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Reading Comprehension Software Programs

Individualized programs for all ages

Reading comprehension is complex.  For reading comprehension software to be effective, we need to help your child meet the current 8th grade reading comprehension standards, namely:

  1. Understand the main idea
  2. Comprehend the sequence, context and/or characters
  3. Clarify parts of the text which have confused them
  4. Connect the text to prior knowledge or experience

And then, beyond the 8th grade standard is the ultimate end-goal reading skill — reading comprehension with metacognition. This is the ability to read text, understand its meaning in context and to think critically and self-correct while reading (the metacognition part). This process is described most authoritatively by Reed Lyon as part of an NIH research paper.

Reading comprehension per common core reading standards at high school, i.e., reading comprehension with metacognition is not an easy skill to master. It’s a level of reading competence that many individuals do not reach. It is however a crucial and difference-making college-level learning skill.

Our Program For Reading Comprehension

In addition to accurate reading, a number of cognitive, language and thinking skills need to be functioning well.  Our reading comprehension software program works on these skills, step by step. Some students use our reading comprehension program to fill in gaps, others require a more intensive intervention.

Essential Reading Comprehension Skills

Reading comprehension requires mastery of fundamentals, language and higher level thinking skills.  There is a lot going on while you are reading.  Our individualized sequence of software exercises builds the following broader skills, considered essential for reading comprehension proficiency:

Familiarity with Language

Reading comprehension requires a range of language skills:

  • Phonology — an ability to hear and process the sounds, the phonemes, that make up words
  • Syntax – the rules that govern the structure of sentences, including grammar
  • Semantics – attributing meaning to words
  • Pragmatics — understanding how context impacts meaning

While most children pick up these linguistic skills by listening, struggling readers tend to have processing delays that impede language familiarity and dexterity. Our adaptive, online exercises help improve language, feeding directly into better reading comprehension.

Thinking While Reading (Shallow and Deep Processing)

There are two levels of reading comprehension that require two levels of processing.  Shallow processing is literal reading comprehension, being able to recognize words and sentence structure to extract basic understanding.  Deep processing refers to a higher level of understanding, where the literal meaning of words is connected to other words and then put in context.

Putting words in context, drawing inferences, thinking critically about the text — these tasks require deep processing skills, the ability to think while reading. Accomplished readers do this intuitively — while reading, they constantly compare the text to their understanding of the world.

For most struggling readers, occupied with decoding, this is difficult. Like all of the best reading comprehension software, our exercises develop the crucial skill of thinking while reading. Our programs use sentence completion and other reading puzzles where students learn to decode subconsciously while the mind focuses on an analytical task.

Reading Stamina

Practice makes perfect, and so children need to be able to read for long periods.  Our reading comprehension software for elementary students, teenagers and adults develops reading stamina by:

  • Making reading easier. Our programs automate decoding so that it does not require concentration — this makes reading less exhausting.
  • Improving reading comprehension. An ability to comprehend the text makes it more interesting and engaging, even enjoyable.
  • Building reading speed. Our programs improve focus, reducing the need to re-read text, and improve vocabulary — recognizable words — creating fewer reasons to pause while reading. Better progress through the text makes engagement easier.

Fast ForWord also helps selective attention, important for reading stamina. We aim to make our students more avid readers, so that they will keep reading and keep improving reading comprehension through practice.

We support this reading practice habit with Reading Assistant, a nonjudgmental reading software that uses speed recognition software to correct and guide.


The final step to mastering reading is metacognition, the ability to read critically and self-correct as you go. Metacognitive reading comprehension strategies require years of practice, which can only start once a student is reading with comprehension.

This is a reason to improve reading skills sooner rather than later.

The Strategy That Supports Our Reading Comprehension Software

Gemm Learning develops protocols drawing exercises from reading comprehension computer software programs Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant.  These two programs target the exact skills identified by the National Reading Panel (formed by the NIHCD) as critical, namely: phonemic awareness, phonics, oral reading practice and comprehension strategy instruction.

All students start with cognitive and reading fundamentals, the goal being to make sure your child has the fully developed cognitive and language skills required for reading comprehension.  Our program is adaptive, meaning if your child has mastery of the fundamentals, he will fly through this initial phase.

The second phase of our program focuses on reading comprehension specifically, building each of the skills laid out above, one by one.  Our program can accelerate reading at any age,  Early on the target is sentence-level comprehension, whereas in later grades it is reading comprehension with context, and then finally, with metacognition,

Finally, our secret sauce is our professional oversight.  The best reading comprehension program in the world will not help if your child does not work on it regularly. Our professionals monitor, guide, coach and intervene as needed.

Programs by Age

The target of the software varies quite significantly by age.  Reading comprehension software exercises for elementary age focus on the fundamentals of decoding automaticity and basic vocabulary.

Meanwhile the reading comprehension software exercises for middle school and high school do make sure reading is automatic, but devote more time to training the thinking while reading skills your child needs for high school level understanding and critical thinking.

To find out which online reading comprehension software protocol is right for your child, watch this video or call one our specialists for a free consult.