Product Index
Curriculum Products
Categories: Language Arts and Reading
In Summit Reflections, educators review tools that they have seen at an EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit. Summit Reflections can only be completed onsite at the event; reviewers are incentivized to leave reviews.
Sheraie, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School
Feb 22, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product during student workstation time, for my English as a Second Language Learners (ESOL), and for my struggling readers. During the workstation time the students my use this to read books they have an interest in while a provide a book report or independent activity for them to complete with the selected story. This will help my ESOL students become more familiar the language. The struggling students will be able to read and hear fluent reading. Again, these students can choose a selection they want to read to help make reading more enjoyable than the assigned class reading where they may struggle.

Strengths: Students are able to choose what they want to read. This product keeps the children interested in the task at hand so they do not become bored or lose interest in what they are reading.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would like to questions at the end of the story that are aligned to the Common Core standards. This will help to see how well the student understood what they are reading.

Have the skills attached to the stories. This way the teacher could give the students a choice of books to read that may work on skills the student need to master.

Have suggestions to help the parents help their child select books when they are reading at home. Many times children will select books that are above or below their reading level. If the parent is aware of the students really level and better to select or encourage books at home.

Verdict: I would recommend this because it can be used with students of all reading levels. Students are able to select books that is of interest to the students and they can also find other books/stories they are interested in they are unaware of. All students can benefit.

Music Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, 1:1 Devices, Blended Learning
Feb 22, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: The product is called Tales2Go.

As a parent, I feel like this would be an excellent tool for my child, and would nicely replace tv and video games as a source of entertainment for my five year-old.

As a music teacher, I could use it as part of sub plans or for emergency enrichment needs.

They call themselves the netflix for kids audio books.

Strengths: Students have the ability to bookmark their learning and return to their spot in the listening from any device they are using to access.

Teachers can assign listening to students and then engage in other teaching activities such as small group enrichment and retracting while the remainder of the students are engaged in meaningful listening.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would like to see this resource include music standards such as the major composers and important contributors to the evolution of pop music, so that music teachers can assign listening and/or use this subscription as a resource for all the listening materials they need.

I would like to know what kinds of listening controls are included....slower/faster, go backward/forward, etc.

I would like to see them partner with a company that offers a written database subscription so schools can make use of both simultaneously.

Verdict: Teachers in traditional classrooms can assign audio books during or after class and build lists they want students to use.

Teachers can use the search function to find titles that fit a unit they are covering.

Mostly, the thinking behind this product is that students need to hear more advanced language and vocabulary more consistently in order to eventually learn it.

Special Educator, School Type: Middle School, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices
Feb 21, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: Because I teach special education, I would use this product to help my low performing students with reading and fluency. I would also use this product to help with read a longs and text review. Most of my students are in love with there phones, so I would assign them reading assignments for there mobile devices to use anywhere. They would get a kick out of that. This program would also help to save the school money on books that get damaged everyday,

Strengths: This product does a great job of bringing a great library of audio books into a school using devices that are relevant and user friendly to any student. It allows any reader at any level to participate in whole class readings. This program solves the problem of students being embarrassed to participate in reading due to a low level. It also makes reading entertaining to students.

Suggestions for Improvement: My only suggestion would be to add books to support the other subjects being taught within the learning environment.

Verdict: Now a days it is very hard to find a great library of audio books for a good price. This program could fill a major gap that our school has with meeting the needs of struggling readers. Best of all the students can take advantage of this product at home at no extra cost. The program also has a wonderful selection of books and biographies that we could take advantage of.

LisaMarie, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices
Sep 13, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product as part of my literacy centers. I believe that this product would definitely build a student's love of learning. My desire is that all of my students read because they love it, not just because it's required.

Strengths: This product ensures that students are listening to a story correctly. Their listening skills are honed as well as reading comprehension. I believe that this will be an asset to my literacy centers.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would ensure that this product had a vocabulary option so that students could understand new words. I would also hope that this program had a spanish language option. Also, I hope that it tracks how often students are logging in.

Verdict: This product allows students to develop their listening skills which will in turn increase comprehension. This is especially important for struggling readers. if they read independently they are often reading incorrectly and therefore comprehension is low. This allow them to listen to a book as they follow along.

Harmony, Teacher 8th Grade. School Type: Middle School, College Prep School
Apr 15, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: Supplemental in my history classes. I'd love to have access to other readings that I could share in class to enhance their listening, comprehension and vocabulary.
I also would use this frequently with my 2 yr old- he'd love this and it would be so beneficial for his and only serve to enhance his love of reading.

Strengths: Building reading skills
Building reading comprehension
Addressing common core standards
Easy to navigate
Attractive site

Suggestions for Improvement: Add lesson plans for 6-8
Add more titles -I know you're
working on it!
That's all I have until I can play on and use the site more!

Verdict: It's proven students/kids need a listening component to build their reading skills and this service does it fantastically. It is aligned with common core which makes it easy to use and more effective for teachers today.

Melissa, Technology Coordinator. School Type: Elementary School, Low Income Population
Apr 15, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would have require students to read a minimum of 1 story per week and create a summary of the story. To encourage multiple learning styles I would allow students to create their summary in a variety of ways.

Strengths: Students are more likely to take charge of their learning when they are not more concerned about what their peers may say about what their ability is.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would to have the ability to view reports on students progress and track standards mastered/practiced.

Verdict: The product allows students to read at their grade level in subjects that would interest them as opposed to reading the story in the textbook. Skills can be assessed by requiring students to incorporate them into the summary or through AR assessments.

Sarah, Elementary Supervisor. School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, Low Income Population
Apr 15, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: to assist students in fluency and assess students in auditory comprehension

Strengths: fiction AND nonfiction
comprehension questions

Suggestions for Improvement: I would provide students with the option of being able to see text as it is read.
I would provide the same text at different reading levels.
I would provide online assessments to assess comprehension.

Verdict: students need fluent reading modeled well

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, College Prep School
Feb 22, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: This would be a great way to have whole class listening to books that are in our curriculum but not available in our library on cd. Many of my students are below grade level and listening to the text would help them stay engaged in classroom lessons, as well as learn about inflection and character emotion. On an independent level this could be used as a tool to help start a reading club specifically geared towards those who are scoring at a basic reading level. If reading is a challenge for the student they don't do it independently and therefore don't learn many of the skills found within pleasure reading (character development, conflict resolution, etc). Making these available through listening would be fantastic.

Strengths: The books that were available were not just generic; some up to date, popular novels were available such as The Hunger Games. Also, the list of categories was great, including Spanish novels. The grade range of available books was also refreshing, since it took into account the need for middle school books.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1 Many of the novels that are taught in my classroom were not available. Including novels that are in a new curriculum (Lightening Thief, Hatchet, The Giver) would make this more appealing to administration as an investment.

2 Having a Popular section for the newest pleasure reads would be a more direct way to get students into the reading. Too much time searching will lead to loss of interest before they even give it a chance.

Verdict: Being a school that has been struggling to engage students in reading, this would be a means to accomplish that goal. Many of our students also find things more manageable if they are accessed through technology, and this would take away some of the intimidation of classroom and independent reading. Presenting the idea of after school reading clubs and in class listening, which would help build vocabulary and literary skills, would be my two main reasons for purchasing this product.

Lourdes, Teacher. School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices
Sep 13, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use it so students can access different audio books in order to increase their scores. In my ELD class I would use it specially for my students that are reading at level 3. Many of the students learn by listening and if they listen to someone read the books then their English vocabulary will increase. I would set up a reading corner so students can read at their own pace.

Strengths: This program focuses on phonics and vocabulary development. It solves issues of a reluctant reader. As was explained in the presentation students can read in groups but still manage the devoice at their own pace. I like the fact that the teacher can assigned the reading to the whole class.

Suggestions for Improvement: It would be nice to set up more than 5 computers at a time. It would also be nice to include more books that are bilingual so students that are newcomers can read the books in both languages. A quiz for each book should be created within the product.

Verdict: I would recommend this program because students that are struggling with their English language they would be able to access the core curriculum through this listening device. I like the idea of the students becoming more enthusiastic about their reading rather than being reluctant. I would use it for phonics practice and the students will be able listen to the correct intonation. It also has vocabulary review that would help students.

shawn, 1st Grade Lead Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, Project Based School
Feb 22, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use it with my small groups in first grade. During reading as part of "center time" I have my students working with small groups. My highest group is currently blogging about books they are reading. My low group however, gets no time to use the tablets and blog as they are still working on specific reading skills. This product would let my students be able to listen to books and then use other apps to record vlogs about the book that they listened too.

Strengths: It reads the stories to the students. It takes rich literature that the students would actually want to listen too, and makes it reachable to the students without stressing them out. All students can have access to literature through this product.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. Add the text from the story so the students can read along.

2. Add comprehension questions to the end of the stories so that the students can practice those skills as well.

3. Lower the price.

Verdict: This product would be very helpful for students to listen to stories. This would be very helpful for my lower level students who are still just learning how to decode and sound out words. By being able to just listen to stories, the students would be able to gain that love of reading and that confidence in being able to be a part of a story without the stress of having to actual read the text.

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