Have you ever used Raz-Kids? I've known about it for a while and have used Reading A-Z before, but right now I have a trial subscription for Raz-Kids and their newest program, Headsprout. I'm LOVING it!
Raz-Kids, if you aren't familiar with it, has a collection of leveled books (basically the same as the ones you can download on Reading A-Z) that students can read online. We use Fountas and Pinnell at our school, and the letters are different, but it shows what level the student will be on for their program. Anyway, what I really like about the program is that they can answer questions about the stories they read, and then it lets them go back and find the correct answers for the ones they miss. Students are rewarded extra points for getting all of the answers right, even if they had to go back and fix them!
Headsprout is a really neat new program that really helps the students with their reading comprehension. There are lower levels for younger students that work on phonics, but I just began all of my students on the first reading comprehension episode. These episodes break down a small passage and explain what the question is asking. The very first one was all about focusing on the beginning of the question: who, what, when, where, why, and how. I don't know about you, but many of my students, especially the third graders, still don't pay attention to this part and completely miss questions because of it. Below is a sample of how they reviewed this skill.
The episodes are about 20 minutes long (depending on how well the student does and how quickly they work), and after completing it, they are rewarded extra coins, 100 points to "spend", and are shown a quick little "movie". My kids would get so excited about completing levels and really enjoy the cartoon!
Then then can either move on to the next episode, read some more books through the Raz-Kids section, or redeem points. I've been playing around with a "dummy" account and have had fun spending my points and showing the kids what they can get. Looks like I need to do more to really show it off!
Oh, I haven't even mentioned the best part about the whole program, along with the fact that the kids really are having a blast with it and get excited when we go to the lab. Each student has a login and can do this at home! I can see how many times they've logged in, look at where they are struggling (from the Raz-Kid quizzes they take), and also send this information to parents so they can check their child's status. I've already told my principal that I want both programs for my 3rd and 4th grade students next year (my 5th graders saw a little and thought it was too babyish, plus they kind of max out around end of 4th grade reading level). Headsprout is $189.95 per class, and Raz-Kids is $99.95, but they are both worth it to me!