Does your child often feel stuck while trying to read words on a page? Do they lack expression when reading aloud? If reading demands so much effort on their part, they may need help with fluency.
A lack of fluency can affect comprehension skills and academic performance. In other words, it hinders the ability to learn in other subjects. If you’re concerned that your child has fluency issues, consider an online reading program.
These programs are an effective way to tackle reading challenges, especially among early readers. Many programs don’t just make learning fun through interactive games and great stories, but they also come with free trials.
Before diving into some of the best options below, let’s have a brief overview of fluency as one of the components of reading.
Understanding Reading Fluency
Fluency in reading is when a person can read quickly and accurately and use the right expression while doing so (meaning that there’s emotion in their words). To paraphrase, it’s “reading like you speak.” Moreover, fluency is closely related to reading comprehension.
Research shows that fluency may serve as an indicator of reading expertise.
When supporting kids with early reading at home, parents can start working on their child’s fluency by first modeling it while reading aloud picture books. Repetition is key. For struggling readers, including those who are falling behind their peers, using the right online resources can make a difference.
Below, I dive deeper into the characteristics of successful reading programs!
Effective Online Reading Fluency Programs
Keep in mind that not all reading programs are created equal. Helping kids become more fluent means making sure that the program they use has these aspects:
Reading Aloud and Modeling
There’s a good reason why teachers read aloud in classrooms — it lets kids learn new words and concepts in an engaging way. More importantly, it shows them what they’re supposed to sound like, which develops their fluency.
Look for a program with interactive lessons that encourage them to practice reading aloud more often. In addition, these lessons should contain sight words, which serve as clues, so that they can read with accuracy and confidence!
Timed and Phrased Reading Practice
Timed reading is a strategy used in elementary school that involves setting a timer and having students read. When the timer goes off, the teacher counts the number of words read by each student within that time frame and reports it to them.
Research shows that not only does a timed reading technique improve reading rate, but it also boosts comprehension skills.
A good online reading program takes your child on a book adventure while challenging them to read within a set time limit. Check that the reading app also adjusts the time based on their progress.
Phrased reading or phrasing, on the other hand, involves grouping or “chunking” words so that a sentence is broken down into smaller parts. Students in school are often taught phrasing to add meaning to what they’re reading. Instead of sounding monotonous, students sound expressive.
A trained tutor or character on a reading website can model this and integrate fun activities involving reading in phrases.
Interactive and Engaging Exercises
The truth is that improving fluency involves a lot of repeated reading. As parents and teachers, we want our young readers to have as much fun with the learning material as possible. Children learn better and are more motivated when play is involved. After all, it is their natural language!
For this reason, choose reading programs that include fun games and challenges, as well as opportunities to read together with other kids.
Assessments and Progress Tracking
Last but not least, make sure that the reading program offers a test that determines your child’s current fluency level before they get started. Not just that, but it should also be able to monitor their improvements over time.
However, keep in mind that while most online reading programs track student progress, parents can also do this by noting the number of words their child can read in one minute. This is especially true if their child’s reading ability is way below their grade level.
5 Best Online Reading Fluency Programs
I’ve researched some online reading programs that address fluency difficulties and found these to be excellent options in terms of possessing the qualities mentioned earlier. On top of that, they feature learning games to make their reading journey more engaging and meaningful.
1. Kindness Ripples Reading Tutoring
Let’s start with the reading program I created for struggling readers, which is Kindness Ripples Reading Tutoring. No matter your child’s level of fluency, I’m going to work one-on-one with them or conduct small group sessions (depending on your preference) to improve their reading in less time.
I provide my students with a lot of fun learning games. As a matter of fact, they’re able to build friendships within my tutoring classes, which increases their sense of belongingness.
- My online reading program can be used as supplemental learning or as a main resource for homeschooling.
- Although my tutoring services are fully remote, I make sure that my students feel excited with every learning session.
- I incorporate “kindness” in my reading classes, as well as other core values and virtues like empathy and patience.
When you sign up for my reading program, you can expect the following:
Free Access to Other Learning Programs
Most reading programs aren’t free, but if you avail of my tutoring services, your struggling reader can gain access to popular platforms like Starfall and Raz Kids. These are filled with amazing resources that your child can use at their own pace.
Covers Other Key Concepts of Reading
Besides fluency, other essential components of reading are phonics, comprehension, and vocabulary. I cover all these, plus some science and social studies. It’s a holistic approach that enhances their knowledge while also allowing them to practice reading across different subjects!
Homeschool Coaching for Families and Parents
Sometimes, children struggle with reading due to a lack of parental involvement. When parents decide to homeschool their kids, active involvement plus the use of the right teaching techniques become more important than ever.
For families that need to support their struggling reader through homeschooling in the best possible way, I recommend checking out my parent coaching services.
- Built by a certified teacher and reading specialist
- Free comprehensive assessment to identify their challenges and unique learning styles
- Yearly scholarships for families in need (application and interview are required)
Try Kindness Ripples Reading Tutoring
2. K5 Learning
Used by millions of parents, teachers, and tutors, K5 Learning has a digital library filled with free fluency worksheets. It’s meant to be used by families with students in kindergarten through fifth grade. For early intervention activities, this reading program covers other literacy skills in their lesson plans, such as main phonetic patterns and comprehension activities.
- Free worksheets, flashcards, and affordable workbooks
- Affordable yearly pricing for families, teachers, and schools
- Science and Math subjects are included for students struggling with these areas (in addition to fluency issues)
- When you sign up for a membership, you get ad-free content and access to more exclusive tools and resources.
- Great for homeschoolers, public schoolers, and supplementing your child’s education anytime and anywhere.
Try K5 Learning
3. Reading Eggs
Reading Eggs helps struggling readers with fluency by encouraging repeated reading and modeling, thanks to its digital library of over 3,000 books. Many of these books include read-aloud audio for different levels. Your child may be falling behind their peers, but with Reading Eggs, they’ll be able to catch up in a matter of months.
- A 30-day free trial that can be used by up to 4 children
- Teacher-designed reading apps for iPad and Android users
- Rewards in the form of “golden eggs” to praise their efforts
- Emphasizes phonics instruction and learning new vocabulary to improve fluency
- Suitable for struggling readers with autism and other learning challenges
- Lesson sequencing allows beginners and those without prior knowledge to make progress
Try Reading Eggs
Be your child’s teacher at home, anywhere, and during summer time with Time4Learning’s online reading program. It relies on the “reading skills pyramid” to help kids in pre-K through 12th grade with fluent, independent reading. Time4Learning promotes itself as an affordable homeschooling option that is self-paced!
- Over 3,500 learning resources with engaging and fun activities
- Low monthly memberships with month-to-month billing
- Demo videos for pre-K, grades K to elementary school and high school
- Promotes optimal fluency development through educational games and fun exercises
- Helps a child develop other reading skills, such as phonemic awareness and reading comprehension
- Users can pause or stop this online reading program at any time
5. Dicker Reading Method
The Dicker Reading Method is one of the best online reading programs that provide tutoring across different reading skills. Their fluency reading program can be used by elementary students, middle school, and high school. Whether they’re reading sentences, paragraphs, or stories — the Dicker Reading Method transforms struggling readers into proficient ones.
- Individualized and tailored lessons
- Other tutoring services offered (phonemic awareness, vocabulary, spelling, etc.)
- Detailed initial assessment to determine your child’s current reading skills
- Helps struggling readers develop a love for reading
- On top of reading skills, this program can increase confidence and self-esteem
- Reinforces a child’s learning through parent training
Try the Dicker Reading Method
Address your child’s fluency issues and other reading skills by using one of these reading programs.
I may have discussed the qualities that make a good fluency reading program, but be sure to do your research (gather all necessary information) so that you can make the right choice!
More importantly, don’t leave your struggling reader to use a program by themselves — support them throughout their journey.