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Pros: Focused design. Great skills coverage. Offers student-driven, adaptive learning with at-a-glance data.
Cons: Activities could use better modeling. Limited feedback when students answer incorrectly.
Bottom Line: An easy-to-recommend tool thanks to its broad coverage of key skills and nice balance of student-driven and teacher-differentiated learning.
Lalilo will complement any literacy program, since it focuses on essential literacy skills like sight words, word families, and letter-sound recognition. The software is web-based and easy to set up, and can be accessed through most devices both at school and at home. It's a good option for either reading centers or whole-class lessons. It's versatile, so teachers can assign specific lessons or let students follow the built-in progression. Either way, teachers will want to monitor students' growth and progress and intervene or supplement play as necessary. Teachers might also model some of the initial activities for students, to help them understand the basic interactions. Thankfully, once students get going, Lalilo offers consistent feedback and reinforcement to help them work away at their own pace.
Teachers can use the dashboard to view how students are doing on individual skills and literacy components, and then use that data to group students for additional instruction and lesson planning. Teachers can also share a code for additional at-home practice and/or share printable reports to keep parents in the loop. Note that the dashboard is much more robust with the paid version.
Lalilo is a web-based literacy app for K–2 teachers. It aims to provide comprehensive coverage of early literacy skills and personalized and differentiated instruction. Students start with a placement test to find their unique starting place. Once in the program, they click through adaptive lessons while teachers use a dashboard to monitor whole-class and individual student progress on a range of literacy skills. Teachers can also override the automatic progression by assigning particular lessons to individual students, small groups, or the whole class. The program has a clean, focused visual style that feels more contemporary than some other competitors -- although it's also not quite as playful and game-based as others. Students journey through different worlds and meet cartoon characters. Along the way, they complete activities, read books, and progress on a well-structured learning path. Reading activities utilize a variety of techniques beyond the typical multiple-choice letter and word recognition, such as listening to match sounds and using the microphone to practice reading out loud. As students progress, Lalilo leans on artificial intelligence to offer students targeted exercises and repeat things as necessary. At various intervals, students also answer questions about how hard the questions they've been working on are, and if they'd like to be more challenged, less challenged, or if it's just right. All content is mapped to national and state learning standards.
The free version includes all exercises, but limited reporting. The paid version expands the dashboard and lets teachers assign specific lessons.
Lalilo does an excellent job of data reporting (with the paid version), making it easy to track and record progress as well as sort and group students. Printable reports are elegant and easy to understand, with a nice section on areas for improvement. One core strength of Lalilo is its comprehensiveness. The scope and sequence is thorough and benefits from focusing intently on K-2. There's extensive coverage of every letter sound and word family, and students also get practice reading stories. This makes it an easy fit for classrooms in this range because teachers can trust that it's covering what needs covering. The flexible personalization -- assigning specific lessons or letting students work through the built-in learning progression -- is also an easy sell to teachers.
There's clearly an effort in the activities themselves to make them visually appealing but not distracting. This is an advantage Lalilo has over competitors who focus more on creating the appearance of fun than on providing actual learning engagement. Still, there are some minor issues with the activities. Most notably, the interactivity is pretty basic, and the program as a whole could use some more inventive activities -- or even just creative breaks. The stories offer variety, but they're written by Lalilo, so don't expect recognizable characters or authors.
Ultimately, though, Lalilo's success hinges on its adaptive exercises and how well it adjusts to students' strengths and weaknesses. This is tough to evaluate in the course of a review, and will require some testing on the part of teachers to see if it's truly effective. It's likely teachers will need to monitor student progress closely and intervene as necessary to make sure students are getting just-right content. The repetition within exercises is effective, however.