What Are the Best Apps For Reading Comprehension?
The purpose of reading is to understand the text, which is why developing strong reading comprehension skills is so crucial for young readers. But unfortunately, many young readers fail to develop strong reading comprehension skills.
If your child is struggling to understand what they read, it’s important to take action right away. There are a number of tools that can help struggling readers outside of the classroom, including apps for reading comprehension skills. Here’s what you need to know to get your child the help they need to improve their comprehension skills:
What Are the 7 Reading Comprehension Strategies?
There are countless apps out there that claim to help children improve their reading comprehension skills. But some of these apps are not as effective as others. The best apps for reading comprehension will utilize one or more teaching methods that are proven to help struggling readers improve these skills.
Here are the seven most effective strategies that are used to teach reading comprehension:
- Using Background Knowledge
- Creating Graphic Organizers
- Making Predictions
- Reading Between the Lines
Using Background Knowledge
Helping children connect the events of a story with their own personal experiences is a great way to improve their reading comprehension skills. This helps them tap into their own knowledge to extract more meaning from the story.
For example, say your child is about to read a story about a girl who builds a sandcastle on the beach. Before your child begins reading, ask them to talk about their own experiences at the beach. Then, encourage them to use this information to better understand what’s going on in the story.
Having this background knowledge might help your child understand how the girl builds her sandcastle and why she wants to protect her sandcastle from the rising tide, for instance.
Asking children questions before, during, and after they finish reading can help them improve their reading comprehension skills. It’s best to ask a wide range of questions, including:
- Textually explicit questions: The answers to these questions are explicitly stated in the text. An example of this type of question is, “What is the dog’s name?”
- Think and search questions: Your child will need to recall specific details about the text to answer these questions. An example of this type of question is, “Why did Sally miss soccer practice?”
- Opinion questions: The answers to these questions will reflect your child’s opinion on a certain matter. An example of this type of question is, “Do you think Sally was happy with her birthday gift? Why or why not?”
Asking these questions forces your child to recall specific details from the text, think deeply about the content, and analyze what happened.
Another effective reading comprehension strategy involves summarizing the text. This exercise helps struggling readers identify the most important events that took place and consolidate information. It also helps them distinguish between the main ideas of a text and irrelevant information that doesn’t need to be included in a summary.
In other words, this exercise helps children take a large selection of text and break it down into smaller pieces to gain a deeper understanding of its content.
Kids should make an effort to visualize the events that are taking place in a story as they read it. Encourage them to create detailed mental images of what’s happening in the story. By bringing the words to life in their minds, kids can better understand the content they are reading.
You can also instruct your child to draw a picture of the main event in the story or act it out instead. The key is getting your child to bring the story to life, so it doesn’t matter how they choose to do it.
This strategy can help all struggling readers improve their comprehension skills, but it is especially effective for visual learners.
Creating Graphic Organizers
Another strategy that is effective for visual learners is creating graphic organizers. For example, work with your child to create a Venn diagram that illustrates the similarities and differences between two characters in the story. Or create a flowchart that shows the order in which the events in the story took place.
Drawing these simple graphic organizers can help visual learners gain a deeper understanding of what’s going on in the story.
The next reading comprehension strategy involves making predictions about what will happen next in the story. Encourage your child to predict how characters will react, what events will take place next, and what consequences characters will suffer as a result of their decisions.
This type of exercise forces children to analyze what has already happened in the story in order to guess what will happen next. By making children think about the content of the story, this exercise will improve their reading comprehension.
Reading Between the Lines
The final strategy that can be used to improve your child’s reading comprehension skills is reading between the lines. This may seem similar to making predictions, but it’s actually quite different. Making predictions involves using the information provided by the author to guess what will happen next, whereas reading between the lines involves using the same information to extract more meaning from the text.
For example, say your child is reading a passage about a boy who is playing baseball with his friends. The author states that the boy’s face turned red after he tripped on his shoelaces while running the bases.
Based on this information, your child should be able to infer that the boy was embarrassed that he tripped. It isn’t explicitly stated, but the author does provide enough clues to make this inference.
What Are the Best Reading Comprehension Apps?
It’s important to choose an app that incorporates one or more of these proven reading comprehension strategies. Some of the best apps that do this are:
- Readability: Using the Readability app is just like working one-on-one with a private reading tutor. This app, which can be used anytime and anywhere, is designed to ask your child questions about the text they are reading to check and improve their comprehension. Another bonus is that it also helps children work on decoding and fluency, which are crucial reading skills.
- Popplet: This app is advertised as a “mind-mapping tool” for kids. It allows them to map out, organize, and connect ideas and thoughts. Mapping out ideas and thoughts in this manner can help children learn how to visualize a story and connect different ideas and events of a story as they read.
- SwapTales: This “choose your own adventure” app keeps kids engaged in what they are reading by allowing them to choose what words or sentences come next, which will steer the direction of the story. This is a fun way to help kids understand what they are reading. It also helps kids understand the general structure of stories.
- SentenceBuilder: As its name suggests, this app is designed to help kids learn how to put various words together to build logical sentences. Practicing building sentences can help kids better understand the basic structure of a sentence, which is an important part of comprehension.
Strong reading comprehension skills are crucial to your child’s academic and professional success. By using these apps now, you can ensure that your child has the skills they need to succeed now and in the future.
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.