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Pros: It's easy to differentiate, and students can listen to and read texts.
Cons: There's a lack of high-interest literature in the libraries, and the design is aging.
Bottom Line: It's worth considering as a supplement to your reading program thanks to the book variety, assigning and assessing, and progress reports.
If teachers already have an idea of students' abilities, they can assign a self-paced book or create a custom assignment -- whether for individuals or groups. Assignments can also be a collection of books vs. a single book. It might be useful to have younger kids work through a book in small groups while teachers roam around and offer support. If students need to be assessed first, there are both printable and digital "Benchmark Passages" and "Benchmark Books" that can be used to observing and assess reading behavior. Teachers can determine individual reading levels using these passages. They can also employ the tool's running records and/or consult skill reports to further drive instruction.
Students can have books read to them, can read by themselves, or both. Raz-Kids records students' read-alouds for teachers to consult and use as a tool for tracking fluency. Teachers can use this data and more to group students based on skills and levels for easier assigning of work.
Raz-Kids is a website (also available through Kids A-Z apps on Google, Apple, and Amazon devices) that gives students access to a virtual bookroom of more than 400+ ebooks. Students can choose between listening to their books, reading them aloud (and recording their reading), or simply reading silently. Teachers and parents can access a simple dashboard to see and even hear all of the work students are doing. There are also comprehension quizzes for each of the texts that include a set of multiple-choice questions, as well as a constructed response question focused on the main theme or idea in the book, allowing parents and teachers to monitor student progress. Students earn stars for practice and achievement that can be redeemed to customize their own Raz Rocket or to create a personal robot avatar.
Students have access to Raz-Kids 24/7, so parents can feel connected and involved in their students' reading at home. Spanish ebook and equiz translations also work well for ELL and bilingual programs.
Raz-Kids is a good tool for tracking students' reading progress, but it's only one piece in a comprehensive reading program. It'll be a great support for the earlier grades, where the texts can provide great practice in both fiction and nonfiction reading. The book selection is pretty good, and new books continue to be added. The design, however, is fairly middling, and isn't quite up to par with some slicker competitors. In terms of the learning activities, there are some nice touches. Students can choose to listen to a book before reading it. This helps students work through a variety of books and quizzes, and, as they progress, students get challenged with new texts that grow their abilities, and improve their attitudes toward reading.
The program also helps teachers individualize students' reading activities, first by using benchmark assessments and then by checking a dashboard that tracks progress on readings and quizzes. Teachers can choose to guide students' learning paths through assignments, and/or allow students to browse and read according to interest and level. It's also super handy that teachers can download and print all the stories and resources for guided reading lessons or modeled reading strategies.