Monday, June 6, 2011

Reading Website that I Love!

We have been using this internet reading program for about a month now. It's a little tricky to get the hang of at first and I highly recommend watching the tutorial. But the kids figured it out just fine and way quicker than I did, so it may just be that I am getting old...

You set up your school (or household) including yourself, (the dog, the cat, etc. if you want). Next you create a challenge for the whole family and set an end date. I set ours up for a year but any length of time is good. I chose 1,000,000 minutes of reading, but you can set it to number of books read, or pages read, etc. You create whatever prize/reward fits your family. Our prize is dinner at subway.
You can also set up multiple mini-challenges that have weekly or monthly deadlines, for the whole family or the individual kids. My older girls must read so many minutes in a week to earn a treat (of their choice, below a certain dollar limit) from Aldis, while Rachel and Samantha must read 4 books in that same week to earn the same treat. I also created a competition for all of them where they have to read 50 books, but it doesn't matter how long it takes them. The first one to complete the 50 books gets to choose a movie from Netflix for all to watch.

They earn "miles" for every minute of reading that is logged. There are games on the website where they use the "miles" they earn. The miles allow them so many turns in games like Code breaker and Battleship. They can compete against everyone else who is signed up on the website (but the only access they have is seeing the first name of the person who won with no links to that person. So there is no chance of bad stuff. I love the safety features of this website!).

There is also a Reading Race that is just within your school (or home). For every 10 minutes of reading the kids (and the parents!) earn a token. This week the tokens are smiley faces. A few weeks ago they were Easter Eggs. The kid with the most tokens at the end of the week wins. They don't win anything concrete, other than bragging rights, which my kids seem to enjoy! I suppose you could make a reward for that too, if you wanted.

The website has some neat features like: Library look-up. The kids put in the title of the book they are reading and it uses Amazon to find the book. It then puts a picture of the book next to their name. When they finish the book they can write a book report on the website and earn extra "miles". You can look at other schools (or households) to see what they are reading and I have found some neat books for the girls that way. There are a bunch of safety features to protect privacy etc. The kids can only interact with others within their group, or with kids outside the group that I approve.

There is a "community" page which lists the top reading groups each day, as well as the top readers (just first names and the only link is a rollover link which lists the last few books read by that kid. Did I mention that I love the safety and security on this website?). The girls love to check and see if Cedars of Lebanon School has made it into the top four groups.

This website would be a great tool not only for public schools to use during the school year (or summer reading challenges), but also for homeschoolers, or even libraries. The need it fulfills for our homeschool is the tracking of which books are read. I like that I can log onto the website and just add the time spent and book titles into our Homeschool Tracker program.

I know there are even more features and neat little things on this website, but I haven't checked them all out yet.
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