How I Use It
I am the Teacher-Librarian and technology teacher at my school, so I am writing from the perspective of someone who has been involved in the setup and support of Raz-Kids. We had Raz-Kids at our school for about 6 years. Teachers used it mostly as either a read-to-self activity or as an "early bird" activity if students finished their work. What many of our teachers liked about it was: 1) students have the ability to hear each book read aloud before they read it independently; 2) each book has a comprehension quiz to check for understanding; 3) teachers are able to assign each student a reading level with matching books and are able to easily monitor their progress; 4) there is a variety of reports that can be run, including a summary of student comprehension skills progress; and 5) it can be used at school or home. From a support perspective, I can speak highly of the very helpful video tutorials provided for teachers as well as their equally helpful and nice customer support. In addition, Raz-Kids is a product that is continually evolving and bettering its already amazing self. A criticism of Raz-Kids is that some savvy kids discovered that you can easily trick the comprehension quiz. Obviously this means that data from the comprehension skills report won't be accurate. Another criticism of RK is that the books provided don't feel and read like "real" books, perhaps lacking some voice.
Overall Raz-Kids is an amazing product. ALL students are able to have just right books with lots of scaffolded support. Parents liked knowing that there was a place their children could go online and not only improve their reading and learn but also be safe. But at our school, since we have used RK for some many years, we were finding that many of the kids, particularly in grades 3-5, were not as engaged in it anymore. As a result we made a decision this year to not renew RK and to try a different product. Despite this, Raz-Kids is truly great product and I would strongly recommend it.