With a vast number of new software and Web-based reading programs on the market, students of all ages and abilities can target specific reading skills, such as comprehension, fluency, phonemic awareness and vocabulary. In addition, access has changed greatly over the last couple of years. Students no longer need to be in a computer lab to use Web-based programs; they can use laptops or tablets as part of a one-to-one computing program or their own devices if their school has a bring-your-own-device policy. Most new Web-based programs can be accessed from any device and are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). As these standards become more widely followed, educators need to find ways to interest students in nonfiction books, as that is a major component of the CCSS. Capstone Digital’s myON Reader, a Web-based reading program, provides access to more than 2,500 books, customized to each student’s interests and reading ability.
Other reading programs offer resources specifically for English language learners. One example is MindPlay Virtual Reading Coach, which scaffolds learning for ELLs by allowing them to hear a virtual speech pathologist give direct instruction in English and activity directions in Spanish. The reading programs featured can be used for intervention programs, as supplements for after-school tutoring or as part of classroom instruction.
Virtual Reading Coach, contact MindPlay for pricing
Using strategies of reading teachers and speech pathologists, MindPlay Virtual Reading Coach provides differentiated instruction based on a student’s initial diagnostic testing. Multiple tiers allow educators to use this program as a core reading program or for intervention. To support ELLs, a virtual speech pathologist can give direct instruction in English and activity directions in Spanish.
Read 180, contact Scholastic for pricing
This reading program is for students in grades 3 through 12, as well as special education and ELL students. It enables differentiated instruction through adaptive and instructional software technology; printed literature; direct instruction in reading, writing and vocabulary skills; and professional development. Read 180 also provides tools for administrators by collecting and organizing districtwide student performance data through the Scholastic Achievement Manager application.
myON Reader, contact Capstone Digital for pricing
Capstone Digital’s myON Reader provides students with computer-based reading opportunities tailored to their interests and gives administrators tools to track, monitor and report on student growth in reading ability. Students choose from hundreds of digital books—which they can access at school, from home or at the library—and myOn Reader provides assistance such as read-aloud support and word highlighting. MyON Reader can be accessed from mobile devices.
Lexia Reading, contact Lexia for pricing
Lexia Reading helps educators identify students of greatest need, predicts whether students will finish the year on grade level, and offers recommendations to improve student performance. It features seven new lessons that can be used on an interactive whiteboard with the entire class or with targeted small groups. A mobile application is available for the Apple iPhone.
Reading Assistant, $40 per student or $3,000 per site
By combining advanced speech recognition technology and research-based reading instruction, Reading Assistant helps students increase reading fluency, build vocabulary and improve comprehension. The program provides feedback and guidance as students read aloud. Students take a quiz at the end of each reading passage, and a glossary of definitions is available in English and Spanish.
Fluency Tutor, $14 per student; site licensing also available
Texthelp Systems’ Fluency Tutor is a Web-based program that focuses on oral reading development and assessment. It tracks students’ reading progress through recorded audio history, automatically records time, and includes easy-to-use tools. Fluency Tutor is ideal for beginning or struggling readers, ELLs, or students in after-school programs
i-Ready Diagnostic & Instruction, $27 per student annually
This new cloud-based program uses data-driven instruction and adaptive assessment to place students in the appropriate Response-to-Intervention tier. It allows teachers to access easy-to-use reports to find out the cause of each student’s challenges. This program was built for CCSS.
Accelerated Reader, contact Renaissance Learning for pricing
This reading improvement program allows students to read books at their own pace and then test comprehension with a series of assessments, including reading practice, vocabulary practice, literary skills and textbook quizzes. A mobile app is available for the Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.
Literary Companion, $10 per student annually
Academic Merit has focused its efforts on the Common Core’s College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards in reading, writing and language for secondary education. Literary Companion is a text-dependent, online, close-reading tool that is part of Academic Merit’s suite of tools. This suite provides professional development for educators and assesses students often to help teachers target direct instruction.
Reading A-Z, starting at $64.95 per classroom
Reading A-Z allows educators to access, download or print books as well as fluency passages for timed reading, customizable worksheets, poetry and Spanish resources. It includes all tools necessary for reading instruction, including assessment tools to establish benchmarks and track individual student progress. Other teacher resources included are systematic phonics, alphabet books and vocabulary resources.
Other reading software is available from Flocabulary, School Specialty and Super Duper Publications.