We have been using (Reading Horizons) for three-to-four years.
I had seen a presentation at an MPAEA (Mountain Plains Adult Education Association) conference, plus a friend had seen it presented at a technology conference in Minnesota.
Many of the computer programs we had been using were (involved) only drill and practice. The programs did not give the rationale behind the spelling/reading.
The students who enjoy it the most are the ESL and learning-disabled students. Because of its demand, I had to “schedule” students on the computers. I was able to follow up with some small-group instruction.
The program may be individualized or (used with) small groups. I have also been able to integrate it easily with other curriculum I have used. It was one more tool in the balanced literacy approach toolkit!
More than anything, Reading Horizons has given students a sensible system for decoding. With a good introduction from the instructor, this is a program that most students will be willing to use quite readily.
I had been working off and on with a learning-disabled, 55-year-old refinery worker. Because “John”* was able to attend school only on his days off due to shift work, his schedule was very sporadic. The Reading Horizons program allowed him to review as much as he wanted to review and (to) move at the pace (with which) he was comfortable. After going through the program three-to-four times plus reviewing specific lessons numerous times, “John” finally felt he had a better handle on his reading and spelling. One day he looked at me and said, “You know, Norene, this is really ‘rich’ stuff! I only wish it had been around when I was younger, but then I probably wasn’t ready for it. I love to look words up in the dictionary now.”
For three years, I have worked with John. At the end of this year, he came to me with tears in his eyes and said, “I think I have enough now to go on by myself. I won’t be coming back to school this fall.” My loss — his gain! Shortly after he left, the counselor came down with a vase of flowers for me. John had given them to the counselor to give me, because John didn’t think he could do it without breaking down even more.
Retest scores? Yep, I am sure I have them at school, but I don’t need scores when I see (successful) students like John!
*Name has been changed.