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Afterschool Curriculum Choice: Mathematics Resources
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Curriculum Details for
Thinking Reader

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Program
Description
Practitioner Expert
Review
Content Expert
Review
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Practitioner Expert Background

This practitioner has been a reading teacher for many years, working primarily with struggling readers.  He has used Thinking Reader since 2003 with students during the school day and during summer programs.  His students are seventh and eighth graders in both suburban and urban schools.  He has used the program on a regular basis with his students, for approximately 30 minutes at a time.  He has found that students’ reading test scores have risen since implementing Thinking Reader.

Logistics

Training
  • Used phone-based support from company representatives when he began using the curriculum.
  • Manual is clear and straightforward.
  • Easy to implement.
  • Has been pleased with the company’s technical support and customer service.
Set-up/preparation
  • Preparation is front-loaded, an hour or two at the beginning to input student information into the computer.
  • Access to computers and a reliable computer network is key.

Student Engagement

  • Students seem to be focused on the program, eager to use it both during class and their free time.  No longer hears “I hate reading” from students.
  • Can apply strategies learned in Thinking Reader to other classes, helps students feel more successful in school.
  • Success and general feedback are delivered appropriately for middle school aged students.
  • Titles of stories are high interest. 
  • Multi-sensory nature of program is appealing to students.
  • Parents reported that their children were always enthusiastic to attend summer school when Thinking Reader was being used.

Content

Adaptability to instructor needs
  • Adaptable to a teacher’s needs.  Thinking Reader allows students to work at their own pace, read as fast or slowly as they need to. 
  • Can switch the pace and level of program as needed.  Easy for students to log in and immediately begin working.
  • Can be used in different settings: with a few students in the back of the classroom, before school, after school, and most other settings.
General skills taught
  • Reading strategies and fluency
  • Test-taking skills
  • Builds enthusiasm and positive attitudes toward reading
  • Cooperation
Addressing diverse student needs
  • Characters in the stories are of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Stories pull from different cultural traditions. 
  • Can address different learning styles by changing the voice, color, font, etc.

Strengths and Challenges

Strengths
  • Teaches fluency and reading strategies effectively
  • Engaging for students
  • Adaptable to students’ needs
Challenges
  • Strategies for English language learners only apply to those who speak Spanish.
  • Requires reliable computer network system and in-house tech support.


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