The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews
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AceReader Elite Review by Debra BrinkmanStepWare, Inc.
1 (800) ACE-READ, Ext. 2
619 Main Street
Grand Junction, CO 81502
I have a variety of types of readers in my house. My high school senior reads well, and reads pretty much anything you put in front of him. My youngest is just out of the early reader stage. In between, I have a severely dyslexic high school student, a slow reading middle school student, and a not-always-eager-to-read elementary child.
When it comes to reading, I’m mostly interested in the three in the middle. Making it so that they can read with more accuracy, is definitely a goal here. They’d love to be faster readers as well, and I think that would make it more enjoyable. While my oldest son would love to learn to read faster, and my youngest can certainly use more reading work, the others are the ones who truly need the attention.
AceReader Elite trains you to read faster, speed reading, while still maintaining good reading comprehension. That sounds like a great thing for my oldest, and also for me. We both enjoyed working with the materials and even though we used it far more sporadically than we intended, and we both saw measurable improvement in our reading speed both within the program and just in our normal lives.
What makes me so excited about this program, however, is what it does for my struggling students. In some exercises, they are presented with a single line of text, which most definitely helps to train their eyes. Sometimes, the words appear on the screen, then disappear, which means their eyes can’t bounce back to what they’ve already read. They are forced to keep going forward, which is also wonderful training.
The program has them reading and re-reading the same material within some of the drills. The material comes at you at different speeds, but the words are the same. By the fourth time with the material, even at a speed faster than you thought you could handle, the material is fairly easy to grasp.
AceReader broke all of my expectations by offering a product that can help all of them. Available for Mac or PC, you can install it on up to three computers. Each computer can have an unlimited number of users. Unlimited—that is such a huge benefit to me.
There is material appropriate for first graders, and the difficulty progresses all the way up to college level. If that isn’t enough, you can import your own material. So if your son is supposed to be reading, War of the Worlds, for his high school literature course, you can add it for him. If you have reports you need to read for work, you can practice with those. The whole thing is very flexible.
You can work in one of three modes:
- Course Mode – you choose a level, and then you just do the next thing. It takes you through and you don’t have to make any decisions.
- Menu Mode – you make decisions about which drills to do and have more control over your training.
- Reading Mode – this is where you use your own text, and you can train with it.
We stuck to “Course Mode” here. The idea is to go in and do a training session every day, which takes roughly ten minutes. Each training session starts off with a self-paced reading comprehension test. These are similar each day, with text to read, followed by a few questions about details. Next you complete a quick warm-up drill that varies from day to day. Two more drills follow, and those are similar to each other. What you are actually doing changes from day to day.
Finally, you do two games or challenges. These are far easier for my kids than they are for me. For instance, in one game, you are shown two words. You are to hit the left arrow if the words are different and the right arrow if they are the same. My kids seem to do that intuitively. I stare at the words, pretty automatically thinking “same” or “different.” Then, however, I have to think, “Different is left. Same is right.” By that time, I’ve already taken too much time. The games are still fun though, and clearly the training is working for me. My kids make faster progress.
This is a program I recommend, particularly for anyone who struggles with reading too slowly. It takes very little time each day, and with repeated use, you will see positive results.
-Product review by Debra Brinkman, Crew Administrator, The Schoolhouse Review Crew, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, November, 2015