Website review by Sandy Wisneski, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2020

Raz-Kids

Leveled readings with progress-tracking enhances differentiated reading program

Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 42 reviews
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Not yet rated Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
Pre-K–5 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, English-Language Learning, Critical Thinking

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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 good variety of leveled books, easy assigning and assessing, and detailed 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. 

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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. 

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 read or listen to a decent library of leveled ebooks.  Students earn stars and badges for their work, and create a Raz Rocket. The design isn't as modern as some competitors'.

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?

Teachers can build students' reading fluency and comprehension, and differentiate by reading level. The program offers fiction and nonfiction books with comprehension quizzes.  

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 intuitive and user-friendly, so teachers may not need any support to set up classes. Training and resources offer a complete package, assisting teachers with the setup and placement of students.


Common Sense reviewer
Sandy Wisneski Classroom teacher

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Featured review by
Jennifer A. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Montclaire Elementary School
Los Altos, United States
Plenty of Leveled Books to Practice Reading Comprehension
Raz Kids is an excellent tool for independent practice of reading comprehension skills, such as vocabulary and inference. I like the mix of fiction and non-fiction. I wish there were short answer/single word questions rather than all multiple choice, however, I like that the responses were graded for me and feedback was given to the students instantly.
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