Reading & Writing Tools

KnowledgeBox by Pearson Digital Learning (www.pearson is a digital learning system that provides educators with standards-based multimedia for reading and language arts. Designed for grades K-6, KnowledgeBox contains 80 new "Between the Lions" language arts lessons, which are based on the popular PBS series for children, and customizable lesson plans for teachers.

Kurzweil 3000 Version 7 by Kurzweil Educational Systems ( is designed to help boost performance in reading and writing for struggling students. By delivering total flexibility in the testing experience, students are able to appropriately leverage the visual and auditory features of the same software for both formal test taking and everyday use.

Planet Wobble by Crick Software Inc. ( is a series of literacy materials for early readers and writers that is delivered on CD-ROM and in print. The materials include stories that follow six central characters. Once students are finished reading, they have the opportunity to write stories on their own and interact with the characters through e-mail at

IntelliTools Reading: Balanced Literacy ( is a yearlong program of nine units that can be used as supplementary literacy instruction for first-graders. Balanced Learning's Network Version allows students to use the software from any LAN-connected computer to access the reading and writing programs.

Now available on wireless handhelds, Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) by Sopris West Educational Services offers reading assessment that can be used to meet the Reading First portion of NCLB. This K-3 applicable program is a system of standardized, individually administered measures of early literacy development. For more information, visit

PLATO Writing Process and Practice ( is a program based on the belief that teaching writing skills is a process and not a mechanical skill. Formulated for grades 3-12, the program aims to instill in students the value of writing as a communicative activity that is relevant to all aspects of their education.

The Academy of Reading by AutoSkill ( is a program designed to complement a school's existing reading curriculum to offer additional help for low-level readers. The program includes material on phonemic awareness and reading comprehension, with the added ability of the program to individually assess a student's profile and assign appropriate exercises.

Classroom Connect's Web-based professional development series for reading teachers, Connected Educator Reading, offers proven instructional strategies for K-6 teachers to help their students learn to read. The program includes four self-paced courses in the areas of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and text comprehension. For more information, visit

EyeHear Learning's EyeHear English 1 is designed to teach English as a second language to students of all ages and skill levels. The program enables students to master one year of college-level language instruction in only 38 hours. The company's patented technology also allows students to realize reading comprehension and grammatical skill improvements at twice the speed of conventional teaching methods.

Destination Reading by Riverdeep ( is available via three platforms: network, CD-ROM or Internet subscription. The first level of the program aids emergent preK-1 readers with basic reading skills. The second level, for grades 2-3, builds vocabulary and fluency for early reading and writing.

Diascriptive Reading Online by Educational Activities Software ( is a subscription-based reading program that aids comprehension development for grades 1-12. Pretests assess students in the comprehension areas of details, inference, main idea, sequence, vocabulary, as well as fact and opinion. The program then formulates individualized curriculum to remediate student's weak areas.

This article originally appeared in the 12/01/2003 issue of THE Journal.