Review by Joe Dillon, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2016


Solid choice for leveled readings and progress-tracking

Subjects & skills
  • English Language Arts
  • English-Language Learning

Grades 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.
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (40 Reviews)
Privacy rating (How we rate)
Not yet rated

Take a look inside

6 images

Pros: In addition to the huge library of leveled texts, teachers get a detailed view of students' progress, even as they read independently.

Cons: You won't find great literature in the program's libraries, and students may be enticed to speed through books just to earn points.

Bottom Line: Trusty -- if a tad dated -- tool for helping younger students become proficient in many aspects of reading.

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.

Overall Rating

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

A bit dated, but the engaging stories and high-interest nonfiction texts keep students turning pages. The record and playback features will help reluctant readers. Students can earn and spend points decorating their digital rockets.

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

Teachers can place the focus on reading for fluency, comprehension, even pleasure. Students have access to a decent set of texts. There's a lot of material for students to engage with independently.

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

It's intuitive and user-friendly, so teachers may not need any support to set up classes. Teachers or an entire school staff can watch both live and recorded video trainings to thoroughly learn the ins and outs of the software.

Common Sense Reviewer
Joe Dillon Technology coordinator

Teacher Reviews

(See all 40 reviews) (40 reviews) Write a review
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.
Read full review

Privacy Rating

This tool has not yet been rated by our privacy team. Learn more about how we rate