How to Compare Online Reading Programs—3 Critical Things to Shop for.

by Mary Follin

Many parents are turning to online reading programs to teach their children to read. And why not? There are plenty of resources to choose from. Your challenge will be to choose the right program for YOUR child.

Start by carefully studying each website. Read everything. If websites for the online reading programs you are reviewing seem confusing, you might find the programs confusing as well. A straight-forward, easy-to-use program should be pretty easy to describe.

As you compare online reading programs, ask yourself the three questions below. But most importantly, make sure each program has the option for you to give it a try for free.

Evaluating online reading programs? ​Use our 7 Day Free Trial to find out if Teach Your Child to Readis the best one for you.

Shopping for Online Phonics Programs? 3 Questions to Ask Yourself When Comparing

1) How important is it that you work WITH your child?

A lot of the online reading programs are designed for children to work through alone. While some children may be motivated to do this, many aren’t. Sure, kids can learn to read, guided by games, cartoons, and other forms of entertainment. But when a program is designed for the two of you to work together, you are demonstrating to your child how important reading is to you. Most children are extremely motivated to get one-on-one time with Mom or Dad. If you are working through a program together, you might find your child is more willing—even excited—about sticking to a daily schedule.

2) How important is it to minimize screen time?

Many parents are feeling extremely concerned—and guilty—about the amount of time children are spending in front of screens, especially now that so much schooling is taking place online. Online reading programs that rely heavily on videos, games, and other forms of entertainment require your child to spend a significant amount of time staring at a screen, which might not be what you want for your child right now. Consider finding a program that keeps the lessons short and easily takes learning offline.

3) Is the learning process step-by-step?

Many online reading programs are created with a variety of options and pathways for your child to choose from. For some children, this works. However, most children benefit from a solid foundation of basic principles before moving ahead. This is particularly important if you are teaching your child to read with phonics. If it’s not clear to you how a program develops your child’s skills in a sequential way, you may want to consider moving on to the next program on your list.

All online reading programs are different. For this reason, we recommend that you make a free trial a minimum requirement for any program you choose. And of course, it would be great if you’d give us a try with a 7 Day Free Trial of Teach Your Child to Read.

How to Choose Online Reading Programs

To help your child learn to read with phonics, you will want a phonics reading program that matches your child’s learning style. If your child is between the ages of 3 to 6, be sure to evaluate each program for the following:

​”I looked at a number of different early learning/phonics programs for my son, now three and a half years old, and was very excited to find ‘Teach Your Child To Read.’ The program is well designed and tastefully implemented. I’m looking forward to adding a few minutes a day with it to our favorite activities together and watching my kid become a competent and enthusiastic reader!”

​–Andrew P., Ed-tech startup founder, Sunlark

Comparing Online Reading Programs? Order Teach Your Child to Read to find out what’s different about us!

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