Best Online Reading Programs for Struggling Readers

By Gregory Bertsch, M. Ed.

Posted: November 16, 2023

online reading for struggling readers

Did you know that only one in three 10-year-olds worldwide can read and understand a simple written story?

Many children struggle with reading because they lack adequate resources and support from those around them. Different learning styles, speaking another language at home, and learning and attention challenges are other factors affecting a child’s reading ability.

One of the things we can do to help children learn and love reading is to have them use an online reading program. Thankfully, many programs nowadays cover the five essential components of reading — basic phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills — to produce a well-rounded reader.

Here’s everything you need to know about choosing a good reading program for your child and five options to consider!

Effective Online Reading Programs for Struggling Readers

If you’re not sure how to select the best online reading program for your child, check that it covers these essential reading skills:

Phonics and Decoding Support

Phonics instruction involves helping kids make a connection between letters and sounds — for instance, associating the letter “a” with the “a” sound. Basic phonics is something early readers need to learn as it also helps with spelling and pattern recognition.

Hence, an online program that offers phonics and decoding is definitely worth considering as it sets the stage for successful and enjoyable reading.

Comprehension Enhancement

A struggling reader can also have a limited vocabulary, which leads to confusion about the meaning of words. Look for an online reading program that doesn’t only help your child decode words, but also understand the meaning behind them.

Many programs make reading comprehension worthwhile through activities like playing games and reading aloud. These activities prevent boredom and boost a student’s motivation.

Fluency Development

Good reading fluency is one of the main goals of elementary school education. A child reading aloud words accurately and at the right pace is considered to be fluent.

The reason why reading fluency is a must-have component of a reading program is because, without it, kids won’t be able to find reading pleasurable — whether it involves reading educational material in class or picture books at home!

5 Best Online Reading Programs for Struggling Readers

To help your child in their reading journey, I’ve compiled a list of top online reading programs, starting with the one I started.

These programs teach essential skills, which are especially beneficial for young readers. For older kids who are also struggling, these programs can also strengthen their foundational skills.

1. Kindness Ripples Reading Tutoring

Kindness Ripples Reading Tutoring is proven to help a child develop the confidence to read using techniques not typically used in conventional classrooms.

As an experienced reading specialist, I understand that every child varies in their reading challenges. This allows me to modify my approach to meet their needs and engage them at their current level.

Here are some of the benefits your child can gain from my online program:

  • My program helps them become excited to learn even if it’s conducted remotely
  • Lets them gain access to a variety of amazing resources for more opportunities to practice reading (my program includes platforms like Starfall and Raz-Plus)
  • While your child improves their reading abilities, they also learn about life and positivity

Parents who choose my tutoring program receive the following:

A Free Comprehensive Assessment

To help me tailor my reading program to your child’s abilities, I always start with a thorough reading assessment that takes around an hour and a half. This review examines their phonological awareness, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. Moreover, it allows me to observe their unique learning style.

One-on-One Instruction

Successful readers can sometimes begin their learning journey feeling pressured and anxious around other kids, which gets in the way of their focus. In these situations, I offer parents the option to avail of my one-on-one learning package. Another benefit of this package is that your child receives personalized assignments.

Family and Parent Homeschool Coaching

Whether your child has learning challenges that affect their reading or you’re concerned with exposing them to bullying and other issues that happen in school, homeschooling can still present different issues.

This is why I’m also offering coaching sessions to families and parents who need support at home. My homeschool coaching includes discussions about your child’s motivation and ways to keep them engaged.

Additional Features

  • Access to over 5 educational platforms
  • Lesson plans based on your child’s grade level
  • Small group sessions for shared learning experiences

Try Kindness Ripples Reading Tutoring 

2. Reading Eggs

A highly structured online reading program for pre-K and elementary school students, Reading Eggs is designed to help kids overcome reading difficulties through interactive games and other fun activities. One parent who was happy with the program saw their child improve shortly after using it.

At the beginning of the reading program, struggling readers are required to complete a placement test that determines their strengths and weaknesses. What’s even interesting is that the placement test is in the form of a game.


  • Interactive video lessons, printable worksheets, and over 3,000 picture books
  • Reports that let you quickly track a student’s progress
  • Yearly subscription is available at a lower monthly price


  • Can improve reading skills in as little as 15 minutes per day
  • Accessible from a desktop or tablet for convenience
  • Adapts to the type of English (British, Australian, or American) that needs to be learned

Try Reading Eggs.

3. Khan Academy Kids

Khan Academy Kids is a non-profit and 100% free reading program that can be accessed on the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon Appstore. What makes Khan Academy unique from other reading programs is that it has no advertisements so that struggling readers can focus on the learning material provided.

According to Khan Academy, their reading program focuses on the whole child and offers interactive lessons that also include math and social-emotional skills. To help kids read fluently, they have a book reader that lets them follow along. Alternatively, they can independently read fiction and non-fiction books.


  • 5 characters, including Kodi Bear, featured across interactive lessons
  • Original storybooks in Read-to-Me and Read-by-Myself modes
  • A resource for younger children ages 2-8 as well as teachers


  • Accommodates different learning styles using a multisensory approach
  • Learning new words is enjoyable, thanks to its varied fun games and topics

Try Khan Academy Kids.

4. ABCmouse Early Learning Academy

An award-winning, step-by-step reading program for children in pre-K through 2nd grade, ABCmouse offers over 10,000 learning activities. It covers the full spectrum of early reading so that younger students master everything, from the alphabet to phonemic awareness to reading full paragraphs.


  • Covers 10 levels, 850+ lessons, and 10,000+ activities
  • Tickets (in-game currency) and rewards for increased motivation
  • Printable resources include letters and words, coloring pages, and more


  • Lets a child learn using a step-by-step approach, which prevents overwhelm
  • Parents can easily track student progress by grade level and subject
  • Increases participation through a variety of learning games

Try ABCmouse.

5. Fast Forword

Fast Forword dedicates itself to helping struggling readers discover their full potential through a “brain-based” approach. Besides catering to kids in pre-K through 12th grade, Fast Forword welcomes those with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia and ADD/ADHD.

To help students practice reading more often, this program includes different texts across a wide range of subjects. Examples include fiction, instructions, tables, and flow charts.


  • Personalized exercises and interactive lessons
  • Real-time feedback while your child is reading aloud
  • Live video lessons for teachers using this reading program


  • Backed by research studies
  • Supports grade-level learning, which is important for preventing learning gaps

Try Fast Forword.


Reading is a lifelong journey, and with the right reading program, kids are able to succeed at a personal and academic level.

Elevate your child’s reading skills with the help of these reading programs. Think about these programs as early intervention tools for kids who are showing signs of falling behind in reading.

While it’s best to help your child address reading challenges early on, remember that it’s not too late for older children to make progress!