Does your child need some work on their reading skills? Check out BuddyBooks, a fun and effective program for reading practice for kids.
There’s really no other way around it… if you want your child to become a stronger reader, they’re going to have to practice. When I was teaching my kids to read there were plenty of hours spent listening to them read and help sound out words.
Unfortunately though, if your child is struggling with mastering reading it can be frustrating for you and your child. That’s why I’m excited I came across BuddyBooks! It’s a fabulous resource that combines all the necessary tools to help your child practice reading in an enjoyable way.
In this article, I’ll go over all the details about BuddyBooks so you can decide if this program is a good fit for your child.
Let’s get to it!
I was compensated for my time reviewing BuddyBooks by ObjectiveEd and writing this post. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided.
What is BuddyBooks?
BuddyBooks is a program designed for reading practice for kids. It was created by ObjectiveEd, an education technology company that creates innovative tools to help kids learn.
The program is designed to help struggling readers work on their reading and comprehension skills without getting bored or frustrated. Your child takes turns reading a book with the computer, or “buddy.”
This allows them to read for longer without getting as frustrated or bored. And, as I’m sure you know, the longer and more focused your child is while practicing reading, the better they’ll do!
BuddyBooks by ObjectiveEd is designed for reading practice for kids in 3rd grade and up. However, they do have some books for younger kids as well.
I used the program with my son who is at a 1st-grade reading level (thanks to some awesome reading programs we used this past year) and he was able to use it just fine. I think the program would be great to use for all ages, especially if you homeschool.
What’s included with your purchase
With your purchase, you’ll get access to the BuddyBooks website. You’ll have a parent log-in where you can access the dashboard, assign books, and track their progress.
You will also have a student log-in where your child can read the current book that you’ve assigned to them. You’ll get access to their selection of books that ranges from Elementary school through High school level.
If you purchase a monthly membership, it’s $19.99 a month per child. If you purchase a yearly membership, it’s $199 for the year.
Use coupon code JQ-ATHS by July 16, 2023, at the checkout and save $100 off the yearly membership!!
Don’t want to read? Watch my review here!
How BuddyBooks Works
Now let’s talk about how this reading practice for kids program works. I’m happy to say it was super easy to use.
Step 1: Log in to the parent dashboard
First, you have to log in and create your child’s account. From there you need to assign them books.
To do that you click on your child’s name in the parent dashboard. This will open the student’s dashboard.
Click on the word “Books” in the side menu. This will take you to their current selection of books.
Step 2: Assign books
Scroll down and click the button that says “Find a Book.” This will take you to the books that you currently have access to.
From there you’ll see a selection of books that you can sort through based on their recommendations or age level. Then click on a book that you want to add to your child’s account.
A quick description of the book will pop up. If you would like to add it to your child’s account, click the down arrow in the cloud. This will turn into a checkmark and it means the book has been added to your child’s account.
From there you will close out the book description and add any more books you think your child would enjoy reading. Then close out the selection of books and you’ll be back on the page that lists the books that are in your child’s account.
Step 3: Activate a book
Before your child can use the program, you’ll need to activate a book. To do that click on the button under “Active?” for the book you would like to assign. You can only assign 1 book at a time, so once your child finishes one book, you’ll need to come back to this page to assign the next book.
And that’s it! From there your child will just need to log in to their student account. They’ll be taken to a page that checks the sound settings and gives instructions on how to use the program.
Using BuddyBooks is really simple. Your child hits the “Start Reading” program and it takes them to the book they’ll be reading. It will automatically begin reading to them.
Once it’s done, it will pause for your child’s turn. To the left of the text, there will be a symbol of a person talking and the words “Your Turn” when it’s the child’s turn to read.
Once they have read the passage, they press the “Enter” button on the keyboard and the program will start reading the next passage. They can press the “spacebar” button on the keyboard if they need to pause at any time.
As I said, it was really easy to use. My son is 5 and he had no problem using this program by himself. I simply sat next to him while he used it to make sure he stayed on task.
There is also a progress bar at the top of the screen to track how long they’ve been reading, so they know when it’s ok to stop.
And that’s pretty much it. Your child logs on, reads back and forth with the computer for the designated time, and then they can log out when they’re done.
How to Get Access to More Books with Bookshare
Just by itself, BuddyBooks has a decent amount of books in its selection. Especially for older kids. However, if your child has a Bookshare account, you can get access to over 1 million books.
Bookshare is a program designed for children with reading disabilities that gives them access to special e-books. If your child has an account, you just need to link it to their BuddyBooks account.
Once it’s linked, they’ll have access to all the books in the Bookshare library as well as the ones in the BuddyBooks library. If you haven’t looked into it yet, the Bookshare library has some really great books!
How to get access to Bookshare
According to the Bookshare website, “Bookshare® is available only for individuals who have a qualifying reading or perceptual disability, a visual impairment, or a physical disability that affects their ability to read printed works.”
If you don’t currently have access to Bookshare and you think your child may qualify, BuddyBooks offers a money-back guarantee on the cost of NeuroLearning screening for parents who purchase BuddyBooks. After testing, if your child is not eligible for Bookshare, BuddyBooks will refund the $50 for the screening.
If your child is eligible, the child would have access to the entire Bookshare library at no cost until the child is 18. You can learn more details about how this offer works here.
Navigating the Parent Dashboard
The only other thing you need to know about this program for reading practice for kids is how to use the parent dashboard. It’s pretty straightforward but offers a lot of great information on how your child is progressing with their reading.
You can log in and see:
- how many days they read and if they hit their reading goal,
- their progress on their current book,
- their score on different phonemes,
- reading accuracy,
- words correct per minute,
- and how they’ve done on passages they reviewed.
Being able to get such in-depth feedback is great and helps you to get a better understanding of how your child is doing with their reading practice. And it helps you to understand what areas or phonemes they need to focus on and work on improving.
It’s also helpful to be able to look at the data over time and compare it. That way you can see if your child is making progress in their reading abilities or not.
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What Makes BuddyBooks Fun & Effective Reading Practice for Kids?
Now let’s cover what makes BuddyBooks stand out. Let’s go over why is this program so effective for reading practice for kids.
Kids can practice reading longer
The first thing that sets this program apart from traditional reading practice for kids is the buddy system. Having the computer and your child take turns reading allows your kids to practice reading for longer.
Those short breaks while the computer is reading really lessen the cognitive load and mental strain that can come with reading a long passage without any breaks. It extends the amount of time that your child is able to focus on the task and they can practice reading for longer.
It also helps to keep them engaged by breaking it up into smaller intervals. And, as I’m sure you know, the longer they can practice reading, the faster their skills will improve and the more comfortable they will become with reading.
My son stayed on task while reading at a higher reading level than normal for much longer.
Designed for kids with dyslexia, ASD, & ADHD
Something else that sets BuddyBooks apart from other reading programs for kids is that this program is specifically designed for kids with dyslexia, ASD, ADHD, and other reading difficulties.
Learning to read can often be challenging for certain children. I imagine having a program like this could be a real lifeline for parents as they work to help their children become more confident readers.
Fun & engaging books to read
Another reason that this program is so great for reading practice for kids is that children can read books at their interest level, not just books at their reading level. Oftentimes, children who struggle to learn to read are stuck practicing on books that are boring or meant for younger readers.
This often leads to boredom, frustration, and a general lack of enthusiasm or cooperation when it comes time to practice reading.
With BuddyBooks, they can pick out books meant for children their age and that match their interests. Because they are taking turns reading with the computer and the cognitive load of reading is lessened, they can practice on more challenging books.
This helps to keep them engaged and motivated. And overall makes reading a lot more fun.
Why We Loved BuddyBooks
As a parent who very much wants my children to grow up as strong readers, reading practice for kids is a high priority in my house. Which is why I was very excited to try this program out.
None of my kids have any specific reading or learning disability, but I still loved this program. Here are some of the things that I really liked about it:
Hands off for parents
First and foremost, I loved that BuddyBooks is easy for kids to use independently. As a busy mom with 3 kids and a couple of part-time jobs, it’s honestly a struggle to sit down and listen to my kids read as much as they need.
With this program, I was able to set my son up and then start taking care of some other tasks while he read. I only had to explain to him once how it worked and then he was good to go.
Other than occasionally helping him with a word he was unsure about how to read, the rest he did all by himself.
Informative parent dashboard
I also really loved the parent dashboard. It gave so much helpful information about where your child is at with their reading. It even gives a score for different phonemes so you know exactly what areas to work on to bridge any gaps.
I also like that it tracked their reading practice in detail. If you’re children are working independently, it’s easy to log in and see how much they’re reading and how they’re progressing.
Practice for problem areas
The last thing I really liked is that the program will automatically offer passages from previous reading sessions for your kid to practice. It will read the passage aloud, replay the recording of your child reading it previously, and then give them a chance to read it again.
I think this opportunity to hear what you read and practice again could be really helpful for children as they work on becoming more fluent readers.
Who Would BuddyBooks Be a Good Fit For?
As with every curriculum, BuddyBooks will be a great fit for some and a not-so-great fit for others. Here are the families who I think would get the most out of using this program:
- Your kid is struggling with reading: There comes a point in learning to read when the only thing you can do is practice. But children who are having a hard time learning often struggle with even wanting to do the practice that they specifically need. BuddyBooks does a great job of making reading practice for kids smoother and more enjoyable.
- You’re looking for something your kid can do on their own: This was the biggest draw for me. If you would like your child to be able to effectively practice reading without you having to sit by their side the entire time, this program would be a great choice.
- Your child has dyslexia, ASD, ADHD, or a reading impairment: Combined with the access to Bookshare, I think this program is a great tool for children who have learning or reading difficulties.
FAQs About BuddyBooks: Fun & Effective Reading Practice for Kids
Still have some questions about BuddyBooks? Here are some frequently asked questions about this reading program for kids.
What devices is BuddyBooks compatible with?
BuddyBooks works best on a computer or Chromebook. They also recommend using the Google Chrome browser.
Your child will need speakers and a microphone to use the program. It’s not currently compatible with a phone or tablet.
Do I need to sit with my child while they read?
You don’t have to sit with your child while they read. I sat near my son while he read so I was available to answer any questions, but he really didn’t need me much.
I think older children would be able to easily use the program by themselves.
Is there a trial period?
There isn’t currently a trial period. However, if you sign up for the annual plan by July 16, 2023, you can use coupon code JQ-ATHS for $100 off your membership!
What if I don’t have a Bookshare account?
Having a Bookshare account does give you access to tons of really great books, but you don’t have to have one to use the program. My son doesn’t have an account and he still got a ton of use out of the program.
They have a great selection of books and are currently working to add more to their library.
Where can I sign up for BuddyBooks?
If you’d like to get more information or sign up for BuddyBooks, head to their website here! And don’t forget to use coupon code JQ-ATHS by July 16, 2023, to get $100 off your membership!
Conclusion to BuddyBooks Review: Fun & Effective Reading Practice for Kids
Overall, I’m really happy with this program for reading practice for kids. The cost is reasonable, it’s easy to use, and the parent dashboard offers a lot of great feedback.
I would definitely recommend BuddyBooks to anyone looking to help their children become more skilled readers.
How do you incorporate reading practice for kids? Let us know in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Candice is a mom of 3 who has been homeschooling since 2013. She has an A.A.S. in Early Childhood Studies and cares deeply about helping other parents get the information and resources they need to help them homeschool their children with confidence.