Website review by Sandy Wisneski, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2019


K-2 literacy program offers comprehensive, adaptive activities

Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 128 reviews
Privacy rating
66%| Warning Expert evaluation by Common Sense
K–3 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts

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Pros: Focused design. Great skills coverage. Offers student-driven, adaptive learning with at-a-glance data.

Cons: Activities could use text instructions and better modeling. More support videos would help. No placement test (yet).

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. 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.

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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 click through adaptive lessons while teachers use a dashboard to monitor whole-class and individual student progress on a range of literacy skills. 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. As students progress, Lalilo leans on artificial intelligence to offer students the targeted exercises and repeat things as necessary. 

Lalilo does an excellent job of data reporting, making it easy to track and record progress as well as sort and group students. There are even printable reports that are elegant and easy to understand, with a nice section on areas for improvement. Another 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. 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.

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 issues with the activities. They lean heavily on audio-based instruction and could benefit from textual reinforcement and more pre-modeling of the activities. The interactivity is also 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. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Students travel through different worlds, playing games, collecting stars, and unlocking stories.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Students work through self-paced, adaptive exercises in phonics, word recognition, and comprehension. Lessons dig deep on K-2 skills and follow up with reading activities.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

It's easy to set up, and students should find it easy to navigate and use. There's plenty of data for monitoring student growth and progress and adjusting as needed. Activities could use better scaffolding and textual support.

Common Sense reviewer
Sandy Wisneski Classroom teacher

Community Rating

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Featured review by
Mary Lou B. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Magna Vista High School
Ridgeway, United States
Great Student engagement
Lalilo offered a clearcut path to progress for my students. I like how it assesses the students and offers a starting point. I have several different reading/writing levels in my class, and lalilo helped me be able to present different levels with ease. If you get a chance this is a great addition to any classroom.
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Unclear whether this product supports interactions between trusted users and/or students.
Unclear whether this product displays personal information publicly.
Unclear whether user-created content is filtered for personal information before being made publicly visible.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Users can create or upload content.
Processes to access and review user data are available.
Processes to modify inaccurate data are available.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Unclear whether this product displays traditional or contextual advertisements.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is not displayed.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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