Rachel Oct 9, 2014
I homeschool and my advisor recommended this program. I gave it a trial for the free 2 month subscription time. I was initially skeptical of the program as it involved a lot of repetition and timing on a computer and I was unsure about the long term benefits . . . plus I knew it was going to be a significant amount of money from my allotment.
PROS: I love the reading practice, the ability to adjust the levels for my son so he feel challenged but not stressed, the comprehension questions after reading a passage, and the drill questions while he is waiting for the teacher. Last year, he pretty much shut down when reading happened and was very resistant to learning how to read. It was always a battle. This program encouraged him so much that he now chooses it first out of all his homework. He started out reading an average of 5 words per minute in his cold reading of a paragraph (a 1 minute timed reading of a paragraph he had never seen before) and he now is reading an average of 15 to 20 words per minute in the cold timing. This is after two months using this program about 30 minutes 4 days a week. The reading does carry over to his other work, and his confidence is much higher, which helps so much as well. Words such as "some" that he reads repetitively in several of these paragraphs he is able to recognize in his other books and homework as well. He has also learned some nonfiction facts from reading the passages.
CONS: These are small in comparison to how helpful the program is. Several sections in each reading require a timed response using the keyboard. If the child is not used to typing, and most younger children are not, they spend all of their time hunting for letters instead of learning. While this does help them learn the keyboard, it stresses them out to not be able to finish their answer before the time goes off. I cannot adjust the time for this section either. However, I will ask him to orally tell me his response and I can type it for him. Or we just don't worry about that part as much. Knowing that there is a time limit does also help him to finish more quickly at times. Once the phonics .8 section required him to read/practice the work "heck" which I found unpleasant and unnecessary. This was only in one story and has not been repeated again, so it may not be an issue in the future.
BOTTOM LINE: He improved so much and he loves the program! There's a lot of levels and material that will last for many years. He feels more confident reading. It is easy to track his progress and report what he is doing to our advisor. It does require a computer or IPad, and at least for the younger grades it isn't completely stand alone - I usually need to be near him while he is doing it (but that helps as well). I'd try the free 2 month subscription and see how it works for your child. It can't hurt!
TJ Ihnot, Marketing at Read Naturally Oct 10, 2014
Thanks for the review, Rachel. We are so glad your son is having success with the program. The steps of Read Naturally Live can be adjusted to better suit your situation. You may want to turn off the prediction and retell steps to limit the amount of keyboarding required. Please see the Setting Story Options Video to learn how to can turn off steps, allow independent cold readings, adjust the number of read alongs, and change the duration of practices and hot timings. Hopefully this help your son get even more out of the program.
Katharine Oct 1, 2014
I am a school psychologist and college professor. I am also the mother of a struggling reader. Because I am not new to this, as soon as I saw my daughter having difficulties, I got to work. She has been provided with a great deal of supplementary phonics instruction through her school's pre-referral intervention team, a private tutor and an expensive summer program. While phonics instruction has been an essential component to her reading development, her ability to sound out words has not translated into fluency. She continues to struggle with text and started second grade this year with very little confidence in her skills. I decided that I was done paying tutors to come in once or twice a week and provide fragmented supports. I was going to implement an intervention on my own. I looked at the research and narrowed down my options to Read Naturally and Rave-O. Because Rave-O is more of a curriculum than an intervention, I decided it was too complicated to administer at home. I also worried that it would interfere with the instruction my daughter was receiving in school. Within a few days of starting Read Naturally, my daughter improved enough that I moved her goals up- from instructional on first grade passages, to fluent on first grade passages. Within ten days, her teacher (who had no knowledge of the intervention) emailed me to report that she had seen improvement in my daughter's skills. Not all reading difficulties are alike and my experience is not proof of a program's universal effectiveness. That said, I have been pretty impressed with the simplicity of the design, the ease of administration and the results.
Jerry Hubbs May 27, 2014
We started the Read Naturally Live program at the first of the year and what a great product. The students have responded well and are progressing. This program demands input from a teacher which is great. We have really seen an improvement from a stand alone program we had before. Thank you so much for all that is provided. Many of our students have reading problems because of language fluency difficulties but have been able to apply themselves and are getting better. Good job to all of you!!
Clozelle Harris Apr 29, 2014
I really believe in the product. My students showed improvement in a very short period of time. I'm very appreciative that your curriculum person is willing take the time to discuss use of the product and my students. It probably isn't her job to do that, but it is great that she is willing to do so.
Karen McKenna, Director of Curriculum at Read Naturally Jun 20, 2014
It is my pleasure, Clozelle. I am pleased that you seek out the information you need to make our programs work effectively for your students! Read Naturally strives to be responsive to our teachers and teacher leaders. That is one of the best parts of my job.
Chris Miller Apr 28, 2014
We've been really pleased at the ease of use of the software and the student results. Really solid product.
Juli K Apr 22, 2014
Our teachers LOVE Read Naturally. Many are using Read Live with the Benchmark Assessor. Great program! The training videos online along with the Teacher Manual are very explicit and helpful. I had been to several trainings at conferences, prior to getting my position in my current school district. Read Naturally is an excellent program to work on fluency and comprehension. Students find it extremely motivating! We have also used the passages as CBMs for progress monitoring purposes to measure the effectiveness of specially designed instruction implemented in the area of decoding. We have had students that needed 3 probes per week. So while the benchmark assessor is valuable for checking progress 3x/year, when the requirement is to take probes more frequently, Read Live stories have been a life saver.
TJ Ihnot, Marketing at Read Naturally Apr 22, 2014
Thanks for your comments, Juli. Read Naturally offers passages specifically for progress monitoring called Reading Fluency Progress Monitor.
Karen Apr 22, 2014
My 5th graders started Read Live in Feb. They literally run down the hall to the computer lab to get started on their Read Live Stories. One student, who often falls asleep in class, is highly engaged on Read Live and is making wonderful progress. We all are enjoying the excellent stories and learning a lot!
Callie K. Apr 22, 2014
Read Naturally Live is a great program. It is repetitive enough for them to use independently. My students were very excited to use it at first. However, I have had to provide a class sticker chart to show the number of stories each student has completed in order to keep them motivated over time (after they complete two stories, they get a small prize). Some suggested improvements: 1) I feel there should be a read-along component to go with the phonics-based words list. If students are doing this independently, they may think they know a word so they don't always click on them. Then they read it incorrectly 3 times before I correct them. 2) On the word list, I feel the harder words should be at the bottom. For example, in the -at column, the words are listed flat, fat, at, cat, hat. My students struggle to blend letters, so they get really stuck on flat because it's first. If they had a chance to read at, fat, cat, hat, they might have an easier time realizing that word rhymes, so it must be flat. 3) Make the long term fluency chart visible to students after completing each story. They want to see themselves improving over time, and this would help motivate them to try their hardest on the read alongs and practicing of the story.
Karen McKenna, Director of Curriculum at Read Naturally Apr 22, 2014
Thank you for your thoughtful review, Callie. Read Naturally Live gets students to do the same task over and over because of the intrinsic motivation that comes from improving a little bit each time, but students sometimes do need additional motivation. You'll be pleased to learn that the long-term fluency chart is already available to students after completing each story! There are three tabs at the top of the Story Details page shown in the Pass Step. Each tab has a graph: fluency, comprehension, and word lists (or retellings in Sequenced levels) so the student can see progress on all completed stories. Please see Read Naturally Live FAQs for some suggestions about supporting students during the Word List step. Your comments help us as we consider changes for future releases. We will note them and discuss each of these in our planning sessions
Katherine Martin Apr 22, 2014
The only problem I find is during the testing of the word list on the ipad or tablet. In the second part of the word list test, as a child "traces" the list across, their palm is likely to touch the "finished" button. This skews the timing score as it ends the session prematurely. Perhaps the "finished" button could be moved to another area of the screen.
Karen McKenna, Director of Curriculum at Read Naturally Apr 22, 2014 Thank you, Katherine for the input. I am pleased that the iPad version of the student program is useful for working with your students. We have recorded your suggestion about button placement and will consider the issue when we plan future releases.
Sandy Apr 21, 2014
We switched over to Read Live in January. Our reluctant students seem to really enjoy this version so much better. I actually look forward to it as well. The results show that it really works and the students see their success.
Suzanne Levine Apr 18, 2014
As a Reading Specialist and Resource Room teacher, I am very satisfied with Read Live. But the most important factor is that my students are very enthusiastic and excited to be on Read Live. They are so motivated to improve their levels and they enjoy the graphics especially the starts and the sounds associated with a correct answer.
Debbie Matz Apr 17, 2014
We tried the trial Read Live program and were very pleased. We purchased the program and our tier 2 intervention students are much more motivated using this program than when they were using the paper version. The reports are great for sharing at our RtI meetings too.Thank you!
Janene Weaver Apr 17, 2014
Since we have started using the program our fluency scores have increased greatly and we have been able to provide intervention for a greater number of kids.
Jenifer Apr 17, 2014
Read Live is wonderful. I enjoy listening to the stories that the students read to me. We are all learning so many interesting things about science and social studies. I am a music teacher who was asked to work worth a small group of students needing more help in reading. In desperation, I went to Google and found Read Live. After a free trial period, I convinced my administrators to purchase 30 seats. This has been very user friendly. I called a few times with questions and everyone was always nice and helpful to me. I downloaded some instructions that were also easy to follow. We love the program here. I am trying to convince more educators to use this in their schools.
Angela Kopit Apr 8, 2014
My students are making amazing progress with Read Live. They are very excited about monitoring their progress and are completely engaged in the stories. Reports are awesome and so easy to interpret. Parents and students can really see progress. It also gives me great data for setting IEP goals. I am your greatest fan. This program makes me feel like I am truly making a difference in my students' lives.
Brenda Apr 7, 2014
I am very happy with the results of Read Live so far! My students are very motivated!
Becky Apr 7, 2014
Our students are making progress with reading fluency and comprehension using Read Live. We like the flexibility Read Live gives us. Each student can start at their level and work at their own pace. They also like to make it a competition, and that is motivating for them.
Janet Apr 7, 2014
We are so glad that we have this program. It follows the research for best practices in fluency instruction and intervention. Our students have made great gains as evidenced by our progress monitoring data. I don't know what we would have done without it!
Jackie Uphoff Apr 7, 2014
I have tutored in a reading lab using Read Naturally for twelve years. We are now using Read Naturally Live. We have gone through the upgrades over the years and the program just gets better and better! Not only has it improved test scores but also the interest in reading and pride of the students as they see their improvement. It is a valuable tool for teachers, students, and parents.
Kay Mar 11, 2014
My school district started using the cassette version in 1998, and we switched to the Software Edition in 2005. Now we are moving to Read Naturally Live, the Cadillac of this successful reading intervention. Read Naturally has increased the reading achievement of thousands of students in our district over the last fifteen years, and we plan to use it for years to come!