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Wednesday, February 28th
Homer is a learn to read program created for children ages 2-8. It covers reading, math, creativity, thinking, and social and emotional learning. Homer follows the common core standard in teaching children to read. The teacher will teach the letter and its sound together in a planned way with a purposeful order. Homer prides itself on being able to increase test scores by 74%.
Steps to being a fluent reader
Starting out, your child will be given a 5-step process to learn the pre-literacy skills needed for reading.
The Homer learning process
Homer's learning program as a whole has four steps to it. Step one is to introduce the concept. Step two is practice and reinforce what was taught. Step three is apply and show what you have learned. Step four is to transfer and show in the real world what you can do. Homer advertises that they have used scientific evidence and research to create this approach. This four-step approach gets applied to all of their subjects, from reading to math.
At the time of this review the annual membership is on sale for $59.99 for the year or $4.99 for 12 months. If you want to pay monthly with the ability to cancel, it will cost you $9.99 per month. Homer also has another app included with it which is Learn with Sesame Street. Unfortunately, we didn't see the appeal to the app itself. It would be ok to use as an educational game to keep your child entertained for a few minutes and will reinforce literacy skills but it will not teach your child how to read.
According to the Better Business Bureau, Homer has an "A+" rating. However, they have numerous complaints about customers trying to cancel and either not being able to or still being charged. Their communication with their customers appears to be lacking until it is escalated to this level. While there are some positive reviews from parents stating that their kids enjoy the app even those on the older range of the program, many users wish that skills were reiterated more and that there was a little more practice involved while using the app.
Better options are out there
We are not overly impressed with Homer. Its biggest benefit is the connection to Sesame Street in the bonus app. Between the complaints on being able to cancel and being overcharged, to the lack of reiteration on skills, this app appears to be lacking. We would strongly encourage you to check out some of the other options over Homer when looking for a program to teach your child to read.
The most common tools used to teach literacy to children are phonics and sight words. Phonics tends to be an easier skill for children as they are able to sound out the letters to create a word. Sight words can be trickier because they are words that just need memorized as they do not follow the rules when it comes to reading the English language.
Learn to read programs can be helpful for children as they tend to be game-based. Children love to play games and they do not necessarily realize they are learning. When looking at a learn to read program, you can expect it to offer some type of fun activity for children to do. Some programs go above and beyond this with other school subjects being covered or worksheets to print out.
Also, spelling can be an important part of learning to read. This helps children find patterns in words and how to read multiple that follow the same rule. An example is if you can spell light and know that the "gh" is silent, then you can read might, tight, and so on.
As you consider different learn to read programs, there are a few key aspects you'll find to be most important:
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