Common Sense Review
Updated November 2013

Achieve3000: KidBidz3000

Boost access with variable text complexity; repetitive format may tire
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Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 5
  • Students' home page with the featured lesson on top and progress markers below.
  • An example lesson about the growing trend of eating locally farmed food; after reading, kids take a multiple-choice comprehension quiz.
  • Kids respond to a relevant thought question using evidence from the article.
  • On the dashboard teachers can generate various reports and view assessment information.
  • There are different versions of the Literacy Solutions program; each product targets a specific audience.
Pros
Text complexity is customized for every student according to reading level.
Cons
Though the learning modules are designed with good pedagogy in mind, more variety in the student experience could boost engagement.
Bottom Line
An individualized, if repetitive, way for kids to practice reading fluency, interpret texts, build vocabulary, and form arguments.
Mieke VanderBorght
Common Sense Reviewer
Researcher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

Kids are more likely to feel engaged when learning meets them at their level. High-interest articles are appealing and focus on real-world topics. However, every unit follows the exact same formula and could feel repetitive.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Variable text complexity tailored to individual reading levels will likely boost learning. The transition from comprehension into forming an argument makes good sense. More opportunities for student interaction could further benefit 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? 3

Teachers have access to detailed data and reports on student use and progress. Correct answers for reading comprehension questions can be hard to locate. User and general information guides could use improvement.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

KidBidz3000 can be adapted to many classroom setups, whether a 1-to-1 device program or a shared setup where groups might rotate through stations. Most, though not all, of the "five steps" in each reading assignment could be completed individually or as a class, with or without computers. Many assignments could be used as homework or as launching pads for discussion or exploration.

One engaging feature allows teachers to publish opinion polls before and after reading. Questions about the results might include "Why did kids vote the way they did?" and "How many changed their minds after reading the article, and why?" Based on the writing portion of the five-step process, teachers could consider extending aspects of the curriculum into full-blown, formal essay assignments.

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What's It Like?

Achieve3000: KidBidz3000 is focused on helping second- through fifth-graders develop reading comprehension, vocabulary, and writing skills. Assignments follow a five-step literacy routine: Introduce a topic; read an article; complete a multiple-choice comprehension quiz; respond to a thought question with a written and/or oral argument; and take an opinion poll and provide support for responses. KidBidz3000 is only one part of a group of literacy programs from Achieve3000; all use the same format but target slightly different audiences, from middle and high school students to ELL, special education, and advanced learners.

All students begin by taking a Lexile placement test (an independent measure of reading level). Using the results, teachers can assign one article for the whole class to read, but the text complexity will be automatically individualized for each student. This means that everyone in the class can access the same content with an individualized level of reading difficulty. Teachers and administrators can view progress reports and other usage data. Detailed progress reports allow teachers to track both whole-class and individual students' progress.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Achieve3000: KidBiz3000 excels in using a set formula to guide kids through reading, understanding, and analyzing a text, as well as forming text-supported arguments. However, the curriculum is somewhat formulaic, as students repeat the same five-step instructional process repeatedly throughout the program, which could cause some students' interest to wane. That said, most of the included articles are about high-interest, real-world issues that will easily capture kids' attention. And for those looking to bolster kids' cross-curricular literacy, many of the readings easily tie into other subjects such as science or history. Teachers will appreciate the Lexile assessment system in classes that require more differentiated instruction. The tool allows teachers to challenge each kid at just the right level, while still allowing the whole class to explore a unified topic.

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See how teachers are using Achieve3000: KidBidz3000