5 Best Online Reading Programs for Elementary Students

By Gregory Bertsch, M. Ed.

Posted: November 15, 2023

online reading for elementary students

Kids learn to read at a young age, but it’s also not uncommon for them to struggle with reading. There are different reasons for this: poor phonemic awareness, a lack of reading materials and one-on-one support from those around them, and a possible learning disability.

The good news is it’s not too late for struggling readers to improve. With the best online reading programs for elementary students, they’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice and develop a love for this fundamental life skill.

In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of online reading programs for elementary students and share the best online reading programs that get kids excited with stories, interactive games, and other fun activities.

Benefits of Online Reading Programs for Elementary Students

If you’re considering a reading program for your child but are unsure how it helps, here are a few reasons why:

Engagement and Motivation

Reading is a brain-engaging activity that needs to be engaging to foster success, especially in children. Online reading programs captivate young minds with illustrations, interactive storytelling, and catchy study materials. These elements are crucial in maintaining a child’s interest in reading.

As children engage with these resources, their reading skills naturally improve. Good online reading programs lead to a positive cycle of learning and enjoyment, encouraging children to apply what they learn and come back for more.

Individualized Learning Experience

Online reading programs can be a tailored learning experience for your kids. The best online reading programs evaluate a child’s reading abilities, identifying strengths and areas needing improvement. This personalized approach ensures that children are presented with reading materials that are appropriate for their level and challenging enough to enhance their comprehension skills.

Moreover, these programs are particularly beneficial for children who face reading challenges. They allow students to progress at their own pace, which is especially important for those with learning differences like dyslexia. By incorporating multisensory elements, online reading programs make reading more accessible and engaging for all learners.

Accessibility and Convenience

Whether your family is traveling, running errands, or waiting for an appointment, online reading programs ensure that your child’s reading development continues uninterrupted. Additionally, many of these programs offer downloadable resources for offline learning, further enhancing their convenience and flexibility.

This feature is particularly useful for reinforcing reading skills through hands-on activities, ensuring that children have continuous opportunities to learn, regardless of their location or internet availability.

5 Best Online Reading Programs for Elementary Students

Here’s a selection of reading programs thoughtfully designed for struggling readers in elementary school. They include a variety of exercises and reading challenges for every grade level (from kindergarten to fifth grade), allowing kids to build confidence.

1. Kindness Ripples Reading Tutoring

I created Kindness Ripples Reading Tutoring to help children falling behind in their reading skills. If you’re looking for a solution that offers personalized guidance, I provide one-on-one tutoring.

As a fully licensed teacher and reading specialist, I use strategies that encourage independent reading, which will effectively increase your child’s vocabulary and comprehension skills.

  • Build a strong foundation for beginning readers who are homeschooling or learning from home
  • Be more attuned to your child’s learning needs through parent coaching
  • Get a family discount if you have more than one struggling reader

I take a holistic approach to make sure that early readers receive all the support they need based on their current reading performance and learning style while they also develop confidence and enthusiasm.

A Reading Program That Covers the Essential Reading Skills

Whether it’s recognizing words, understanding their meaning, and learning how to spell — my program includes fundamentals like phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and reading comprehension. 

Free Assessment

Get a comprehensive review (completely free) that uncovers your child’s specific strengths and gaps in reading. This assessment also helps me learn their learning style and preferences, which will serve as a basis for my teaching approach.

One-on-One and Small Group Sessions

Parents who prefer a more focused and highly personalized approach for their struggling readers can choose my one-on-one tutoring. This option also includes direct parent coaching, which allows you to support your child better.

On the other hand, if you prefer that your child reads with other students and develops teamwork, choose my small group package.

Kindness Ripples Reading Tutoring’s Additional Features

  • Flexible schedules and times (from Mon to Fri at 8 am to 7 pm)
  • Online classes via Google Classroom
  • Each class lasts for 60 minutes
  • Scholarships available for families in need
  • Access to a number of learning platforms for free

Try Kindness Ripples Reading Tutoring

2. Reading Eggs

Used by millions of parents worldwide, Reading Eggs is filled with educational games that motivate early readers. To make sure that kids stay on task, this reading program is fully interactive and emphasizes repetition for long-term memory.

Reading Eggs has a digital library of more than 3,000 books, and each book is accompanied by a quiz to track a student’s progress. While this online reading platform is great for elementary school students, older children ages 10 and above can also use it!


  • Free trial
  • Reading app available on the App Store and Google Play
  • 692 interactive lessons
  • 716 printable worksheets
  • 3000+ children’s books
  • Different types of English reading lessons to choose from: British English, Australian English, and American English


  • Children access fun games that are appropriate at their current level
  • Can be used by families with up to 4 children
  • Reading lessons can be replayed as often as needed

Try Reading Eggs 

3. Starfall

Driven by his personal experience with dyslexia as a child, Dr. Stephen Schutz created Starfall for children in pre-K through third grade and fifth grade. It’s one of the best reading programs for kids with learning challenges to develop confidence and motivation.

Instead of other forms of entertainment, kids can play Starfall learning games that don’t feel like schoolwork. In addition to improving their reading and literacy skills, Starfall features other topics, including Math and Character Development.


  • Digital library includes downloadable and printable free books
  • Customizable and ready-made worksheets
  • Sing-along music from A to Z
  • Printable cards with sight words and pictures


  • When used outside of a classroom setting, can foster continuous learning
  • Starfall’s cost-effectiveness helps parents and tutors save money on expensive workbooks
  • Boosts active participation, especially among kids with special needs

Try Starfall 

4. Noggin

A parent whose goal is to help their young child learn foundational skills in reading can choose Noggin. What makes Noggin unique is that it engages kids with cartoon characters they love, such as Peppa Pig and Dora! This approach allows children to better connect with the reading material.

Developed by educational leaders and teachers, Noggin has been featured in The Washington Post, Bloomberg, and Fast Company. It’s also supported by research.


  • Free trial
  • Interactive educational games for offline play
  • New content is added every week
  • App availability includes App Store, Google Play, and Amazon Appstore


  • Improves reading comprehension skills, vocabulary, and other skills
  • Considers your child’s developmental reading journey and provides a “special delivery” box based on that
  • Allows for multiple access for a single fee

Try Noggin 

5. ABC Mouse

ABC Mouse is an award-winning online reading program that offers more than 150 lessons across 10 levels. Its reading curriculum covers uppercase and lowercase letter recognition, rhyming words, and main phonetic patterns.

One of the reasons parents love ABC Mouse is that they notice improvements in their child’s reading skills and attention span in a short time. Whether your child is in pre-K, pre-school, or elementary school, this learning platform works.


  • Free trial for new members
  • A full online program for kids ages 2-8
  • Includes other subjects, such as Math, Science, Arts, and Music
  • Interactive games, songs, art activities, and printables
  • Customizable avatars that young readers can use to represent themselves


  • Increases motivation by providing “tickets” that serve as rewards, which kids may use to purchase virtual items on the website
  • It gradually builds on a child’s reading skills according to their own pace to prevent frustration

Try ABC Mouse 

Criteria for Evaluating Online Reading Programs for Elementary Students

If you’re a parent, teacher, or tutor looking for a reliable online reading program, see to it that the program’s approach is actually supported by research. You can check for awards and acknowledgment from experts and read what parents are saying about the reading program.

Here are more considerations for choosing successful reading programs to help you make an informed choice:

Effectiveness in Skill Development

An outstanding program covers the five essential components of reading. This includes the following essential reading skills:

  • Phonemic awareness
  • Basic phonics
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Reading comprehension

Age Appropriateness and Grade Levels

When an online reading program matches a child’s academic level — for elementary school, this covers kindergarten to grade 5 — they are appropriately challenged but not overwhelmed by the learning material.

For example, teaching phonics is more appropriate for beginning readers whereas advanced reading comprehension is more relevant for older kids.

Alignment with Educational Standards

What topics or activities are typically covered in an elementary school curriculum? Asking this question lets you determine whether an online reading program will help your child improve.

In educational settings, teachers track student progress and also involve parents in the learning process to increase success. With this in mind, check that the reading program has progress-tracking features.


Helping struggling readers in elementary school, no matter their difficulties, is now possible with these best reading programs.

If you’re a teacher, use any of these options to complement your main classroom instruction. On the other hand, if you’re a parent trying to help your child develop stronger reading skills, these programs provide lots of opportunities to practice reading at home!