Merit Debuts ELL Programs


01.30.2007—Educational software publisher Merit Software has expanded its line of programs for English Language Learners with the launch of Essential English Fitness and Picture Context Reader. The two new programs are designed for "high beginning" and "low intermediate" ELL students, targeting grammar and reading fundamentals.

Essential English Fitness is designed to help students "identify and correct errors in usage by reading and responding to common English sentences." It covers:

  • Subject-verb agreement;
  • Past tense of irregular verbs
  • Double negatives; and
  • Plural nouns.

Picture Context Reader, according to Merit, "teaches students to read and respond to illustrated vocabulary questions posed in complete sentences. The illustrations and contextual clues in the text help students grasp unfamiliar vocabulary words."

Both of the new programs provide context-sensitive feedback and allow students to work at their own pace. They also include a built-in teacher management system for tracking and intervention.

Essential English Fitness and Picture Context Reader are available for $179 in single-station versions that allow for tracking up to 42 students. A home version is available for $39. Both are also available in various bundle configurations, and both are available only for Windows systems.

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About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director, education for 1105 Media's Public Sector Media Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal. A 22-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).