My son was having trouble in school. He was behind the rest of his class. We had to go in for a parent teacher conference on a Friday and his teacher said he was having trouble with his reading. This surprised me, however I realized I hadn’t been paying attention to what my son was doing in his spare time. So, when we got home I went up and looked in his room. He had his three game consoles all set up next to the TV. His games were neatly arranged on his bookshelves and his video collection of Japanese Anime was there as well. But I looked about. Aside from gaming, magazines there were no books in his room at all. My son’s room had not one book in it. This was a shock as I was trained as a speed-reader in the third grade under the old SRA program and I spent $2-$3000 dollars on books a year to keep up on my job. I went downstairs and found my son and asked him how many books had he read that year. He looked blankly at me and said, “I think 3 that we had to do in class”. I knew then something had to be done and done fast.
I stayed up until I could barely keep my eyes open on the computer searching for reading improvement tools. But I wanted something like the SRA program that would have been updated for a 12-year-old. From the information I gathered from the web I found three software packages that would fit the bill.
I went out and bought all three. The first was “Ace Reader Pro.” (clearwavesoftware.com) It has a built-in training program that teaches with fun games and activities to help a young adult reader get more out of their reading. The really great feature was that it could read PDF, the web, and many other formats of eBooks this was perfect as I know eBooks are rapidly replacing regular books and magazines.
The second package was EyeQ http://infinitemind.io/individual/, which was developed by the Japanese for their kids and for corporate training. EyeQ has some features that the ACE Reader Program has fewer features that than ACE Reader Pro. The two seemed to complement each other and both have a way of teaching that keeps track of progress and a progressive lesson system.
The third was a little bizarre as it uses music and something called the Mozart effect to boost your reading skills.
But it too allowed for the reading of eBooks and came with 600 preloaded setups. However, their website said the program was no longer available as of this writing. So thus armed, I loaded them on the family computer and went in search of my son.
Usage and results
My son warmed up to the EyeQ program right away as all he had to do was press a few keys and it was off and running. He enjoyed the way the program gradually speeded up over a period of 12 weeks and at the end of that time, he was reading at about twice his normal speed. He had finished reading the built-in books and suddenly wanted more.
I switched him over to the ACE Reader Pro program and got some old “Ton Swift JR.”, books that were floating around the web and set him off. He actually liked them and wanted more. I was able to get some Hardy Boys and Rick Brant novels from Manybooks.net. He ate them up and now he goes out on the web and on Amazon to get, his own Books and has a Kindle.
To make a long story short, my son is reading more and playing video games less and he’s turned his failing grades around and is getting “B’s” and even an “A” or two. So, for me this was the best investment in software for children I ever made.