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Review by Jason Shiroff, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2014

Qlovi

Virtual library, lesson platform could be more reader friendly

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • English Language Arts
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
4-8
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (4 Reviews)

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Pros: With customizable lesson plans and a virtual library, the site can give important feedback to teachers while engaging young readers.

Cons: The library is limited in scope and searchability; the online reading experience could be more kid friendly, with better options to help differentiate learning.

Bottom Line: While a better selection of texts and an improved digital reader would be a start, the site might really shine with a more interactive and adaptive learning experience for students.

Qlovi's learning management system is robust and allows for customization -- if using Qlovi, it's best to capitalize on this feature. If possible, see if you can retrofit/incorporate your own top-notch reading lessons into the texts available here. With some planning time and patience, embedding your existing study questions into the text should be a seamless process. Needless to say, if you've already got access to your own comprehensive LMS, it might be more efficient to do this work there.

Because Qlovi doesn't explicitly measure reading skills like fluency or comprehension on its own, make sure to build in some assessments for these. Student writing can be assessed using a Six Traits rubric.  If time allows, use selections from texts that students choose and set up your own reading fluency assessments -- in meeting with students one-on-one, you'll also get a fair sense of how well they're comprehending what they've read.

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Qlovi includes two major components: an online library, and a platform for serving up reading lessons. The library has over 1,000 fiction and non-fiction titles from various publishers. It includes passages and questions from readworks.org as well. The bookstore is searchable by keyword and reading level, including Lexile scores. Students borrow books which are then placed in a virtual backpack -- it's important to note that borrowing books requires a payment through a system of purchased tokens. Most likely distributed by a teacher, every student will need to use the tokens to borrow their own books.

Once inside Qlovi's book viewer, students can read and annotate. Outside of the student experience, Qlovi gives teachers a platform for creating, scheduling, and grading lessons and assessments based on the books in the library. Similar to some learning management systems, lessons can include warm ups, embedded reading questions, quizzes, essays, and exit tickets. There are some sample lessons to help teachers get started, and assignments can be aligned to the Common Core standards. A dashboard gives teachers and students a view of their reading progress and assigned lessons. Teachers grade student work directly on the Qlovi learning platform and this data is available on the dashboard.

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Overall, Qlovi feels like a work in progress -- the learning potential is there, but some important details need improving before most teachers and students are likely to find it useful. The site simply offers teachers a library of reading materials and a platform for delivering lessons -- there aren't any features that offer students digitally responsive, collaborative, or adaptive learning. While it's empowering to give students choice in what they read, the bookstore's selections here are limited -- many seem like they're from second-tier publishers. While selections are intended to be high interest, kids won't find the popular titles they're used to seeing elsewhere. Not all of the books are leveled in Qlovi's system, and the keyword search includes a limited number of categories or tags. On top of this, a full class set of books can be rather expensive in Qlovi. Of course, there's a value to variety, and in the short term, Qlovi's pricing might be better than paperback; however, over just a few school years, buying physical books might not be as expensive.

A more functional digital reader would certainly also add to Qlovi's value. It's quite limited when compared to other popular e-readers, like Kindle's or Adobe Digital Editions. Here, students aren't able to search through the books or add bookmarks. Also, they'll need to start from the beginning every time they revisit a text. Only two font sizes are available; both rather small. Overall, the student interface is confusing, with some features -- like the graphic organizers -- that aren't as intuitive as they could be. Additional limits include a lack of support documentation and navigation help.

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Overall Rating

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

Texts are intended to be high interest, but the titles aren't necessarily popular. The site is inviting and easy to navigate, but in-reader navigation isn't intuitive and can even distract.

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

It's great for kids to choose what they read, but the token system and title selection could restrict. Instruction and feedback are largely up to teachers. In-reader features like bookmarking, search, and customization would be nice.

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

Many books are available in both English and Spanish, but the site itself is English only. Audio support isn't offered, and nearly all data is teacher derived. The help pages could use more scope and depth.


Common Sense Reviewer
Jason Shiroff Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 4 reviews) (4 reviews)
Featured review by
Eric W. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
West Ottawa High School Campus
Holland, MI
Qlovi offers a lesson plan template and collates trackable mastery data for online content.

I like the structure provided by the Qlovi lesson plan template -- it even allows teachers to put an idea of the lesson's pacing into the plan.

I like how the lesson can be (easily) linked to Common Core State Standards. Each stage in the lesson can also be connected to a standard. It's really easy to add the standards to the lesson, too.

I really like the way the students' mastery can be tracked and used to provide more feedback to the students and to help the teacher identify students who need more attention and where that attention should be directed.

I would like to see more variety in the readings available on the site. I'd also like to see a bit more on the upper end of the spectrum, but I'm a high school teacher and the site is more directed toward the middle grades.

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