10 ways to make reading fun!

  1. Sing it! Add a familiar tune to a poem or even a para of text. Kids have to read with the right pause emphasis to make it work!
  2. Read in the grocery store. Products, labels, discounts, ingredients.
  3. Play letter of the day games: Ask your children to point to printed words they see starting with a particular letter. Rewards for the highest number of words found.
  4. Ask your family and friends to send post cards when they travel, to your child. Nothing more exciting than a postcard from a far flung shore!
  5. Play word twister. Just like twister but with a word list! Use chalk to scribble a small grid of different words on the floor. Then spin the wheel and choose the word, and let your kids stretch and read to locate it!
  6. Word Treasures: Think of a place where you can leave a small prize, and create a set of simple words that relate to it. For example: If the Answer is “Oven” in which there is a muffin, my written clues would be “Hot”, “Pot”, “Bake” etc.
  7. Read like you are in a play. Get a few people together to read various character lines (I like Winnie the Pooh books for this), and give your child a role as well.
  8. Read a recipe, while you bake or cook. Kids love helping out with fun kitchen recipes, and with simple recipes, this is both a great reading exercise and a lot of fun.
  9. Create Word Art together to display around the house. Design banners and posters for your child’s room which can change every month.
  10. Learn a new song. Print the words out for a Sesame Street song or even a new nursery rhyme and learn to sing it with your child.

National Reading Panel Findings on Reading Instruction

In 1997, Congress asked the NICHD, along with the U.S. Department of Education, to form the National Reading Panel to review research on how children learn to read and determine which methods of teaching reading are most effective based on the research evidence.

What are the findings of the National Reading Panel?

The National Reading Panel’s analysis made it clear that the best approach to reading instruction is one that incorporates explicit instruction in phonemic awareness, systematic phonics instruction, methods to improve fluency, and ways to enhance comprehension.

The following is a summary of the panel’s findings:




Phonemic Awareness

Means knowing that spoken words are made up of smaller parts called phonemes. Teaching phonemic awareness gives children a basic foundation that helps them learn to read and spell.

The panel found that children who learned to read through specific instruction in phonemic awareness improved their reading skills more than those who learned without attention to phonemic awareness.

Phonics Instruction

Phonics teaches students about the relationship between phonemes and printed letters and explains how to use this knowledge to read and spell.

The panel found that students show marked benefits from explicit phonics instruction, from kindergarten through 6th grade.


Fluency means being able to read quickly, knowing what the words are and what they mean, and properly expressing certain words – putting the right feeling, emotion, or emphasis on the right word or phrase. Teaching fluency includes guided oral reading, in which students read out loud to someone who corrects their mistakes and provides them with feedback, and independent silent reading where students read silently to themselves.

The panel found that reading fluently improved the students’ abilities to recognize new words; read with greater speed, accuracy, and expression; and better understand what they read.

Comprehension: Vocabulary instruction

Teaches students how to recognize words and understand them.

The panel found that vocabulary instruction and repeated contact with vocabulary words is important.

Comprehension: Text comprehension instruction

Teaches specific plans or strategies students can use to help them understand what they are reading.

The panel identified seven ways of teaching text comprehension that helped improve reading strategies in children who didn’t have learning disabilities. For instance, creating and answering questions and cooperative learning helped to improve reading outcomes.

Comprehension: Teacher Preparation and comprehension strategies instruction

Refers to how well a teacher knows things such as the content of the text, comprehension strategies to teach the students, and how to keep students interested.

The panel found that teachers were better prepared to use and teach comprehension strategies if they themselves received formal instruction on reading comprehension strategies.

Teacher Education in Reading Instruction

Includes how reading teachers are taught, how effective their methods of teaching reading are, and how research can improve their knowledge of teaching students to read.

In general, the panel found that studies related to teacher education were broader than the criteria used by the panel. Because the studies didn’t focus on specific variables, the panel could not draw conclusions. Therefore, the panel recommended more research on this subject.

Computer Technology in Reading Instruction

Examines how well computer technology can be used to deliver reading instruction.

Because few studies focused on the use of computers in reading education, the panel could draw few conclusions. But, it noted that all of the 21 studies on this topic reported positive results from using computers for reading instruction.

Source: http://reading.uoregon.edu/big_ideas/

To learn more about the National Reading Panel, visit: http://www.nationalreadingpanel.org/default.htm

How Can Technology Help With Literacy?

Early correction of literacy issues is critical to ensure future educational success of a student.

With schools and educators constantly aligning their literacy curriculum to student’s unique needs, it’s not surprising to see more technology tools being used to facilitate ease and effectiveness of reading literacy.

653186298_origBelow are some ways in which today’s tools are being aligned to various aspects of reading and literacy. If your student needs help with any of the following aspects of reading, there may be one or more technology solutions which can provide the additional support they need.

Phonetic Assistance: Apps and tools that provide students with the ability to sound out or listen to how the word is said. Any reading program that comes with in-built audio support can help students improve their phonic awareness. An additional plus would be a speech tool that allowed a student to record their own reading practice for an adult or teacher to later listen and review.

Fluency: Fluency depends on regular reading practice, as fluency requires a reasonable speed of reading without too many missteps, along with correct pause and emphasis. Read along digital books, with each word highlighted as it is read, are excellent tools for students to follow and practice fluency reading.  Further flexibility to replay text at the paragraph, sentence and word level, can help encourage self-learning amongst students who require frequent assistance.

Vocabulary: Embedded tools which enable a student to know and learn the meaning and usage of a word such as a dictionary, encyclopedia, thesaurus, etc., all help provide quick access at the time when the student is actively seeking information.

Word Recognition: Games like flashcards, crosswords, hangman can help a student recognize new words and reinforce meaning. When these games and interactivities are used in coordination with a digital reading program, they can help bring valuable attention to specific words from a grade level list.

Comprehension: Inference exercises, summaries and questions are all ways educators determine the comprehension levels of student. Interactivities such as fill-in-the-blanks, word maps, choosing the correct central idea in a para, etc., all serve as indicators of comprehension.

If you’ve been looking for a reading program that combines multiple teaching tools and techniques, consider the SNAP Digital Reading Program.

This program provides learners with sight words supported by audio pronunciation, touch and view glossary for complex words, voice-over directions for each page and both printable PDF books as well as digital ebooks with built-in fluency, comprehension, & assessments.