by Elyse Schwartz
Accu-Reading from Merit Software is an easy-to-use program designed to improve specific reading skills. It would be especially useful for learners who are preparing to take high school courses or studying to pass a high school equivalency test. The software is available with two different sets of material. Set one covers skill levels 5-8; set two is for levels 8-11. Each set contains 144 nonfiction passages and 302 questions.
After an initial assessment, the learner can choose to practice a specific skill such as main idea, factual recall, vocabulary or inference. A series of seven short passages accompanied by multiple choice questions will help the learner practise the chosen skill. Learners receive feedback after each answer. When the answer is incorrect, an explanation box comes on to the screen to help the learner make a correct choice. After practising skills separately or in combination, the learner can take a test to measure progress. This program tracks learners results and creates progress reports for teachers.
Although Accu-Reading is clear and easy to follow, the reading material is best suited to advanced literacy learners. The feedback and encouragement included in the software would also make it attractive to students who enjoy working independently.
by Diane McCargar
Nonprofit organizations that solicit donations will be interested to learn about BasicFunder, fundraising database software that can be downloaded for free. This complex software can help organizations track donations and produce thank-you letters and tax receipts. The software will also generate a variety of reports, labels and mailing lists relating to donors.
The software is fairly complex in design. It is probably not worth investing the time involved in setting up the software if your organization rarely deals with donations. But if your organization is involved in soliciting donations on a regular basis this software is designed with you in mind. And you cant beat the price!
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