Ten Websites Which Can Help Improve Reading Skills

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Some children pick up on the concept of reading very quickly.  Other students struggle to learn to read.  Reading problems can create problems in other classes where children might need to read textbooks to gather information; this can actually impede their educational progress.  Reading problems can also affect a child’s self esteem.

One way to help increase your child’s reading abilities is to have him practice reading on a regular basis.  However, children who are doing poorly with reading skills usually have no desire to read in order to practice or improve their skills.  This can be a vicious cycle: the child doesn’t read because he’s “bad” in reading, but because he doesn’t read his skills don’t improve.  What can you do to help your child break the cycle?

Instead of sitting your child down with a book, you may want to check out some of the following websites. Many reluctant readers enjoy playing video games or playing on the computer.   I’ve listed some of my favorite phonics sites which cover a wide variety of ages and abilities-hopefully, one of these sites should be able to help your child practice her reading skills.  If you have a reluctant older reader, you can use some of these sites to help them improve their reading skills without them even knowing!

At the time that this article was written, all websites were up and functioning.  This could change at any time though.  Also, before you allow your child to log onto any website, review the website to determine if the content is appropriate for your child.

http://www.sadlier-oxford.com/phonics/student.cfm#grade3

This website is great because it has age appropriate games for kids up to 6th grade.  My children were late readers, so I know how difficult it is to get an older child to use a website geared towards a younger child in order for them to practice their phonic skills.

This website has games for each grade level which is nice.  If your child is having trouble with phonics, I’d suggest starting at a lower grade level to encourage them instead of asking them to start out at a more difficult level.

http://www.geocities.com/EnchantedForest/Dell/4678/kindergarten.html

This is a beginner level website which can be used for any age group.  This website helps children learn to make the phonetic sounds that letters make.

http://adisney.go.com/disneychannel/playhouse/bop/bop_activities.html

This interactive sight uses Disney characters to teach phonetic skills.  While the skills are “in depth”, this might be a great place to start if you have a very reluctant learner or a child who has some self-esteem issues because of his lack of progress in reading.

http://teacher.scholastic.com/clifford1/flash/story_2.htm

This site is for children who are older level elementary school to middle school level.  Using this site, children can create words using phonics.  This will help reinforce concepts like long and short vowels, etc.  It’s also fun to create words!

http://www.starfall.com/

This is an excellent site for young children who have some basic phonetic skills but need help or practice putting those skills to use!  I highly recommend this site.

http://www.gamequarium.com/

This is another absolutely wonderful learning resource.  This site has all sorts of educational activities.  Go to the “readquarium” section of the site in order to find games and activities specifically geared towards reading and phonics.  I highly recommend this site.

http://www.geocities.com/EnchantedForest/Dell/4678/frame1publish.html

This is also a good site to practice skills.  I love the “phonetic pop” game.  This game is suitable for all ages, including adults.  The site uses British English speakers, which could be confusing to some, depending upon where you live.  One of the links doesn’t work, but I’m including it because the rest of the site is great!

http://www.iknowthat.com/com/L3?Area=L2_LanguageArts

This website is great because it has many interactive games and other fun activities for young to upper elementary aged children.  In addition to language art skills, this site also has games and activities for other subject areas.

http://www.earobics.com/gamegoo/gooey.html

This is a fun website for children who have a basic grasp of phonetic concepts but need help reviewing  those concepts.  The site is colorful, and very kid friendly.  In addition, the site has won numerous educational awards from a variety of groups.  Check this site out!

http://www.fisher-price.com/us/fun/games/phonics/default.asp

This website is geared towards younger children who are just beginning to understand the concept of reading.  The first step helps children learn their ABC’s.  The second step tells children the sounds that the different letters make.

With practice and encouragement, most children make the transition from non-reader to reader quite easily.  If your child continues to have difficulties even though she is practicing her reading and working on phonetic skills, you may wish to discuss your concerns with her teacher in order to rule out a learning disability.  Some children that have learning disabilities may require a more formal, in depth reading program to help them learn to read.  They may also require some tutoring sessions to help them.

I can’t stress how important it is to encourage your child during this whole process, especially if they are having problems.  Children who are encouraged by having their parents praise their efforts really make remarkable progress.  If you become discouraged with your child’s lack of progress, don’t let your child know that you are discouraged.

I mentioned before that my children were late readers.  I discovered that they all had learning disabilities which made learning to read extremely difficult.  I was homeschooling them at the time, and had taken them for an educational evaluation where their disabilities were identified.  After that, I contacted one of my college teaching professors who’d retired in the local area.  She helped me create a remedial program for my children.  She also came out several times a week to read to the children.  Despite all of our efforts, it still took a few years (yes, years) of intensive tutoring before it all “clicked”.

I’m hoping that your children will learn to read much more easily!  Here’s to creating great readers!

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