It is important to help children develop critical thinking skills to help them navigate the oceans of misinformation surrounding them. The first step to critical thinking is being able to make sense of what we’re reading. In other words, reading comprehension.
“A child who read 30 minutes a day but answered fewer than 65 percent of the [comprehension] quiz questions correctly didn’t show strong improvement over the year. Indeed, this type of high-volume reader didn’t do any better than lazier students who didn’t bother reading much.” – Education by Numbers
Just because a child can read doesn’t mean he can comprehend it fully. Learning to read also involves:
- understanding the main idea of the text
- being able to make inferences from the text
- distinguishing between a fact and an opinion
We found a terrific series of apps that help children learn to do just that.
Main Idea – Sentences is targeted to children in Grades 2 to 5 who can read the words, but don’t understand what they read. Beginning readers in earlier grades can also benefit from the targeted skill development. The focus of this app is to teach children how to identify the main idea of a paragraph. The skill is built incrementally using visual guides.
This app follows on from Main Idea – Sentences. In this version, children need to hone in on the main idea within a short paragraph.
Aside from being able to grasp the main idea of the text, children also need to be able to infer meaning from what they read. What can they deduce, conclude or extrapolate from the information they have just read? This app helps children make those connections.
Inference Clues help children to narrow down the key words that lead to an inference. This app can be used in conjunction with Inference Ace or after your child has completed the former app.
This app helps children learn to make distinctions between facts and opinions. In an age of information overload, this is a critical skill that will help our children learn to weed out the opinions masquerading as facts.
WH Questions teaches children how to UNDERSTAND, ASK and ANSWER questions using WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, and HOW, in a fun game-like environment.
All these apps have the same features:
- Builds comprehension skills step-by-step until mastery.
- Incremental learning. New levels are unlocked only when children are ready.
- Frustration-free learning. Children will always be guided to the correct answer.
- Fun and engaging Reward Center to increase motivation.
- Easy parental review. Just check out the stars to see how your child is doing.
- Content designed by professional teachers and researchers.
- Advanced levels include timers to ensure fluency. Research shows fluency in the foundation skills is critical to reading comprehension.
- Can be used independently without adult assistance or with a therapist/parent for reading intervention.
- Provides extensive reporting for up to 10 students to suit the needs of parents, teachers and therapists.
Reading Eggspress continues where Reading Eggs left off. It helps children develop skills in reading, comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, and grammar through online activities and games. With over 2000 online books, the Reading Eggspress library covers a wide range of genres to suit children of all ages and reading levels.
Reading Eggspress helps develop confident lifelong readers by incorporating step-by-step comprehension strategies to help children think about and understand what they read. Reading comprehension skills are taught sequentially over 220 lessons with activities to make new strategies clear and short quizzes to confirm understanding. All books are sorted by reading age and have Lexile levels.
The lessons from Reading Eggspress include:
- cover story – predicting what the book will be about
- vocabulary and usage – understanding the meaning of words
- making connections between pictures and words
- fill in the blanks to find the main idea and supporting details
- drawing conclusions from clues in the text
- key words
- fact or opinion
- making inferences
- comparing and contrasting
- point of view
- sequencing of events
- who, what, where, when
- identifying the target audience
- determining if the information is relevant to the topic