App review by Ericka D, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2020
Relay Reader
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Relay Reader

Read-aloud tool with limited library helps students develop oral fluency and comprehension skills

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Grades
2–6
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts

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Pros: Students practice assisted reading strategies by listening to themselves or the narrator.

Cons: There's little content, which makes it difficult to target specific ages and pique interest.

Bottom Line: It may be helpful as a reading fluency and comprehension builder in small doses.

Teachers, parents and interventionists can use Relay Reader with their students to practice increasing reading fluency and reading comprehension skills. Teachers could use this as part of a station rotation; students will benefit from hearing the recording of themselves reading the passage and then also see their progress as they increase their total reading time and questions answered correctly. Educators could also use this as a large-group read-aloud activity and read passages themselves or select volunteers who wish to read to the whole class. Students can also partner-read, share one device, and switch off narrating. 

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Relay Reader is a mobile and web app that supports students in increasing their reading fluency and comprehension skills. Start with an introductory tutorial, which tests your device's audio and microphone input, and also select the number of words (from 70 to 200) that the user and narrator will read. Listen to the narrator read from The Adventures of Pinocchio and follow along with the highlighted sections. Once it's time for student's to read, an icon appears next to their paragraph. After the user and narrator read several passages, a comprehension quiz pops up to check understanding. Check the progress tab to see the number of minutes read, questions answered correctly, and percent of the chapter and book completed. Students can also revisit passages and hear themselves read, which can help them identify errors and tricky words or passages.

Oral reading fluency and comprehension could be enhanced with Relay Reader, which allows for repeated reading and assisted reading strategies such as highlighted text and the ability to listen to personal recordings. It offers a lot of promise in terms of how it helps students increase their prosody and fluency, as well as comprehension skills. However, a few updates would make this app better. It would be nice if this app synced between the web app and iOS devices so that students could continue their progress between those platforms. Additionally, since at the time of review there's only one classic book available, the content is lacking and can't be differentiated effectively. Once the developers add more literary works, this app will have more appeal as a supplement reading activity in the classroom. 

Overall Rating

Engagement

The highlighted sections of oral narration in real time help students follow along, but the small library and inability to import texts will limit kids' interest.

Pedagogy

The lack of content makes it hard to select stories for appropriate reading levels, but the turn-taking between listening and reading and comprehension questions can build skills.

Support

The tutorial and customizable settings make using the interface intuitive. 


Common Sense reviewer
Ericka D Counselor, psychologist, or social worker

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