A few days ago, I received a Demo code to check out SNAP! Learning, a reading program developed by Sullivan Learning Systems. After doing a little research, I found out that the company is located in Fresno, where I live. I made an appointment to meet Mark Sullivan, the President and Founder of Sullivan Learning Systems. There’s nothing like a personal demonstration of a product to generate excitement!
SNAP Learning is designed to support students and teachers in the implementation of Common Core State Standards.
What I like about SNAP Learning:
- The titles cover grade levels Pre-K through 8th grade
- Books can be read on the iPad or printed out in PDF format
- The iPad version contains interactive elements
- Scores on Cloze, Multiple Choice, and Fluency activities on the iPad are uploaded to the website Measure section
- There are comprehensive lesson plans for the teacher, available as PDFs on the website, or on the iPad when you are logged in as the teacher
- There are many non-fiction stories, especially at the upper grade levels
- The audio for the stories uses a clear and pleasant voice
- The visuals are supportive rather than distracting
- The support via email or phone is excellent
- Color versions of the books, lesson plans, and record books are available for individual purchase
- The app is available for Android and Kindle Fire also (I only reviewed the iPad version)
- DRA, Fountas & Pinnell, Rigby, and Reading Recovery, and Grade Levels are provided for Pre-K through 1st Grade
- Lexile and Flesch-Kincaid readability levels are provided for 2 through 8th Grade
- Information on CCSS (Common Core State Standards) Text Complexity is provided (Qualitative, Quantitative, and Reader & Task)
- Books can be projected on the White Board for large group lessons
- Individual student and group performance can be tracked on the website
What I would like to see:
- A comprehensive guide for using the website and iPad app together. Video tutorials are in development; I would also like to see this in written form.
- Clearer directions regarding logging in. I got confused about which username/password to use when I wanted to log-in to the iPad app as the teacher. There’s one for logging into the app, and one for logging into the website. After I logged into the app, and after I selected a story, I had to use the website log-in info to access the teacher lesson plan. This wasn’t obvious or intuitive
- A reminder to use the iPad in landscape mode for optimal viewing, especially when using the teacher lesson plan
- Hot links for the table of contents for each book on the iPad app
- PDF versions of the Word Book, Alphabet Book, Placement Test booklet, and Student Record books
- Easier navigation using the ‘dots’ at the top of the page…they are not always responsive, at least on my iPad. There is a pointing finger at the bottom of each page that can be tapped to scroll through a story if necessary. The dots on the web version work well with my mouse.
- Smoother operation of the Data Analytics between the iPad and the website
This week, I tried out the web version with one of my tutoring clients. She lives across the country in Chicago. Using Skype screen-sharing, I was able to show her the web version from my desktop. Cool! Being able to use the interactive elements with her was quite handy. She read the fluency page and I recorded her score. (I had to email Ryan, at SNAP Learning, for directions to get that score to show up in the Data tab…very simple…I just needed to click on the muscle man circus performer). My client liked the interactive map and other similar features. I also sent her a PDF of the story so she can read it for practice when we are off-line. I’m looking forward to using the interactive graphic organizer and CLOZE paragraphs with her during our next lesson.
This could be a useful product for tutoring and homeschooling families, since it includes a range of levels and ways to measure progress. Use in the classroom would probably depend on the flexibility of each school district for using a supplemental curriculum.
SNAP Learning’s interactive books are well-designed, interesting stories. Experienced classroom educators are behind the development of the product. There are some kinks to be worked out in the implementation, but in the meantime, the company is extremely supportive, answering even the tiniest question promptly.