What can a one-on-one online lesson with a reading specialist do that you can’t get from an app?

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For the last week of Better Hearing and Speech Month, we are talking about literacy! According to ASHA, literacy (reading, writing, spelling) falls under an SLP’s scope of practice. However today, Whitney Elliot, a certified reading specialist, explains what an online lesson with a reading specialist can do that you can’t get from an app.


If your house is like mine, your kids are spending a lot of time using reading apps and digital literacy-learning platforms as we try to manage the day-to-day of life in quarantine while also supporting their academic growth.  Screen-based reading programs can provide opportunities to practice specific reading skills and a range of motivating digital texts for kids to explore in the absence of physical books from schools or public libraries.  Experienced readers and kids who already love reading may be taking off and using those platforms to challenge themselves with new and exciting books.  

But if like many of us, you have a struggling or reluctant reader, you may find your child resisting these programs, or using creative avoidance strategies by seeking out the parts of the app that are less-than-educational.  Anyone else find their kids in the “prize room” or “drawing board” of an app when you thought they had been working on reading skills?

If we didn’t already know before this pandemic forced us into “virtual school,” no amount of reading apps can really substitute for face-to-face interaction with an experienced teacher.  The good news is that quality teaching can take place online.  An online reading specialist knows how to support your child in weaving together skills they have practiced through apps and virtual school exercises, and to fill in any gaps. 

What can a one-on-one online lesson with a reading specialist do that you can’t get from an app?
  1. Reading specialists weave all elements of literacy learning together in exactly the right combination for your child: fluency, word work, comprehension and vocabulary, and writing.
  1. Adapt activities and materials on the spot to maximize engagement:  Motivation and engagement are key factors for reading progress, and teachers are able to read a child’s mood and adjust on the spot.
  1. Positive and constructive feedback:  A computer can let a child know if they are wrong or right, but a teacher can analyze why the child made the error in the first place, support them in building understanding, and praise skills the student is using correctly.  Good feedback helps a student feel proud of the skills they are already using and give clear and specific guidance on how to keep moving forward.
  1. Self-assessment: A good teacher will support a child in tracking their own progress, helping build intrinsic motivation and keep setting and reaching higher goals.
  1. Support parents:  Have questions about your child’s progress, want book recommendations, or other areas of literacy development?  A reading specialist can answer your questions and talk you through how to best support your child outside of lessons.
An online reading specialist can provide to kind of support your kid needs to truly take off as a reader, not just spin their wheels!

If you’re interested in our one-on-one online reading lessons, schedule a free consultation today!


Whitney Elliot is a certified reading specialist with nearly fifteen years of teaching experience and a strong record of helping globally mobile students improve their reading skills both in-person and online.  She is a member of the International Literacy Association and International Dyslexia Association.