Saturday, July 23, 2011

Web Based Subscriptions-Your Opinion

Do you use web based subscriptions in your classroom?  Are they by choice or are they mandated by your district? How much time do you give your students to work on these activities?  Do they use them only at school or are they available from home as well?  Who paid for the subscription?

I have had the opportunity to use a few web based subscriptions with my students over the years.  Sometimes it was mandated by the district I was working in and the district paid for it, and sometimes it wasn't.  Sometimes it was district wide and sometimes the subscription was only available to my students.

I have not said what programs I have used on purpose.  I would like to have your recommendations on which program you would recommend and why.  I am sure there are programs available that I don't even know about. My readers always amaze me with their knowledge.

If you like a specific web base subscription, please share it in the comment section below and if you would  please tell us why.  If someone has already shared that program, please comment also.  

I like to know every one's opinions.  In the same sense if you would never want a web based program, please share that and why.

The only limitation is we all have to agree to disagree politely.  :0)

(I hope you choose the subscription I have for the next celebration on Vintage Teacher!)



We subscribe to Tumble Books, Brain Pop and Brain Pop Jr., Reading A-Z, and Study Island. I absolutely love Tumble Books for Listen to Reading during Daily 5. With our subscription students may also use Tumble Books at home, which we let them count for homework. I use RAZ for tons of resources. I especially like the projectable books on the Smartboard. I love both Brain Pops and have many clips linked into Smartboard lessons. Study Island is just for third through fifth grade, so I don't get to use it - I don't know much about that one. I have been very pleased with our web-based subscriptions.


I purchased a class subscription this past year to a wonderful program called Reading Eggs. I am confident in saying that Reading Eggs has been instrumental in teaching some of our students—who experience learning difficulties and intellectual disabilities—letter recognition and reading skills. Very kid friendly, individual levels and students loved get their Reading Eggs time in.


We use Reading A-Z. While teaching fourth I used it a lot. There were many ways to use it for not just reading extension. I used it for math some, social studies and science a lot. It enabled me to teach using a combination of subjects. I have not used it as much this past year, but I need to do that. I'm just loving all the bloggy business. I liked the fact that items were current and kept the students attention when many were available in differing levels. Reach them in order to teach them, is what I say. Best wishes in your search.


I just signed up for - It's free and looks great- I'll have to get back at you with more information- It's new to me but looks good.

Pat's Paper Passion

Check my latest blog...
Web Site Subscriptions

I like Spelling City
Reading A-Z
SF Reading Street


A Time to Share & Create


Fabulous 4th Grade


I have used Reading A-Z, RAZ kids, and Brain Pop Jr. All have been paid for by the district. I loved having each one to use and used them daily/weekly.

My district also subscribed to Spelling City, but I never got into it that much with my students. It looked promising, I just needed more training to be able to implement it and never got around to it.

Mrs. Roper

Brain Pop and Brain Pop Jr. are my favorites!


Great question!

First off, once students know how to use these program in class, I always send home the urls to parents so they can also be used at home. I especially encourage use over the summer.

Programs I have used:
1) RAZ-Kids: I have used RAZ kids for a few years and love it. Easy to use for me, and more importantly for my students. I love that they just have to click on their name. RAZ kids makes it easy for me to place my students at appropriate levels.

2) Starfall: FREE!!!! The kids love this site. It is easy for them to use and has many great games and great books for them to read. My only concern is that some portions of Starfall are not as academic as I would like.

3) Study Island: I used it one year with my first grade because the upper grade teachers were raving about it. Although the program was good, it was really hard for my students to type in their school given ids and passwords. (Not sure why the district decided to make these so complex, but it was a district issue, not a Study Island issue.) Also, for first grade Study Island uses "national standards", not state standards so the program and reporting are quite different than from grades 2 on up.

4) XtraMath: Since Study Island didn't work for me, I started a search for better math programs. Xtramath is free (okay, that is one of my favorite words!!), so I used it last year. The issue is that it only covers math facts. It is a very complete math fact program, but that is all.

5) IXL: Continuing my quest for a math program, I gave IXL a shot in the spring. Students were very positive about it and I like that it covered all of the math standards. Since we only used it a short time, I feel like I am still undecided. I need more time with students using this program. (I notice that NO ONE has used the program in the summer and that concerns me. It makes me wonder if it was an exciting new thing for a month, but that is all.)

How paid: Our Home and School Club (like a PTA, but more homegrown), gives each teacher discretionary money. I use that to pay for all of these subscriptions each year. (The one exception was last year when I used my very own money to pay for IXL because I had used all of my discretionary money and I really, really wanted a math program for my students.)

An Open Door

Karen Stamp

My school pays for Reading A-Z, Raz-Kids, Brain Pop, and Brain Pop Jr. We just got Raz-Kids this school year. I really enjoyed it for my kiddos... and they could access it at home as well (especially good for the summer slump!).

The Brain Pop, Jr. videos are terrific--and just enough info to keep their attention. They are great for jump starting a unit and/or winding one up.

I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's comments as well!!!
Karen :o)
Mrs. Stamp's Kindergarten


I tried to email but not sure if went thru so the condensed version:

Lexia, Reading atoz and raz-kids are the ones I use 2 of them are by choice. In fact we use Reading atoz as take home during the year, and currently and lst summer use it and raz-kids for our summer reading program. Both are awesome. I working on the master list of books for Reading atoz, cross referencing it with razkids, as there so many resources that we forget and use JUST the books...The Special Ed department uses Symphony Math, but I know nothing about it. Hope this helps ...


We use the online version of Explode the Code and it is fabulous!

Vintage Teacher

I hope people keep sharing. There are already a lot of sites I have never even heard of. Most seem to be reading based.


My district also pays for Reading A-Z and RAZ-kids, which I love. I use RAZ-kids as a station in the Daily 5. My students absolutely love it. I use a lot of the reading A-Z print outs as guided reading books (usually for my students reading below grade level). My school pays for a subscription to Discovery and Study Island. I have used Discovery to show video clips during science and social studies, but I think I have barely tipped the surface. There seems to be a lot of resources on there I don't even know about! My students (2nd grade) don't use Study Island, but from what I hear, I think it's decent. The one thing I wish I had is a great math website to use for math workshop. Any ideas?


My district pays for Reading A-Z, Brain Pop/ Brain Pop Jr, and Accelerated Reader. This will be the first year to use Reading A-Z so I don't have an opinion yet. I LOVE Brain Pop Jr! The videos are fun and just long enough. My absolute favorite is Accelerated Reader. My kids love taking tests online and it encourages reluctant readers to read! We also use the STAR reading and math online testing system through Accelerated Reader and I love it.


I have just been moved to 2nd grade, so I don't know much for that yet, but as a 6th grade teacher I loved Study Island, Brain Pop, and First in Math is $8 a student, but it definitely helped my students increase their basic fact and computation skills. I hope to find a way to get it for 2nd grade. If you wait until January to sign up, the price decreases a little (I forget how much). We also used United Streaming, which was good for science and social studies videos and video clips. The district paid for all of these, although we were able to get the PTO to pay for a few over the years when the district couldn't.

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I love comments. :0)

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