Three Reasons to Use Computers to Teach Critical Reading Skills

One of the biggest concerns of secondary school teachers and college instructors is that students are failing to learn the critical reading skills that they need to progress satisfactorily through the upper levels of their education. The prevailing concern is that students who do not learn these skills sufficiently in the lower grades will be unable to properly process the academic information they are presented with in the future. Commercial reading software developers have worked hard to create software that gives learners real opportunities to read critically and develop critical reading, and critical thinking, skills.

Computer Software is Interactive

One of the primary benefits of commercial reading software is its ability to engage the student. Most current reading software requires that a student do more than merely punch buttons. Most programs strive to develop real two-way communication with the student, allowing the student to become involved in the learning process. Interactive software provides students with the opportunity to generate their own questions and leads the student through guided practice situations. Newer software has even developed ways for students to interact with each other via the internet. Students work together in virtual groups to expand the learning experience.

Computer Software Uses Scientifically-Backed Research to Educate

The reality is that educational software that purports to teach without the backing of sound research and statistics often fails to hit the mark when it comes to really educating children. For this reason, it is important to use software based on established teaching strategies as well as credible research studies. Computer software also helps learners fill in any gaps in prior knowledge with supplementary video, PowerPoint, and other interactive presentations. Many in-class software programs also include an online component that encourages learners to access additional information and share that information with learners across the world.

Computer Software Creates a "Real" Learning Environment

Until the advent of desktop computers, reading experiences were limited to print materials. Early programs were only used as supplements to a general reading lesson, rather than acting as a stand-alone reading experience. These factors meant that early computer reading programs could not meet the needs of children learning to read critically. Today's reading software can be used in conjunction with traditional reading programs, instead of such programs, or as a supplement to them. This flexibility indicates that reading software has come a long way in providing real reading experiences which mimic those of print materials, yet yield readily to formatting changes. The ability of the new generation of reading software also lends itself easily to a collaborative social environment which studies indicate helps learners construct meaning from reading materials.

Reading software developers are working hard to keep up with the demand for increasingly technical reading opportunities. As the world goes digital, the next generation of readers accesses more information online than ever before via their computers and hand-held devices such as their mobile phones, X-boxes, Ipods and Kindles. Formulating reading programs that incorporate this trend will serve to make sure that technology keeps up with consumer preferences and will provide new readers with viable, interactive reading lessons that stimulate the imagination and increase learner knowledge.

Michael Levy is a teacher who has published more than 250 articles about learning. His latest project is Reading Buddy 2.0, software for teaching children to learn to read basic English using an innovative syllabics methodology. Would you like to know for sure if your child is really ready to learn to read? Claim your free copy of Reading Buddy 2.0.

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