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Edublox Online Tutor - Reading Tutor Review by April Elstrom

Edublox
https://www.edubloxtutor.com/

Edublox Online Tutor is designed to help those experiencing difficulty with the reading process, by developing their skills in sequencing, auditory memory, eye span, logical thinking, and reading. The website focuses on practicing these skills through activities, rather than lectures or lessons. Edublox recommends that learners use the website three times a week, completing a full session which varies from fifteen to twenty-five minutes in length each time. Though there doesn’t seem to be a method for practicing only specific skills, students will undoubtedly benefit from the activities if they practice regularly.

Edublox Online Tutor requires Google Chrome web browser and a stable internet connection. We have had very few issues with the website, even though we have rural internet which is usually slower than internet options found in more populated areas. There have been a few occasions where the website froze due to our internet connection, and we just set it aside for the day. The website isn’t highly graphic or animated, which helps it to run even with a slower internet connection.

When you first register an account with Edublox Tutor, you’ll need to purchase individual subscriptions for each learner. The parents and each student have their own log-in. In order to keep this simple, I used my children’s names and the same simple password. The students will begin by taking an assessment. The assessment consists of a series of activities with colored cubes or blocks that need to be moved around, following the recorded instructions being given by a woman. Although the woman speaking does have a foreign accent, she speaks English clearly, and my children were both able to understand her. The volume fluctuates occasionally, and we found it worked best to use padded headphones that surround the ear.

Each assessment activity begins with a video demonstrating what is expected, and they do grow progressively harder within each set. Some of the activities involve completing increasingly complex patterns and recreating the order of blocks flashed briefly on screen. After several exercises with the blocks, the assessment has them read a series of words that are printed on the screen one at a time, listen to it pronounced by the narrator, and then click a check mark if they read it correctly or an x if they didn’t. I highly recommend sitting beside them for this portion of the assessment and marking them correct or incorrect yourself. Once the assessment is completed, the parent can view the student’s scores in sequencing, auditory memory, eye span, logical thinking, and their reading age in the parental account.

When the student logs in to play Edublox Tutor, they land on a colorful, cartoon-like menu page, which allows them to select different places to visit. Once they enter an area, it returns to the simple blocks and voice-over recordings that is familiar from the assessment. The activities within the play area do vary somewhat from those within the assessment, and there are a wider variety of puzzle activities and reading activities. As learners complete different levels they can buy creatures, earn edu-coins, and unlock more worlds.

Parents can track their students’ progress by repeating the assessment process, and comparing the results which can be found in the parental control panel. You can also view their progress through the practice activities by clicking on the progress sign on the child’s menu, though it only shows their progress, not their skill level. The question mark on the play menu takes you to a help section that explains more about the different types of activities, although it didn’t have a map of where to find specific skill activities for more targeted practice.

So, what did my family think of Edublox? My children found the colored block activities confusing during their first assessments. They grew more comfortable with them as they practiced during the week, but it was a learning process. While the simple activities and background are beneficial for older students and those who are easily distracted, my children were hoping for a more colorful, game-like atmosphere. Although earning edu-coins and buying creatures is fun, it wasn’t motivational enough for my children to want to use Edublox regularly. For myself, I would like to be able to view their skill level progression without having to repeat the lengthy assessment.

Edublox Online Tutor provides an online option for those who need in-depth help with their reading skills that goes beyond letter recognition and simple blending of sounds. Edublox has a very specific target audience and I am sure it will be a blessing to those dealing with a variety of reading disabilities and processing disorders. If your child is on-target with their reading, or is young and just learning to read, there are other options online.

-Product review by April Elstrom, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June, 2018

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