By Mary Anglin-Coulter, Reading Buddy Software
Is it me, or does the school year seem more sporadic these days?
When I was a kid, we were in school during the year and on break in the summer. Whether we were in school or camp, we had long stretches. If we were in school, it felt like forever until we got a break. And when we returned, it felt like we were gone for a long time.
Today, a year-round school calendar with frequent breaks is more popular. Add to that snow days and you have a learning routine that’s constantly interrupted.
I don’t think this is good for a child’s learning. Kids need a consistent routine.
Madi, my first grader, likes to sleep in when school is out, but the break in the flow of her learning causes a problem—she forgets what she learned before the time-off. I see it when we resume evening homework. It’s especially bad with her reading.
Madi is stronger in math than reading. I’ve been thinking that she needs some extra help developing her reading skills. I wanted to find something she would enjoy during vacation, something that wouldn’t feel like homework—the educational equivalent to hiding ground-up carrots in her fruit smoothie.
I signed her up for a few activity workbooks that arrived in the mail. She liked them (and she loved getting mail), but they weren’t pushing her to learn.
Madi loves technology, like all kids these days. I tried playing into her hunger for tech by signing her up for some websites that boasted educational value. Madi had fun, but I didn’t see the educational payoff.
I discovered an interactive program called Reading Buddy Software. It uses Siri-like technology to monitor a child’s reading and if they struggle with a word it corrects them. It’s like having a tutor in the computer (that’s the company’s line).
The software also has a point and prize reward system. Madi picked her prizes. I decided on the points needed. This was the fun I was looking for. And after Madi used it for a while I noticed that she was reading faster and with more accuracy.
Every time Madi used Reading Buddy Software it reminded her of how many more points she needed to win her prize, which motivated her to read more. But because of the game dynamics embedded in the software, it didn’t feel like homework. I found my carrot.
Now, when we wake up to a foot of snow or the calendar happens upon another vacation, Madi’s learning routine is not broken.
I prefer the old-fashion school calendar, but times have changed. And now that my daughter has a tutor in her computer, I can’t be accused of not changing with them.
Sign up for Reading Buddy today! http://readingbuddysoftware.com/
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