“Perhaps the hardest thing to predict… is the future.”–Yogi Berra
Scientific advances and electronic networks are permanently changing the global landscape at an incredible pace. Without a doubt, our children will encounter enormous future challenges in this uncertain world. How can we prepare them to solve problems we cannot even anticipate? What are the most essential skills they will need to find the answers to questions that may not even exist yet?
Literacy is one of the most important foundational skills for successful learning. The best way to prepare your children for the future is by helping them become confident, competent, and motivated readers. We need to equip our children to read information critically and analytically, so they do not just believe everything they see and hear. Reading develops the mind, improves understanding, and enhances the imagination.
The Reading Comprehension Crisis in the U.S.
If your children do not like to read, you are not alone. The reading comprehension crisis in the U.S. is real. Two-thirds of our nation’s 4th, 8th and 12th graders consistently score below the “proficient” level on national assessments. Many of our nation’s children have difficulty understanding a text’s purpose, determining what is important, locating information, making inferences, summarizing text, and figuring out the meanings of new words. Knowing this, how can we help our kids succeed?
What Humans Do Well
Humans are geniuses at finding patterns and making connections. The human brain understands content and context and can also read mood. Even when our children are not directly telling us, we know through their body language when they are engaged and motivated. We also know when they are confused, bored, distracted, or turned off.
What Computers Do Well
Computers, on the other hand, are great at distinguishing between discrete pieces of information. Powerful, research-based computer programs can present information differently based on each of your child’s responses. This is something a quality computer program can do brilliantly.
Why Watering Down Content Hurts Struggling Readers
Children at all skill levels need to be prepared for future challenges. We cannot simply ignore the root causes of their reading problems. It is unacceptable to lower our expectations and just “water down” content. Watering down content means that our children do not have access to the same rich information other children have. This jeopardizes the future of our children and puts them at a great disadvantage.
Helping Parents and Children with Blended Learning
As a parent, you are the most essential person in terms of your children’s learning. You have great power to influence your children and to shape the course of their futures. This is where blended learning can help you. Blended learning is not accomplished by just having your child use computer programs. The important thing is to choose the right ones. Research-based, adaptive programs can help your children succeed. These programs can engage your children with rigorous academic content, at their individual levels. They should also provide you with specific data on your children’s progress, and with downloadable resources so that you can continually meet your children’s specific needs.
As a long-time educator, literacy coach, and curriculum director, I became all too familiar with the frustrations of children who struggle with reading. The problem only increased when they read nonfiction, especially in science, because of its many unfamiliar concepts and its new vocabulary. I was determined to address this problem head on. I worked with a team to develop Readorium. This blended learning solution is designed to enable children at all skill levels to understand the same rich, grade-appropriate science content. This is accomplished with text and support systems that automatically adjust to each individual’s needs, as they read. Using Readorium’s Instructor Resource Center, you can always access your child’s progress reports as well as downloadable resources to help your child succeed.