How Reading Apps For Struggling Readers Work

Learning to read is an essential part of every child’s development. But unfortunately, some children struggle to develop these crucial skills. In fact, Reading is Fundamental reports that 34% of kindergarteners lack basic language skills that they need to learn how to read. By the fourth grade, nearly two-thirds of children read at or below their grade level. As the curriculum gets harder, these students will continue to fall behind, making it even more difficult to catch up with their peers.

Based on these statistics, it’s clear that some children may need more help than others when it comes to learning to read. If your child is having trouble with reading, there are a number of reading apps for struggling readers that can help. These apps are designed to help struggling readers improve three main types of reading skills: decoding, fluency, and reading comprehension. How do they work? Here’s what parents should know:

How Reading Apps Improve Decoding Skills

One of the most important reading skills is decoding, which is the ability to use one’s knowledge of letter-sound relationships to figure out how to pronounce words. Developing this skill can help children recognize written words that they are familiar with and sound out new words that they are unfamiliar with.

Reading apps can help kids improve their decoding skills by giving them opportunities to practice sounding out new, unfamiliar words and correcting their mistakes.

For example, Readability’s reading tutor is designed with responsive speech recognition technology that will listen to your child read aloud. This technology allows the app to immediately identify your child’s pronunciation errors. If your child mispronounces a word, the app will pause and correct their pronunciation. Receiving this feedback in real time ensures that your child will learn from their mistakes.


Other apps that help struggling readers with decoding include Starfall and Reading Raven. The Starfall app can help early readers learn the sounds that the letters make, which is essential to decoding. The app gives kids the opportunity to practice sounding out words by reading songs, rhymes, and short stories. Kids can also read through 15 mini-books, each of which is written with words that feature a specific vowel sound.

Reading Raven is another app that is targeted at early readers who are still learning about the alphabet and letter-sound relationships. This app starts with the basics, such as recognizing letters, and works its way up to decoding unfamiliar words in sentences. Every child learns at their own pace, which is why the app allows you to adjust the settings to personalize the content so it matches your child’s reading level.

How Reading Apps Improve Fluency Skills

Fluency is the second skill that your child needs to master to become a strong reader. Fluency is the ability to read accurately, with speed, and with proper expression.

Modeling is one of the most effective ways to teach children how to become more fluent readers. This teaching method involves reading aloud to children to show them what it sounds like to read fluently so they can follow that example.

Many reading apps use this teaching method to help children improve their fluency skills. The Readability app, for example, can read stories aloud to your child while they follow along with the text on the screen. After the story is finished, your child can take a turn reading it aloud. This gives your child the opportunity to read with the same accuracy, speed, and expression that the app did.

Repeated reading, which is rereading the same stories over and over again, is another effective way to improve fluency. One app that uses this teaching method is One Minute Reader. This app will read a story aloud to your child, then instruct your child to read it aloud on their own. Your child will be asked to reread the same story time and time again until they are able to read it fluently. Each story is short but filled with exciting information, so kids won’t get bored even if they have to reread the same content multiple times.

Practicing is also crucial to improving reading fluency skills. The more a child reads, the more fluent they will become. But it can be hard to motivate struggling readers to practice, especially if they feel frustrated or discouraged with themselves.

If your child is a reluctant reader, consider using a reading app to keep them motivated. Help your child understand how to use the reading app. Then, let them practice reading on it independently. Kids are naturally drawn to smartphones and tablets, so they will love the fact that they can use these devices on their own. Downloading a reading app may be all it takes to get them to read on a regular basis so they can become more fluent readers.

How Reading Apps Improve Reading Comprehension Skills

There’s a difference between knowing how to read and understanding what you read. A child needs to develop fluency and decoding skills to know how to read. But to understand what is read, children need to develop reading comprehension skills.

Many children find reading comprehension challenging. In fact, some children are advanced decoders and fluent readers, but still struggle to develop reading comprehension skills. But luckily, there are reading apps that can help children overcome these challenges with comprehension.

The Readability app features innovative Interactive Voice-based Questions & Answers (IVQA™) technology that helps children work on their reading comprehension skills. After your child finishes reading a story, the app will ask your child questions about what they read and listen to their answers to ensure they are correct. This forces your child to think deeply about the text, which will help them extract more meaning from it.

Asking questions at the end of a story is a great way to keep children engaged, improve their critical thinking skills, and help them extract meaning from the story. By using this app regularly, children can drastically improve their reading comprehension skills.


Another app that uses the questioning strategy to improve reading comprehension skills is Question Builder. This app teaches children how to ask and answer three types of questions: text-based questions, inference questions, and abstract questions. Using this app will teach your child how to ask and answer their own questions as they read, which will help them monitor their comprehension of the text.

StoryBuilder is another app that can help children improve their reading comprehension skills. Using this app, children can create their own sentences and stories. These exercises help children gain a better understanding of basic sentence structure and different elements of narrative stories, which can strengthen their reading comprehension skills.

These reading apps can help struggling readers develop the skills they need to understand what they read, which will benefit them throughout their academic and professional careers.

Ameeta Jain

My latest project is truly where my happy place is, helping children. I’m a mom to two amazing souls who are my inspiration to be better, do better and strive for more. As a technology entrepreneur, I’ve had the privilege to contribute to the advancement of humanity through tech.

My passion has always been to ensure the end user of our products enjoys huge benefits. We are taking the world of education by storm with industry first reading and comprehension learning technology that levels the playing field for all kids. With over 20 years of tech experience and an army of child development professionals, reading specialists, and experts in education, I created Readability.