Early Reading Software: The Following Companies Offer Literacy Programs for the Pre-K-3 Set. (Managing Information)

Article excerpt

The programs featured here zero in on reading instruction specifically for the younger grades. There are many additional tools and applications on the market that address reading within the context of broader literacy skills or that focus strictly on special needs students, such as software from Kurzweil Educational Systems, Don Johnston, and others (for more on this topic, see "Reaching the Struggling Reader" at www.techlearning.com/db_area/archives/TL/200105/reaching.html). In addition, many textbook publishers--too many to mention here--have developed technology components to accompany their language arts dries. As for reading teachers looking to sharpen their skills, there are a raft of new Web-based professional development options to choose from (see page 28 for a list of online staff development providers). Stay tuned for a review of selected courses this fall.

Odyssey Reading is the literacy component of CompassLearning's new standards-based instructional management system, CompassLearning Odyssey. Included in the Odyssey Reading solution is PlayBox Theme Time, a set of 52 curriculum units that address early learning and reading skills, www.compasslearning.com

Crick Software's Clicker 4, appropriate for pre-K through middle school students, is designed to develop phonological awareness, word recognition, and writing skills. www.cricksoft.com

Educational Insight's GeoSafari Phonics Pad is an electronic learning toy that pre-K through second-grade students can use to play reading games. An accompanying Teacher's Guide includes reproducible assessments, word cards, and storybooks. www.educationalinsights.com

The Imagination Station from istation.com delivers interactive, standards-based reading instruction to pre-K through third-grade students. Designed to augment classroom instruction, the program continually assesses student performance, adapting the curriculum to individual learning needs, www.istation.com

Balanced Literacy from IntelliTools, designed to supplement the traditional reading curriculum for K-1 students and other beginning readers, features interactive lessons organized in a nine-month-long sequence. The program also accommodates students with special needs, www.intellitools.com

LeapFrog SchoolHouse's offerings include The Literacy Center, a supplemental early reading curriculum that incorporates the company's proprietary LeapPad technology, an electronic platform that lets kids practice fluency and phonemics. Grade-specific and publisher-specific editions are available, www.leapfrogschoolhouse.com

Lexia Learning's assessment and reading skills software work together to help teachers diagnose students' reading strengths and weaknesses, and then assign practice activities. Lexia Early Reading, for children ages 4 to 6, addresses rhyming, initial and final consonant sounds, word segmenting, and sound blending. www.lexialearning.com

Lightspan's Early Reading Program, created to meet the Reading First guidelines, provides interactive online literacy-building tools for K-3 students. It includes online support resources for teachers, as well as field-based reading consultants to help with assessments and on-site training, www.lightspan. …