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Harnessing Online Resources for Kids During National Reading Month

National Reading Month, celebrated each March, is an opportune time for parents and educators to focus on fostering strong reading habits in children. Since Spring Break often coincides with this month, it's incredibly valuable to connect kids with online reading resources and activities that they can access with a click wherever they are. Engaging kids in reading during their free time encourages a healthy lifelong habit and boosts academic performance. It also enhances media literacy for kids, protecting them from harmful content.


Why Reading Skills Are Especially Vital for Digital Natives


Particularly for generations that have grown up with the internet, the importance of literacy extends well beyond understanding words on a page. Strong reading skills improve comprehension, critical thinking, concentration, vocabulary, self-esteem, and overall academic performance. However, equally importantly, in a world where anyone can publish anything online, reading and media literacy offer kids the ability to identify reliable sources and reject untruthful and harmful ideas, including online mis- and dis-information, propaganda, hate speech, and more.


Online Resources for Building Reading Skills


In today's digital age, children are increasingly exposed to a vast amount of content, making it essential to equip them with the necessary skills to navigate this landscape safely. Here are some online resources for reading that will lay the foundations for discerning high-quality content later on in their lives.


Early Reading Resources


Some early reading online resources and apps that help to develop foundational literacy skills include:


  • DuoLingo ABC

  • Name Play

  • Hooked on Phonics Learn & Read

  • Monkey Word School Adventure

  • Khan Academy Kids

  • StoryWorld


Other Reading Resources


Other digital reading and learning resources for children of various ages and abilities include:


  • Open eBooks

  • Vooks

  • Epic School

  • PBS Kids

  • International Children’s Digital Library

  • Scholastic


By investing in children's literacy and critical thinking skills, we empower them to perform better in school and become informed, responsible citizens capable of navigating the complex digital world safely and effectively.


Teach Kids the Value of Reading With Net Positive


The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Utah County is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens and leaders. We accomplish this by providing evidence-based programs with a focus on those that improve academic engagement, build character, and promote healthy behaviors.


Our Net Positive Program educates K-12 students about digital safety, health, citizenship, and leadership. After participating in our program, students are 97% better prepared to face internet dangers. Contact us to learn more and ask your school to schedule a Net Positive Presentation today!


References


Digital misinformation / disinformation and children. (n.d.). UNICEF Office of Global Insight & Policy. https://www.unicef.org/globalinsight/stories/digital-misinformation-disinformation-and-children


Great early reading resources | Common Sense Education. (2023, December 12). Common Sense Education. https://www.commonsense.org/education/lists/great-early-reading-resources


Learn at Home with Free Educational Websites for Children. (n.d.). Save the Children. https://www.savethechildren.org/us/charity-stories/free-websites-and-apps-to-keep-kids-learning


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