KidBiz 3000 / TeenBiz 3000
[Achieve3000 (800) 323-9084, Grades 2-5 / 6-12]

     ComputED's reviewers have followed the evolvement of the
KidBiz 3000 and TeenBiz 3000 websites via submissions into our annual awards. The products have become quite streamlined, both in design and content; and now that e-mail pervades our culture, it becomes a natural tool for delivering assignments to students.

KidBiz 3000 and TeenBiz 3000 use similar conventions to improve reading comprehension, vocabulary and writing proficiency, with the distinction being the grade levels addressed. Five steps are recommended for getting students started: (1) Teachers create logins for students and configure classes (2) Students receive instruction about a five-step literacy routine (3) A LevelSet Pre-test is administered (4) Students begin the five-step literacy routine (5) Students' Lexile and activity performance are monitored.

     The LevelSet Pre-test is available when students first log in. Results provide a scientific means of matching each student to informational texts, and placing them appropriately on the program. Links to non-fiction articles are e-mailed to students, and, after reading articles, learning is reinforced through participation in an
Activity, a Thought Question, a Poll, and a Math problem. (One comment is that, upon completion of the Activity, there should be a link back to the main article to complete the other lessons.)

     Achieve3000's programs require a subscription, and are based on
differentiated instruction. Teachers and administrators will find numerous resources for administering the programs, including lesson plans and standards alignment; and special needs, gifted, and Spanish students will find materials suited to their needs.

My Reading Coach - Platinum Professional Edition
[MindPlay (410) 975-9638, Multi-Level]

     MindPlay's My Reading Coach is, hands-down, the very best reading/literacy, cross-age program we've seen yet.  Easy to install and use, full-featured, with everything from assessment and placement testing, phonics and grammar lessons, with bilingual (Spanish/English) and IEP (Special Education/Needs) features, this program will ensure success in struggling readers of all ages.

     While designed for a classroom setting, we'd like to see
My Reading Coach in every remedial language arts classroom, as well as every adult education and community-based literacy program.  It's simply that good - an easy BESSIES Multi-Level Reading/Literacy winner. (Available in Windows or Macintosh formats.) 

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