This past week I’ve spent hours sorting through resources for my student’s in reading intervention. I’m very systematic about my instruction, and during this time I wanted to continue some semblance of routine and give my student’s learning opportunities that were worthwhile. While there are many wonderful programs out there to continue to help you to teach kids to read, I’ve narrowed down some I feel are the most beneficial and are also FREE!
There are two apps that highly recommend if you use Orton or have used a systematic phonics approach. These are great if you don’t have a way to continue the three part drill with your kiddos but want them to keep up with their phonograms and their sounds, as well as key words. The first is called OG Card Deck. This app lets you select the cards you’d like to review, it includes the grapheme/phoneme, sound and keyword. The video feature isn’t working for me, but it still provides good practice for your kids. The other app that is great for Orton teachers is the OGStar Syllables and Beyond app. This app practices all 6 syllable types.
Another app that I really like is Khan Academy Kids. While this app covers reading and math, I am impressed with the amount of phonics, reading and language activities included. After you open the app, click on the library in the upper left hand corner. Go to the reading button and the phonics skills are organized really well. There is also several sections of sight words and early readers.
The final option I really love are Boom Cards. If you haven’t jumped on this train yet, now is the time. I plan on making a bunch, but there are some great sets on TpT. My favorite I bought for my kids were from Alison of Learning at the Primary Pond. Her cards do a great job of both teaching and practicing the phonics skills.
Reading and Book Resources
before I jump into great resources for leveled books, there are two sites that cover a little bit of everything. The first I highly recommend and is currently free. The site is Lalio. This site is great because students are given a placement test and then they work their way through adaptive exercises in phonics, word recognition and comprehension. Students travel through worlds and collect badges while unlocking new stories. Teachers are also able to track individual and whole class data.
Another site that is free is Teach Your Monster to Read. The app is paid, but the actual website is free. This site is fun for kids and covers many skills. It’s not as comprehensive as Lalio but in a pinch it’s a good option to keep kids learning at home.
Now for some great leveled book resources. These can be shared with students through Zoom meetings or just added to google classroom as a way to practice reading at home. My favorite resources for leveled readers are:
1. Epic: This site is amazing. I’ve used it for years. Epic is free within your school building but usually can’t be used outside of school without paying. For now, Epic is including remote learning through June 30, 2020. Epic has thousands of amazing digital books. You can search books in many ways, one includes by DRA level. You can also create book collections for your students, assign books to specific students and include quizzes. Once you get your kiddos all loaded, you’ll just need to send them your class code and they can access everything from home.
2. Oxford Owl: I’ve been teaching kids to read for 19 years and I’ve seen probably every leveled reader there is. This has several I’ve used in the past. The character’s names are a bit different in these British versions, but the books are still fun to read and the kids love the characters. These are leveled differently since the site in the UK, but would be great to use during a Zoom guided reading lesson. I will tell you that their Oxford level 2 correlates to about a 6 and 8 DRA level.
3. Wilbooks: If you haven’t heard of Wilbooks and you need to build a leveled library for teaching guided reading, then hop on over here. They are so affordable. In addition to offering great books, they also have a free leveled ebook collection.
4. Flyleaf Publishing: If you are looking for decodable readers for your kids, then this is the site for you. I recommended these for my kiddos and told their parents which books I’d like them to practice. After each book there is a homework button that students can select, and several activities are included for the book.
5. Scholastic Learn at Home: This site is free right now and great. You choose a grade band and students are presented with many ebooks as well as other activities that go along with the book.
I hope this post was helpful in narrowing down some beneficial and free reading resources for at-home and remote learning.