For best results we recommend that students use these programs 20 to 25 minutes a session - two to three times a week - for six to eight weeks in conjunction with other methods of instruction.
Program usage should be paced to allow students sufficient time between sessions to absorb the material.
Help students choose a graphic reward theme. Let them know it is okay to change this each time they return to the main menu. Start out with the Tryout section to see where students need the most reading comprehension help.
Have students print scores for completing the Tryout section. Discuss problem areas with students.
Ask students what they read most outside of school. How much do they read outside of school? Do they use books or go online? What do they like reading? Have family members read to them? Suggest students read something they like for an extra 15 minutes a day on weekends.
Some programs will offer both a Warm-up section and a Workout section. If a Warm-up section is offered, go here first. The Warm-up section will give students in-depth practice with individual skills. The Workout section will give students more difficult practice with mixed skills.
Follow up each software Workout session. Ask students to name something from software texts that was already familiar to them before their session. Can they name something they read about for the first time? What new questions do they have?
Have students print scores received for completing each software Workout section.
Discuss these scores with students. In what areas have they gotten the most stars? The fewest stars? Are they pleased with their progress? What seems easier to them? What needs more practice?
Give students extra credit for completing half the units of a program with the Main Idea done at the 80-100% level.
Suggestions for Enhancement Activities: Merit Software to Curriculum:
Relate skills practiced with the software to material in social studies, science, and language arts curriculum, so students can apply new skills to each subject area. Have students write sentences explaining what they are reading.
Have students paint or draw a scene, a character, or something exciting from their reading for social studies, science and language arts curriculum. Ask them to share drawings with other students.
Look at a sample text from a book. Ask students to find the key words that tell the main idea. Can they list 1 - 2 details? Find a fact and/or an opinion? Explain text sequence? What can they infer from the text?
Organize students into small groups for games of charades based on passages in science or social studies curriculum.
Organize students into small groups to write a song based on a concept or theme from social studies or language arts curriculum.
Suggestions for Merit Software Follow Through
Return to the software and let students try Merit's Finals. Discuss scores with students. In what areas are they making the most progress since the Tryout section? Still struggling?
Give students extra credit for completing the Workout and Finals of a program with an average score at the 70-100% level.
Follow up software units with written post-texts.
Compare students' software results with gains on standardized test scores.
Resources to help you achieve success
Why Merit Is Different
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