This year A-Man is in “kindergarten”. I put that in quotes because when you’re homeschooling, and especially when you’re homeschooling an autistic kiddo, grade levels get a bit mushy. A lot of our school time has to look like play, and some days we do primarily therapy activities instead of traditional school lessons.
The thing is, when our kids hit “kindergarten age”, we face some pressure to start seeing the progress of the traditional school schedule. Largely in our family, it means that we start to focus on beginning to learn to read. I was not prepared for what a crazy struggle that would be with A-Man, but thankfully I found the best online reading program for screen-addicted kiddos!
This post is sponsored by Nessy Learning. I was given the reading program to try, and I was compensated for my time. I was not required to give a positive review, and all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure for details.
The Best Online Reading Program to a Screen Addicted Kiddo
See, A-Man has always learned more from screens than he has from me. His first words came from repeating the things that he saw on TV, and he can list tons of facts about different animals he’s learned about from his shows and games. It became really apparent that we needed to find a way to incorporate screen-time into our homeschool, and Nessy Learning became the perfect way to do it!
Struggling with Traditional Reading Lessons
When we taught Mr. C to read, the process was unbelievably simple. We started with basic phonics in a simple print book. It became very clear that that just wouldn’t work for A-Man. We pull out a book and try to make him sit and practice phonics, and it’s like pulling teeth. We needed something exciting and engaging for him, that wouldn’t “feel” like school.
Teaching Reading With a Screen
For A-Man to learn to read, we needed to integrate reading into his favorite activity… And his favorite activity right now? Anything with a screen. TV shows, tablet games, computer games and videos, whatever. Thankfully with Nessy Reading and Spelling, everything is done online in a games and puzzles format that lets A-Man practice his reading skills without even realizing he’s “doing school”.
The Benefits of an Online Reading Program
Besides the obvious benefit of learning reading online being that A-Man is actually excited to start his reading lessons for the day, there are tons of surprising reasons that we fell in love with this curriculum. It gives A-Man a ton of instant feedback that he just didn’t get with a traditional curriculum. He earns “nuggets” for every task he completes, and when he passes a full lesson he gets a gold star! It’s great for kids who need some external motivation.
It’s also given us an opportunity to work with A-Man on his computer skills. He’s a champ when it comes to his tablet games, but he doesn’t always have the best coordination when it comes to navigating and clicking on a computer or laptop. We had A-Man point out the answer he came up with, then my husband or I would help him move the cursor over the answer he selected, then he got to pick. It’s really helping with his visual processing skills while he works.
Making Learning to Read Fun with Games and Puzzles
The very first thing that Nessy Reading and Spelling has kids do is make and customize their very own monkey. They can add silly hats and funny glasses to their monkey, and A-Man loved it! Then they have kids work through a placement test, that determines five different learning goals for where your child is at currently. Then you can immediately dive into the learning games that are based on those goals. A-Man absolutely loved the first game, where he got to help his monkey drive a banana over a bridge. Never before have I seen my son laughing and smiling during reading practice. Especially not with a blend (we were working on CH in this game).
See, the game was puzzle based. The “bridge” that the monkey had to drive over was made up of the different sounds in a word, then they got all mixed up and A-Man had to rebuild the bridge. He had to first listen to the word sounded out, then he had to remember the order of the sounds to correctly rebuild his bridge. He’s a mister fix-it, and I could tell he loved figuring out which pieces went where, even though he was using his phonics skills that he hates practicing!
Getting Dad Involved in Homeschooling
Another thing I’ve loved about trying out Nessy Reading and Spelling is how it has helped my husband to be involved in homeschooling. Since Chris became a stay at home dad in December, he’s slowly been taking more of the homeschooling responsibilities off of my plate. An online reading program was the perfect way for him to totally take over a subject for me. Mom just isn’t as cool at computer games as Dad is, apparently.
It has been so fun to watch Chris and A-Man spend afternoons together playing silly monkey games, all the while knowing that A-Man is learning valuable skills. It’s also been sweet to see Baby M trying to “help” A-Man with his reading lessons, because of course Baby M wants to be just like his big brother these days!
How to Get Nessy Reading and Spelling
You can sign up for Nessy Reading and Spelling on their website, and you can use the coupon code BLOG17 to get 15% off! You can also follow along with Nessy Learning on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Youtube, or you can download their free ebook called “Dyslexia Explained”. I would highly recommend trying Nessy Reading and Spelling with your kids to add a bit of fun to your homeschool, especially if they’re struggling with dyslexia or other reading struggles.
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