Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Every Wednesday during our 5th period English class we go to the Library computers. It is one of the few times my students get to use the computers at school. They would rather be on “you tube” or surfing the web, but we are limited to our reading program. Since my students have difficulty with reading, I did some research last year and came across the “Start to Finish” program that is put together with hi/lo reading material. When requesting the Librarian to purchase a set, I happily became aware that the library already has one. This is a great program. The program allows for the students to interact with the computer. They can read the story from the book directly or can read from the computer screen. The best part of the program is that the cd that accompanies it allows the student to read with the computer, they use earphones and the program will actually read the book to the student while it displays the script. The students also have the opportunity to read most of the book by themselves while being able to check the words they do not recognize by clicking on them. This allows students to read at a speed that is comfortable for them. Hopefully, this makes it easier for the student to comprehend and retain the story line. This is great by itself, but it also has test at the end of each chapter so you can see how well the student comprehends the story. Another feature is the ability to check the student’s reading fluency. Unfortunately, we don’t have the microphones that are required for this portion so we are unable to take advantage of this step. It lets the students see their progress as it will display the test scores on a graph after each chapter test. The students have learned how to use this program which is very simple. They have also learned how to install this program on the computers because we are forced to upload the program each time we use it due to the district’s freeze on software programs installed on site. My students really seem to like to read books using this program, and since my main focus, besides raising the reading levels, is to get the students to enjoy reading I am a happy camper too.