Jan 31, 2014 4:29:00 PM
Imagine graduating from high school, yet still struggling to read well. That may seem like an impossible scenario, yet literacy continues to be a problem for on-site and online high school students alike.
Dr. Terry Salinger is an educational expert who serves in multiple roles as the Senior Advisor to the National High School Center, as well as the Managing Director and Chief Scientist for Reading at the American Institutes for Research. Her research and statistics from the National Adult Literacy Survey showed that over the past 15 years, over 15 million high school students have graduated barely proficient in reading at the fifth grade level. Another statistic revealed that 19 percent of high school dropout students "are only able to perform at basic or below-basic levels..."
How can online high school students improve these odds? In order to achieve literacy by the time they graduate, students can benefit from reading comprehension apps.
Top 5 Reading Comprehension Apps
Parents of online high school students may want to consider these top five reading comprehension apps for their teens (each app under $5 as of 2013), to ensure they attain or exceed proficient literacy by the time they graduate. The staff of TeachThought and Jenna Zwang, Assistant Editor at eSchool News, reviewed these apps and compiled the following list:
- Enchanted Dictionary: This app enables students to look up words organized into categories by academic subject, such as English Language Arts, and sub-categories, such as Grammar and Literary Terms. This helps students improve reading fluency and comprehension in vocabulary across multiple general and academic content areas.
- Compare a Twist: This app enables parents to create lessons, or students themselves to create content, by comparing and contrasting elements in multiple subject areas and categories, with text and images. For instance, one could compare and contrast parts speech, or different types of plants. This helps students improve reading fluency and comprehension, as well as track general academic progress.
- Reading Trainer: This app includes twelve exercises that can be both challenging and fun, such as letter jumble, sentences, and word pairs. The app also provides statistics showing such details as words read per minute, best and worst exercises by performance, and retention. This helps students improve both reading speed and comprehension.
- Cram: This app allows parents and students to create flashcards, study materials, and practice tests for multiple subject areas, such as vocabulary words and literary terms, historical facts, or scientific terms. This helps students with reading comprehension and retention of facts, as well as provides the opportunity to create content and annotate (make notes for) difficult words or concepts.
- Today in History: This app allows students to read about notable historical events and people who were born or who died on specific dates; parents can then create trivia quizzes for their online high school students. This helps students with reading comprehension as well as retention of facts.
3 Takeaway Tips
So here are some important tips for parents and their online high school students to remember regarding literacy:
- A large percentage of high school students who graduate can only read at a fifth grade level, which is not conducive to achieving success in college, the workplace, or adult life in general.
- Hallmarks of the 21st century age of technology, reading comprehension apps can help online high school students overcome literacy difficulties and achieve higher, more appropriate levels of mastery in independent reading skills.
- Reading comprehension apps provide a range of features and functions, such as aiding basic reading skills and retention, improving fluency, defining difficult words, and annotating or adding notes to words and phrases.