Last Updated on April 25, 2023 by Editorial Team
Reading is an important basic skill. Children from their very first year in pre-school are taught letter recognition and their pronunciation. Gradually, they are moved to spelling and word formation. With the introduction of technology in education initiatives, the repertoire of phonics learning tools has become quite enriched. One of the popular technology-driven resources is online phonics reading programs.
The stage of moving to word building from letter recognition is a trickier one. This is where the phonics step in and ease the learning process. Online phonics reading programs can allow homeschoolers to have wholesome reading learning support right at their fingertips. Preschoolers or kindergarteners also benefit a lot from these because of the numerous learning methods and tools provided in the reading programs.
Why learning phonics is important?
Phonics allows the learners to understand how words can be broken down into sounds or phonemes and vice versa. This means phonics allows learning the initial, middle, and end sounds of the word. It can help build correct spellings or read their correct pronunciations.
The importance of learning phonics becomes quite evident from the growing popularity of phonics books, manipulatives, and online reading programs developed by educators. Of these resources, what purposes do the online reading programs actually fulfill, let’s find out.
Purpose of an online phonics reading program
When you see a child struggling with spelling and pronunciation, you search for resources that can supplement classroom coaching or boost the learning of homeschooling. The online phonics reading program comes as an additional resource and helps provide an interactive platform for children to build and practice word structuring, pronunciation, and spelling. The best outcomes you can expect to gain by joining these reading programs are:
- Reinforcement of word’s sound-spelling relationship concepts
- Building and boosting spelling skills
- Increase in comfort with independent reading
- Better fluency in reading
In essence, beginners can learn to read and apply the acquired reading skill in learning and strengthen the base of literary skills. If all these reasons have made you sit up and notice the importance of online phonics reading programs, use this newfound interest to learn more about them so you can pick the most appropriate reading program for your child or students. Some of the most promising ones are curated for you here.
7 promising online phonics reading programs
1. Reading Eggs Phonics Program
Reading Eggs identifies phonics for early learners as Synthetic Phonics and Analytics Phonics. Their reading program is based on synthetic phonics, where the words are actually broken down into the composing sounds to understand the spelling-sound relationship. This program takes a relaxed and detailed approach and dedicates each session to a letter of the alphabet. Its principle, relationship with other letters, and its role in spelling formation are explained using examples to improve the basics of a reading beginner.
This online phonics reading programs features comprise:
- CVC concept of spelling
- vowel sounds
- start and end sound blends
- concept of the silent letter and double letter sound
- word facts and families
- ways to attach multi-syllable words
Once these concepts are reinforced, reading exercises are provided to students to check their literacy level and assess their growth in fluency. Applying these skills improves cognition regarding the way words operate.
Headsprout is the smartest reading program available online for reading fluency beginners. The program has online episodes on letter sound and spelling concepts aimed at phonics learners. This program is providing multiple benefits to the students of the K-5 level and gives them an interactive learning tool to know and practice letter identification, pronunciation, and word spelling skills. With a complete set of teaching, assessing, and interacting tools, the program offers a unique way of learning phonics skills. Its main features are:
- It assesses the learning needs of the child first and then offers help accordingly
- Offers lots of tests to keep track of learning
- Teaches basic skills of phonemic awareness, spelling formation, and reading fluency
- Motivates children to put more effort by rewarding them in a variety of ways
Headsprout can be a promising tool for building literacy skills and contextual learning of vocabulary. The program is designed to move the students from early reading skills to advanced ones.
3. Free Reading Program
Free Reading Program is a literacy initiative aimed to develop reading and spelling skills in students of the Kindergarten level. The program comprises all tools needed to build and reinforce the basic reading concepts. Aimed at enhancing vocabulary skills along with phonics intelligence, this online reading program has features like:
- Lessons on basic concepts, auditory skills, picture vocabulary, and visual skills
- Introduction to Sight words list – its complexity increases with an increase in the level of learning
- Introduction to color and number names and other words of daily use
- Stories and book reading sessions
By way of offering activities, this online reading program introduces the practical aspects of word building and shows how to apply this skill to learn about things from daily life.
4. Progressive Phonics
Here is an all-in-one phonics reading program that comprises all the elements necessary to teach reading to little children. From teaching the alphabet to advanced phonics, the program has it all. It also introduces children to essential sight words and provides ample reading opportunities through its wide selection of books.
In addition, teachers and parents get access to handwriting worksheets that are in tune with the phonics books available through this program. Features specific to this reading program are:
- Contrasting fonts to aid reading
- Supports guided oral reading
- Promotes better retention through repetition and a hint of humor
- Read the books online or print them if you want
All in all, Progressive Phonics is a super fun and easy reading program with eye-catching illustrations to grab the attention of little minds. It covers all the basics required to become a fluent reader. And what’s the best part? You don’t need prior experience in phonics to get started, which makes it a great choice for homeschooling. Plus, it is totally free!
5. Fly with Phonics
Fly with Phonics online reading program aims at boosting the fundamentals of learning reading skills. Children get to learn and apply the basics of reading such as word sounds, pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary, and comprehension leading to better confidence in reading fluency. You can find with this program resources like:
- Collection of words, sounds, images
- Practice sessions for reading
- Play tools to achieve reading fluency
- Sound cards for linking words with sounds
6. Read Naturally
Read Naturally online reading program offers a full range of resources like online reading sessions, CD Roms, etc. You learn to read when you practice reading, without losing enthusiasm. This reading program facilitates more practice by providing resources like books, sound cards, and word lists.
Learners listen to the stories first, then try to read them aloud. In this reading program, they get access to resources that can help:
- learn to decode words by listening
- understand pronunciation
- grasp prosody
- do practice independently
This online reading support is designed to transform struggling readers into confident readers and attain fluency in thoughts and comprehension.
7. Read Well
Read Well is the online reading program best suited for phonics beginners. The program adopts a targeted but flexible way of inculcating reading skills in kindergarteners and up.
This reading program available online is useful for classroom interventions and remote teaching as well. The main program features include:
- Activities suitable for the classroom environment
- Independent reading sessions for remote learners
- Interactive online sessions with teachers who disseminate concepts through stories, word banks, letter cards’ introductions, etc.
The program features multiple entry points for students to help them pick the sessions relevant to their level of learning. Flexible pace offers an individualized learning environment enabling students not to force to adjust; instead, get the learning that turns out more meaningful.
Officially Link: Read Well
How to choose online reading programs for kindergarteners?
Choosing the correct online reading program is very important for achieving learning objectives. here are some of the crucial steps to take to reach the reading program online that can enhance phonics skills suitably:
a. Identify the needs first: Find the weak areas, assess reading skills first, and try to answer questions that give a clearer picture of learning needs.
b. Look for the resources provided: Doing a little shopping for online phonics reading programs can go a long way and help you stay on the path of learning. Find out about the programs that offer teacher assistance, have solely independent learning tools, are suitable for the group, etc. Then, choose the one that suits your learning requirements and pace.
c. Try to join dummy sessions: The dummy sessions allow you to get a clear idea of what to expect in the online phonics reading session. you can also go through introduction videos or explainer videos, if available.
d. Read reviews: What the past users have to say about the reading program can tell a great deal about the expected outcomes. You can also collect statistics like the number of downloads made, the number of enrolments done, and so on, to find out about the popularity and relevance of the program.
Online phonics reading programs are now a popular resource to imbibe early reading skills in children. What makes them even more special is that they can be accessed at any time and from any place. All you need is a device and an internet connection to get started. Kids especially enjoy online programs because they are fun, interesting, and interactive.
However, one must note that these programs are better off as supplemental resources and should not replace learning to read through direct teacher instruction and the use of traditional reading materials such as books, flashcards, etc. With regular exposure to phonics reading programs available online, children can successfully develop foundational reading skills that will eventually turn them into confident readers in the future.
- Waldo, Kelly, “Teaching young children how to read: phonics vs. whole language” (2006). Capstone Projects and Master’s Theses. 359. https://digitalcommons.csumb.edu/caps_thes/359