If you’re trying to keep up with reading lessons at home during the coronavirus school shutdown, now is a good time to explore reading science materials with early readers. ReadWA leaders suggest these sources, which are geared toward both parents and educators. Some are free, but others cost money:

  • All About Spelling and Reading (resources.allaboutlearningpress.com, some free ebooks and online activities) is a favorite of home-schooling parents to teach kids to read and spell. Teachers say the curriculum is easy to follow, but to get the most out of it, you’ll need to purchase some workbooks.
  • Readworks (www.readworks.org, free) offers texts for your child to read. Parents can pick the subject and reading level of the text they need, and it has an option for the text to be read aloud to kids.
  • Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org, free) offers some reading comprehension courses (search for “reading comprehension”), as well as a daily schedule for parents trying to structure a school day at home. 
  • Read Naturally (www.readnaturally.com, free 60-day trial, then paid) covers the reading science basics, and has information on how to use its site during school closures.
  • Heggerty Phonemic Awareness (www.heggerty.org, some free videos and lesson plans, most resources cost money) is widely used by schools around the country. 
  • Mindplay (www.mindplay.com, paid) offers a “virtual reading coach,” which the company describes as an effective online reading program that improves reading abilities. Parents would need to sit with their children to use the lessons.
  • Logic of English (www.logicofenglish.com, paid) is a favorite of home-schooling parents. Teachers say it’s parent-friendly, and the teacher’s manual walks you through each lesson.

For students who are well on their way to knowing how to read, Seattle schools reading specialist Julie Bedell suggests buying two copies of the same chapter book, and reading it aloud with your child. The book should be a bit harder than what your child can read on his or her own. With this exercise, the parent serves as a “scaffold,” helping the student sound out unknown words, and defining the meaning of words. It helps children map new words into their brains, and helps with comprehension and builds vocabulary, Bedell said.

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