We Were Skeptical About Reading Apps Until We Tried HOMER

When my first child was in kindergarten, I figured he would learn everything he needed to know in school. We helped him with his homework and always made sure to see he had completed it, but he was never really interested in school. By mid-year, he was struggling a little with his reading skills, which was affecting how he performed in other subjects, too. Mikey's teacher let me know he was behind and recommended we practice more at home and figure out how to get him more engaged.

I was talking with my friend about Mikey's challenges with reading, when she told me her daughter's teacher also had similar concerns, but instead of hiring a tutor to practice reading with her, she subscribed to this program called HOMER. HOMER Reading is a personalized, learn-to-read program for kids ages 2-8 that makes building reading skills as fun as playing a video game. The program has been shown to increase early reading scores by 74% with just 15 minutes a day, and my friend now swears by it. She says it's helped her daughter become a stronger, more confident reader, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

I was still skeptical that a computer application could actually teach my kids how to read. I spend lots of time trying to steal my phone back from the kids, so I was hard-pressed to willingly give them screen time. But, I decided giving it a try, and I'm glad I did. The first thing I liked about HOMER was that you can set up the program based on your child's interests and reading level. To start off, you input your child's name, and then it asks you to select their interests, like princesses, outer space, farm animals, and vehicles. Then, it asked about Mikey's reading level with questions like whether he can identify the sounds of letters, if he can read consonant-vowel-consonant words, and whether he can recognize rhyming words. Since the program allows up to 4 unique profiles on 1 membership, I took advantage and made my 4-year-old, Noah, an account too, figuring it would help him get ahead.

It wasn't hard getting my kids to use the app because it leads the kids through fun games and lessons that teach specific reading skills, like phonics and spelling. It's very interactive, sometimes asking the child to repeat a word or sound, which I love because I can hear them learning while I'm in the next room making dinner. It uses vibrant, colorful pictures and interesting stories that are a lot more fun than workbooks. The app also features other fun activities like a drawing board, create-your-own-story section, and lots of sing-along songs. Noah's favorite is the cute, LMNOPeas song.

My kids love HOMER, and I've noticed a huge difference in their reading skills and overall desires to learn. I was so happy when Mikey's teacher sent me a note to say he was volunteering more in class and that his skills were definitely improving. It's safe to say my kids are gaining the confidence they need from using HOMER. Not only do they get extra help from the app's instruction, but it also allows me to multi-task. I can cook or tidy up, while still checking in on the kids and helping them out when necessary. Since HOMER is teaching my kids how to read and getting them excited to learn, I don't feel guilty about giving them some extra screen time.

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