Magazine article Technology & Learning

Riverdeep Destination Reading Course III: Tweens Will Love This Engaging, Content-Rich Offering

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Riverdeep Destination Reading Course III: Tweens Will Love This Engaging, Content-Rich Offering

Article excerpt

Company: Riverdeep; www.riverdeep.net

System Requirements: Mac: OS 8.6, G3, 64 MB RAM; PC: Windows 98, Pentium II, 200 MHz processor, 64 MB RAM. Also available for servers and as a portal

Price/Grade: $499; pricing for site licenses available/4-6

Pros: Closely aligned with state and national curriculum standards; can be used as main reading program or supplement; suitable for individual or group use; includes diagnostic tests; features real-time, comprehensive progress reports

Cons: Struggling readers may have to pay close attention to the initial concept explanations or have them repeated

Destination Reading Course III is proof that we have come a long way from the humdrum of electronic drill and practice routines. This skillfully designed instructional reading program for struggling or grade-level 4th through 6th graders focuses on comprehension and content-area vocabulary skills in a boredom-defying montage of images, video clips, music, and sound bytes.

Introduced within the framework of more than 25 fiction and nonfiction genres (poetry, myth, mystery, journal entries, and persuasive text, to name a few), Destination Reading targets comprehension skills like paraphrasing, inferences, note taking, personification, summarizing, and distinguishing realism from fantasy.

Like its Course I and II predecessors, Course III comprises 30 units, each with four interactive lessons and sublessons. The energetic environment has the graphics, movement, and feel of a hip, tween-inspired television program (think Disney's Kim Possible meets PBS's Zoom) and is sure to engross students. The high-tech mock computer interface is complete with navigation buttons, volume control, a clock to record lesson log-on time, and links to an electronic book, glossary, and print options. A pull-down menu offers Download, Connect/ Disconnect, and Launch information portals.

Downloading options deftly lead to video, music, sound, and images while Connect seamlessly flows to e-mail, IM, text, and blog options. Launch ushers users to a (fictional) Web site, Game, Expert, or Buddy Chat, and Whodidit.info links to additional information on the topic at hand. Oftentimes, the information is delivered via pseudo-animated characters who place potentially complicated concepts in easy-to-understand terms. Dr. Tective, for example, explains how context clues provide insight into unfamiliar words. …

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