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Webinar Recap: Using Web-Based Software for Reading Skills Practice

Big Pond Middle School* is looking for a better way to provide reading skills practice for students.

The school had been using a Windows server-based reading program. Teachers felt there were too many technical problems with it. Accordingly, they began to look for a hosted program, one where technical hassles would be minimized.

All students are at least 1 year below grade level. They are reading between a 5.0 and 8.0 U.S. equivalent grade level.

Teachers want to be able to monitor student progress. They are also willing to work one-on-one when necessary with students.

*This school does not exist, it is a pseudonym for the school that took part in the webinar.


We looked primarily at Reading Skill Builder and Developing Critical Thinking Skills for Effective Reading. Several aspects of the programs impressed webinar participants.

They felt it stressed the reading skills their curriculum covered.

They liked the visual representation of students’ scores.

They liked the variety of reports.

The liked the benefit of students being able to see their own progress in their online portfolios.

They liked the “Missed Questions” report in the students’ online portfolios.

Teachers liked the implementation ideas in the Reading Skill Builder and Developing Critical Thinking Skills program manuals.

They asked about the timing to pass a level. That the software was adaptive and self-paced; and that students would not be forced to waste time on something that was too easy were benefits that appealed to them too.

They saw how easy it was to manage student accounts, and felt they’d get accustomed to the Merit web-based reading program very quickly.

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