Review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2015
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TopIQ Math, Reading & Writing Learning Program for Kids in Preschool, Kindergarten & 1st Grade

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Skills-based games teach effectively and grow with kids

Subjects & skills
Skills
N/A

Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Math
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Pre-K-1
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

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Pros: Tons of solid, age-appropriate learning content, and the challenge level grows with each kid's progress.

Cons: Subscription plans carry a hefty price tag; some games' learning approach is confusing.

Bottom Line: The learning content and personalized leveling system could make it worth a try.

TopIQ is best suited for individual play. Teachers can set up accounts for every student and then send them off to play games and practice skills. As new games unlock, kids will need access to an Internet connection to download them, or teachers can download all the games ahead of time. Be aware, though: With so much content, it's easy for kids to get caught up in wanting to keep playing. Set clear time limits. Teachers get detailed progress reports, which can help point their classroom instruction in the right direction. They can also pick and choose which topics will show up for kids. Turn off the ones that are not relevant for each student. While not ideally suited to the task, TopIQ could be used as an assessment tool or comprehension check. 

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TopIQ used to be Agnitus Personal Learning Program but got a new name and a bit of a makeover. In the new version, kids forge a personalized path through a collection of games, videos, books, and songs. Topics focus mostly on early math and literacy (topics include counting, tracing letters, patterns, and letter recognition) but also touch on a few general themes like personal hygiene and career options. Activities need to be downloaded, and then they are grayed out until kids earn enough stars to unlock them. As kids progress, the material also gets more challenging to meet kids at just the right level. In addition to unlocking new games, kids also earn awards for completing games and mastering content. Grown-ups can see very detailed progress reports, which describe what kids are playing, point out strengths and weaknesses, and provide general information about the curriculum and individual games. 

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With lots of well-designed games, kids get great practice and opportunites for skill building. It's nice that kids start out with some basic games before they can move on to more challenging material, but the path feels a bit overly restrictive. Quick learners are forced to slog through really basic content before they're allowed access to other games. It would also be nice to have more control over the path kids take through the content. There's nice in-game support for kids who are having trouble choosing the right answer, thought there are a few games that either are poorly explained or present information without enough context; for example, the purpose of a counting game with different types of food might be confusing to some kids. Detailed progress reports provide teachers and parents with valuable information about how and what kids are learning.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The games are fun, and the overall design is very kid-friendly. With so many games and constantly advancing levels, kids are likely to stay interested.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

There's solid learning content within most games. Learning happens mostly through trial and error. Kids follow a personalized learning path, and difficulty grows to target learning. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

There's some in-activity support for kids looking for the right answer. Kids track their progress with a growing number of stars, and grown-ups can see very detailed progress reports.


Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Tracey W. , Media specialist/librarian
Media specialist/librarian
P.S. Is 54
Bronx, NY
Fostering Early Literacy

This product is a great way to promote early literacy skills as the teacher leads guided reading groups. TopIQ has two different levels for students. Children have the choice of working at the pre-K or kindergarten level. The math programs have balance, symmetry, numbers, counting, object based division, tracing number, recognizing quantity and much more. The literacy sections have writing, reading, games, songs, poems and fun activities to entice early readers into learning letters, words and directionality. Children unwittingly begin to discover initial sounds as they are exposed to academic language and as they inadvertently learn reading strategies. The only drawback with this product is in order to obtain full features, an educator must subscribe to either a fixed or lifetime access plan. The free version has limited capability. This product is a great find for early education.

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