Once inside Raz-Kids, teachers create class rosters. From the roster view, teachers can assign reading -- this can be specific books, a level of books, or the whole Raz-Kids library. The Running Records feature is a helpful tool for pre-assessments as well as ongoing and benchmark assessments; they comprise shorter-length recorded readings and brief quizzes.
Depending on the skills teachers want to reinforce, they may assign differently. Students can have books read to them, they can read by themselves, or both. The recorded readings are a great tool, especially for those looking for an organized way to track students' reading fluency. While the Raz Rocket reading room rewards are nice, it would probably be best for teachers to help students recognize some of the more intrinsic rewards of reading, too.Continue reading Show less
Raz-Kids is a website (also accessible through Kids A-Z apps on Chrome, iOS, Android, and Kindle) that gives students access to a virtual bookroom of more than 400 ebooks from just about any internet-enabled device. 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 quizzes for each of the texts, which help parents and teachers monitor student progress. Along the way, students earn stars for practice and achievement, and they can use their stars to personalize their progress-tracking Raz Rocket or build their own robot with the Robot Builder.
Raz-Kids does have some optimal technology requirements and system recommendations. Teachers should look into them to make sure their classroom or computer lab is suitable.
Especially in the earlier grades, these texts provide great practice in both fiction and nonfiction reading. Students can choose to listen to a book before reading it independently. With this support, students should be able to work through lots of books -- even those that might be a stretch for their current reading level. Although the Raz-Kids bookroom reaches fifth grade, the fourth- and fifth-grade books fall a bit short in reading level, and the quiz questions don't seem sophisticated enough. Because of this, Raz-Kids is probably best for K-3 students and may not provide the same benefits for fourth- and fifth-graders.
Once teachers familiarize themselves with the program, they'll be able to individualize students' reading practice by using the Running Records feature for benchmark assessment and by monitoring progress on readings and quizzes through the teacher dashboard. Teachers can assign specific books or allow students to browse and read according to interest and preference. The Raz Rocket and Robot Builder features reward students for their efforts, allowing them to spend their earned stars on all kinds of digital trinkets. This might work for younger readers, but older students might find this a little childish. In the end, the genuine feeling of accomplishment after having completed so many texts should be an intrinsic -- and more powerful -- motivation. Think about Raz-Kids as a way to track your students' reading progress, but keep in mind that it's most likely to succeed when teachers set context for developing foundational independent reading habits.
Key Standards Supported
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.
Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
With prompting and support, read prose and poetry of appropriate complexity for grade 1.
Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories and poetry, in the grades 2–3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 2–3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.