Through our work with educators we have seen several technology-based programs that emphasize phonics, fluency, and decoding but not many that focus on actual comprehension.
This is unfortunate because for students to increase comprehension skills, they need to learn to tackle, rather than avoid, grade-appropriate texts.
Technology-based scaffolds can help students better understand texts they are reading. Effective scaffolds give students helpful directions, and guide them when they encounter troublesome areas.
Making useful reading comprehension software is complicated. Comprehension passages, questions, and responses are subtle and require careful consideration.
Students need suitable distracting questions and explanations when the program tells them an answer is incorrect.
Texts have to be at the right individual level for a wide span of readers. A comprehension program must also provide enough content to prevent students from seeing passages repeated.
Merit’s new reading program – Reading Comprehension Booster Online – was designed with these goals in mind.