We think of reading comprehension and reading to be essentially interchangeable. But how do we know our students aren’t capable of recognising and engaging with concepts in texts just because they can’t read them yet? Comprehending text, and the ideas within it, is often clouded by an inability to simply read that text. But that doesn’t mean students can’t understand things themselves, if given the chance.
Coming soon to CARS & STARS Online is a brand new, exclusive feature: Read Aloud. This option can be switched on for students who prefer to listen to content instead of reading it directly, allowing textual decoding to occur regardless of basic literacy level.
Students can hear the text and focus on its meaning irrespective of whether they can read it themselves, removing a major barrier to comprehension. This feature is particularly helpful for those with dyslexia or other learning differences, but can be of benefit to any student.
The Read Aloud feature increases word exposure and improves vocabulary by exposing students to words they may not be able to read themselves as text yet, but which they still have the ability to understand when delivered verbally. This exposure to new words helps build background knowledge, an essential component of an evolving student, and can introduce students to concepts and ideas before they would otherwise come across them in texts.
Discovering words in this way also helps develop higher-order thinking skills, because students engage with text at a more abstract level initially and by default, being exposed directly to the concepts and not having to decode them themselves – essentially overcoming many obstacles of a lower-order thinking style while progressing straight to higher levels of understanding, a real boon for their confidence.
The Read Aloud feature may also reduce any working-memory deficit students have, and remove anxieties students might have about decoding printed words. The spoken word is often less intimidating for students as an initial introduction to a story or idea, as any teacher who has read a book to a class of non-readers knows.
The Read Aloud feature is an exciting new addition to CARS & STARS Online, already a unique way for your child to embark upon their reading journey, coming in 2020.
If you are interested in learning more about the CARS & STARS Online subscriptions and how they can help children to achieve better results, then sign up for a 30-day free trial to be an integral part of your child’s reading success.