program, it has come to take on a different meaning, referring to small and very specific applications which have come to be developed for smartphones especially. As such, it didn’t take people long to come up with reading comprehension apps, and here is the first part of my top 12 apps currently available to help your children improve their reading skills.
Aesop’s Quest (Grade Level: 2-6)
In order to improve a child’s reading comprehension it is important to make him or her think about the stories they read and make them remember what happened in them. The app Aesop’s Quest is all about rewarding children with puzzle pieces when they can remember certain elements of a story.
In other words, it’s pretty much a fill-in-the-blanks type of thing, except it involves stories and memory. Designed for grade levels 2 to 6 and available on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, it’s a pretty nifty little game that will contribute to helping your children understand stories.
By its purest and simplest definition, reading comprehension refers to being able to understand what a piece of text illustrates, the meaning it projects. In doing so the reader needs to be able to separate fact from fiction, and MiniMod Fact or Opinion is actually a bingo-styled game in which players are made to determine if a passage comes from a writer’s mind, or if it is indeed true and factual. Designed for grade levels 2 to 5.
Another app by MiniMod, this one centers around helping children quickly identify the five basic W’s of any story: who, what, where, when and why.
Needless to say, when a student is capable of identifying these five things, they have a much easier time understand what happens in the story. This game can even be played competitively either against a computer opponent or a friend. Made for grade levels 2 to 6.
Helping children expand their vocabulary is possible in many ways, and one of them is defining words in relation to other ones they know. This is what The Opposites does, an app which asks children to pair words with their corresponding antonyms, and what’s more, it actually does so in the context of sentences, helping children not only grasp the meaning of the word, but also how it is to be used in a text. Made for grade levels 3 to 12.
Combining games and education, Professor Garfield Fact or Opinion starts off as Garfield’s friend gets an F on his report for using opinion rather than fact, at which point Garfield himself steps in to explain and demonstrate the difference between the two, in the context of literature, real life and even the internet.
In addition, he also touches on how one should read with a curious, open and questioning mind, and finally, how you can go about making sure a fact is indeed a fact. Developed for K-2 grade level, this application does teach a fun and important lesson about distinguishing truth and fiction, something kids are notorious for having trouble with.
Childhood is a crucial period in any person’s life, for it is during those years that the brain acts like a sponge, absorbing tons upon tons of new information every day.
It is extremely important to make a wise use of that time and have your children improve on their intellectual and academic abilities. If it is not done, there is a risk that your children will fall behind in school, not to mention that they won’t be able to perform well intellectually later in life.
One of the most important they need to be taught are reading comprehension skills, for they will not only allow them to read and understand instructions as well as important documents, but they will also give them the tools necessary to understand other people when the discussion becomes more complicated.
3d Grade Super Reading Success by Sylvan Learning
One of the best ways of improving your child’s reading comprehension skills is to make use of at-home workbooks, and that’s exactly what 3rd Grade Super Reading Success by Sylvan Learning is. For those of you who don’t know Sylvan Learning, they are one of the most highly-trusted manufacturers of children’s work and textbooks, with each one of their releases being teacher-reviewed and containing activities based on the actual school curriculum.
In any case, 3rd Grade Super Reading Success takes a three-pronged approach at helping your kid improve his or her reading comprehension skills, diving the activities into three main categories: Spelling Success, Vocabulary Success, and Reading Comprehension Success.
Spelling Success contains two types of exercises: fill-in-the-blank texts as well as crossword puzzles. What exactly do the children learn with them? Well, the former types of exercises are used to show children the distinction between long and short letter sounds (for instance, “Hey” and the letter “A”), while the latter exercises are used as a vehicle in order to teach about prefixes, suffixes, silent letters, and many other spelling concepts.
Vocabulary Success presents kids with fun, synonym and antonym-based tic tac toe puzzles, where they are required to find three synonyms or antonyms or in a row in order to win. In addition, there are also matching games where your kid needs to link the prefix, root and suffix of a word together, finding old words and even making up new ones.
Finally, the Reading Comprehension Success part of the workbook also features two types of exercises. First, there is the exercise called Reason to Read, and it teaches children how they can deduce what the story will be about and what will happen in it based on the cover and description. Second there is the Stop and Go Story, featuring illustrations alongside short stories as well as tidbits of advice on imagining, absorbing and thinking about the story as they are reading it.
Why 3d Grade Super Reading Success is Worth Checking Out
To start things off, the exercises here were designed to help improve your kids’ 3rd grade reading comprehension skills and prepare them (or help) to get through that curriculum. In other words, the exercises here were designed to specifically to help your children with what they are going to be learning in school, so you can rest assured this knowledge won’t exactly be wasted.
Second of all, all of the exercises in this book are made to be fun and non-traditional (perhaps apart from the fill-in-the-blanks part). The point here is not to overcharge children with work or make them learn through repetition.
Instead, the fun factor is used to captivate the kids, also making it easier for them to remember the lessons as they will be able to associate what they learn with objects and concepts which are already quite familiar to them. Also, I feel like I should add that Check It! Strips are also included, allowing your kids to check their own work and correct themselves.
Finally, I guess it should be mentioned that Sylvan Learning Workbooks has actually won an Honors Award from the National Parenting Publications Award (also known as NAPPA) as being one of the best (if not the best) book series for children in elementary school. In other words, they know exactly what they are doing.
All in all, 3rd Grade Reading Success is one of the best workbooks you could lay your hands on to help improve your kid’s 3rd grade reading comprehension skills, and considering it can do a lot of good while coming at a dirt cheap price, I don’t see why anyone would pass up on this kind of opportunity.
While it may seem obvious to adults, reading comprehension is not something which just naturally comes along, at least not for most people.
It needs to be properly developed over time with regular reading comprehension practice exercises, and as it happens, this is the kind of thing which your child won’t be able to learn on his or her own, which means you, the parent, come into play. It is your job, perhaps even your duty to regularly go through some exercises to help develop their reading comprehension.
Before looking into what you can do in order to help improve your child’s reading comprehension, it is important to understand why going through this phase is necessary. As your child is going to grow up, he or she will be living and navigating in a world which heavily relies on written language, ranging from STOP signs all the way to important and official documents.
If they haven’t developed a proper reading comprehension as kids, then they are going to have some trouble in this world, as it will take them longer to read papers, with there being a higher chance of them misunderstanding what they read. In addition, it has to be said they are going to be somewhat lacking in the culture department, seeing as how a poor reading comprehension inevitably leads to a lack of desire to read books.
How exactly are you supposed to help them develop their comprehension? Well, the first step to doing that lies in spending time with your children, reading stories to them. While you are reading, you must take the time to discuss everything each sentence you read implies.
In other words, you need to help them imagine what is happening, giving them the information they need to build a coherent film reel in their heads. The more you do this, the less you will have to explain to them, and with time your will children will be capable of even differentiating slight nuances and implicit meanings they find in sentences. Of course, you cannot expect them to analyze Crime and Punishment, but they are at least going to be ahead of public school programs.
There are other resources available which allow your children to practice reading comprehension, and the good news is that many of them can be found online for free. In most cases, you are going to run into websites which provide you with various tests and exercises, such as GRE Reading Comprehension Practice for example, where there are ten questions which ask you to read a text and then provide an answer as to its meaning in the form of multiple choice questions.
I encourage you to get out there and find as many of those resources as you can; after all, you can’t have too much help when it comes to developing an ability your kids will need for the rest of their lives.
It is important to remember that even though your child will learn most of what he or she needs to know in academic terms from their school years, the fact remains that in their eyes, you, the parent, is the most trustworthy and important teacher they will ever have.
It is basically your job to help them develop certain skills which require constant work, and one of those skills is reading comprehension. Needless to say, how to be a teacher parent isn’t exactly obvious for most people, and so to help you get the ball rolling here are a few reading comprehension strategies you’ll be able to put to good use at home.
Less Television and More Mind-Vision
When a child is sitting down and watching television, he or she will only hearing words, meaning it will only slightly contribute to developing their hearing vocabulary. However, when your child is reading a book and spending effort on bringing the story to life, he or she will be developing their written and auditory vocabulary, without forgetting their imagination as well.
Long story short, you should make sure that your kids spend less time in front of the television and more time reading books; it would help to set some time limit on how much TV can be watched per day, and a minimum time that needs to be spent reading books.
Spice Things Up
We tend to forget that children are young creatures who crave movement and excitement… like little bubbles of energy just waiting to burst. If the content you are using in order to improve their reading skills is plain and boring to them, you’ll have a hard time catching their attention, especially for more than half an hour at a time.
The only advice I can give in this regard is to involve material which has to do with things your child is interested in; for instance, if you have a boy who is a Star Wars fan, then perhaps you should try using science-fiction stories as your source material.
Practically every kid wanted to be a teacher at some point or another. While it is true we realize how wrong we were as we grow up, rest assured that even today children will gladly jump at the chance of being the teacher themselves, even if it is only for a brief moment. This little role reversal may include them questioning you instead of it being the other way around, or even having them prepare exercises for you.
Speaking your Mind
People who have mastered the art of reading tend to create something resembling to film reels in their heads, which is a natural part of the reading comprehension process… however, it needs to be developed. For instance, what you should do is describe out-loud to your child everything the text implies and help him or her form a mental image of what is being read.
In other words, don’t just read the story, but be somewhat of a tour guide and explain all the nuances and implicit meanings. Also, encourage your child to ask questions and read aloud as well; it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that actually hearing the words coming out of your mouth makes you more likely to notice your mistakes.
And so, here are the few reading comprehension strategies I wanted to discuss with you, but bear in mind that there are many more of them out there, without forgetting that nothing prevents you from coming up with your own ideas. In the end, make sure to develop your methods around the needs and capabilities of your child; unfortunately, in a complex concept such as early education, there is no one method that caters to all.
One of the things which puts us, humans, above other animals, is our ability to use written language to convey pretty much anything we would be able to say. Over the years, it has become customary to teach our children how to read so that they are able to survive in this world.
One of the most important factors which determine whether or not the children will reap the full benefits of being able to read is their reading comprehension. If they simply learn to pronounce the letters and words without understanding their meaning, then they are never going to like reading, in the end limiting them in what they can learn and how they can express themselves. What I’m getting at is that you need to focus on making your child understand what he or she is reading, or in the end the lack of development in this area will end up hurting them.
The 7 Keys to Comprehension by Susan Zimmermann and Chryse Hutchins
Considering what I mentioned in the opening paragraph, you can probably guess what this book is all about. 7 Keys to Comprehension is basically a guide for parents to use to help their kids develop their reading comprehension skills, to understand what the words they are pronouncing actually mean. Here is a very brief overview of the seven strategies they use in the book:
Connecting reading to background knowledge – It helps tremendously if the reader is capable of personally relating to what he or she is reading; it is easier for children to interpret what they are reading while using familiar objects, people and concepts.
Creating sensory images – As most biologists will confirm, humans are extremely visual creatures, and learning to imagine a scenario in one’s head based on words is a skill that needs to be acquired. By creating sensory images it becomes easier for children to visualize in their minds the meaning of what they read.
Asking questions – Naturally, if children don’t inquire about what they don’t understand, they can hardly learn. However, many children are more or less timid about asking questions, which is why they need to learn how to do it.
Drawing inferences – The art of inference is very important in reading comprehension, as it allows the reader to draw conclusions about what they are reading based on various clues and premises that are given to them. Of course, it is best for children to learn this as young as possible.
To determine what’s really important – For people with an underdeveloped reading comprehension, one of the main obstacles is determining what bits of information are important enough to be part of the big picture.
Creating ideas – For a child (or an adult, for that matter) to truly understand what they have just read it is important to be capable of putting together ideas which can explain the events in the text, and building those ideas in a sensible and logical manner is an acquired skill, one taught in the book.
Solving problems – Every once in a while a text is going to present various problems or mysteries to the reader, and contrary to what certain people believe, there are actually techniques and whatnot which can help readers solve those problems. If you don’t teach them to your child, they will have a very difficult time with more advanced and complex readings, especially in school.
Does 7 Keys to Comprehension Actually Work as Intended?
Well, to start things off, I have to warn you: this isn’t a book intended to babysit your children for you. It is meant for parents, teaching them what they need to know to develop their kids’ reading comprehension. In other words, in order to make the methods in this book work, extensive parental involvement is required, just like for most other activities… you didn’t think having a kid would be easy, did you?
In any case, this book has been purchased and reviewed by countless parents, teachers, and child development professionals, and they all agree that is insightful for both children and adults. Basically, Zimmerman and Hutchins have managed to successfully identify the conscious and subconscious processes through which natural readers go when going from simply learning phonics to understanding their meaning.
The authors manage to cover practically every approach to the subject, teaching concepts, making demonstrations, and even taking pedagogic angles on it from time to time. It even provides strategies which parents can use with their children, and tactics that the children can use to learn better while in class.
Also, you’ll probably be glad to know that the book, contrary to many other professional ones, was written in layman language and doesn’t use much, if any complex, scientific jargon; you don’t even need to have any kind of background in education in order to perfectly understand it.
All things considered, if you are trying to be an involved parent, at least in your child’s learning process, then you should definitely take the time to work his or her reading comprehension skills; certain studies and professionals have asserted that for children to understand what they say and read is an important developmental milestone which should definitely not be skipped. 7 Keys to Comprehension is a complete, reliable and effective guide that can tremendously help you work on those reading comprehension skills I keep talking about.
When it comes to teaching your child how to read there really isn’t one specific program or method you can follow and hope to achieve the best results.
Learning how to read is a very complex process in which many factors come into play, and improving on any of those factors will contribute to their reading capabilities. One of the most important aspects of reading comprehension is understanding how vowels work and how their sounds can be controlled by other letters.
In other words, the sounds to be made when reading the language need to be worked on… or else your child will more than likely end up with pronunciation difficulties.
A Look at Learn to Read by The Starfall Team
What I’m basically presenting here is a collection of 15 children’s books designed for kids of ages 4 and up. As you can guess, this isn’t just some random assortment as the books were made by The Starfall Team one of the best available online resources when it comes to early learning and educational toys.
If you feel like it, have a look through their website (The Starfall Team), read the information they have to give so you can make sure for yourself that they know what they are doing. In any case, on with the product itself.
This collection of 15 books are part of a learn-to-read collection, with these ones focusing on the phonics, and more precisely, on vowels. Every story is centered around a humanized animal for the child’s entertainment, such as Zac the Rat or Mox the Fox for example.
Each of the stories is dedicated to showing a specific aspect of vowels and how they work. For example, there is a story for 2 vowels, R-Controlled vowels, and Y as a Long-I and Long-E. In addition to that, the illustrations were carefully made to depict what the text discusses in a colorful and eye-catching way.
To get a bit more technical, the 15 books each have durable gloss covers, measure 6” x 9”, and they can all be stored in the integrated case with handle.
Is it Worth Trying?
Well, let’s take a deeper look at the product itself, starting from the physical aspect. Those who are worried about the books themselves being dangerous needn’t to as they are covered with Velcro tabs to be kept secure. While the carry handle box may be a bit fragile, it contains no sharp edges and let’s face it, the only job it has is keeping books safe, which it does quite well.
When it comes to the books themselves, they are actually quite comparable to what five and six-year olds learn in their early school experience. It was meant for ages 4 and up, meaning that if you start early using this your child will be more than prepared to face the challenges at school.
The stories in the books are actually much better than what you would get in most manuals; instead of just being pages on which text is describing an image, these are actual, interesting stories with simple and charming drawings. Everything you need to teach your child how to read is included in the set; there is no need for any multimedia, although the book is available on the Starfall website for those who prefer it online.
All things considered, Learn to Read by The Starfall Team is an excellent way to teach your child everything they need to know about vowels, all while keeping them entertained with cutesy drawings and fun little stories. The best part is that contrary to other reading programs which teach the same thing, this one isn’t expensive at all.
Indeed, we’ve taken a good look around and found that you can purchase this book set at a 17% discount for only $19.58. To do so, simply visit the link below.