Last week I purchased a classroom license to Raz-Kids.com. Have you heard of this before? You probably have. It is popular and an extension of the website, A-Z Reading.
I’ve used this program successfully with my first graders during my first two years of teaching. Since then, they have greatly improved the site and it has loads of new features. A classroom license runs approximately $85 for the year. If you catch them at special times, you can sometimes get a discount. I think I snagged mine for $74.95 last month. It allows 36 students to be on your roster.
On Monday, I introduced the program to my firsties in the computer lab. They. Love. It.
I love it, too. Why? Because they each have access to their own personal “library” of books that are on their independent reading level. And, because I can set the library to a level (or levels) I want each individual child on. Or, I can “assign” particular books for them to read and take tests on.
My students use this program during Daily 5 and as a whole class on Mondays. Each student logs into their own personal library that is set at their independent guided reading/DRA level. On the last Monday of each month, I will also “assign” the same book to every child that is on a level I expect an average first grader to be reading at. (Example: I would want first graders to be at least at a level C by the end of September.) Their score and results will allow me to use show parents if their child is falling below, at, or above what a typical first grade reader would look like at each point in the school year.
I can also take running records right on the computer! Students first listen to the story and then read it on their own into a microphone. After school, I can listen to the recording and mark the running record right onto the computer. I can print it out and get a full running record report to take into data meetings. I can also print out reports for reading rates.
Getting excited?! But wait! There’s more!
Every time the child takes a “quiz” on the story they read, it provides me the results and report. It doesn’t just give me a score, it tells me which reading skill the child is missing. For example, I received a notice today that one of my students has missed the past 5 questions on recalling over the past 3 days. Ah-ha…can we say “using data to drive our instruction?” I will be working with this student on recalling information right in the text next week in guided reading.
I can also check on the status of each child’s library. For example, you can see that this little girl still has about 34 books/quizzes left in her library on a level C. She is slowly working her way up to level D books. If she fails to comprehend, I can keep her at a C. If she is ready, I can move her on.
What’s in it for the kids?
STARS! Every time students complete a “task” they earn stars. They can save these stars or spend them in the Rocket store. This is basically a virtual space rocket that they can decorate, add aliens and rockets to, buy equipment for, etc. The more stars they earn, the higher they rank and more (and much cooler) objects to buy are unlocked.
Other great features are that the teacher can leave messages for the students. For example, I noticed tonight that one of my students really did poorly on her last two quizzes. I sent a message to her that she will receive when she logs in again that tells her to read and take those quizzes again. I also had a student who started to improve in her quizzes. I can send her “bonus” stars with my “good job” message when she logs in next time. 🙂
Parents can also log in and see their child’s progress. Students can log in from a home computer and read books at home! AND, since I purchase my license in September and it is good for one year, my students will be able to log in all summer long and use this as a summer reading program.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, go to www.raz-kids.com to see what you’re missing! I know it sounds like a steep price, but if you can manage it, I really believe it’s worth it. 🙂
Thanks for letting me share this great reading resource with you! I’d love to hear what your thoughts are if you currently use it or decide to try it with your students.