Reading Readiness – Coaster

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About Coaster

The Fast ForWord Reading Readiness exercise Coaster helps develop phonemic awareness and letter-sound association skills, while building an initial understanding of the alphabetic principle.

In Coaster, the student listens for a consonant, clicks a coaster car with the letter associated with that consonant, then sees and hears a word that starts with that consonant.

How students use Coaster

Coaster presents groups of two to three consonants throughout the exercise. Each group begins with a preparatory stage that introduces the different consonant sounds paired with the same vowel. To work on Coaster, the student clicks the coaster operator at his podium to hear a consonant pronounced. The associated letter appears on all three coaster cars. The student clicks a coaster car to see and hear a word that begins with the consonant.

When the preparatory stage for a group is complete, the student clicks the coaster operator again to hear a consonant from that group pronounced. This time, each car displays a different consonant from that group. The student must click the coaster car with the letter that matches the pronounced consonant. When the correct coaster car is clicked, the exercise pronounces a word that begins with the consonant and displays that word on the coaster car. Points are awarded after each correct answer, and bonus points are awarded after 10 correct answers.

Tip: The following keyboard shortcuts are available in Coaster:

  • Ghostly operator (start button). Space bar
  • Coaster cars, left to right (response buttons). Number keys 1 through 3

How Coaster rewards progress

Animations. Each time the student correctly selects a word that can be depicted, the exercise plays a short animation involving that word. For example, if the student correctly selects the target word rat, a little rat scampers across the screen. Fun animations encourage the student to keep working on the exercise.

Session consecutive correct counter. The traffic-style light at the top of the roller coaster represents the consecutive correct counter. The bulbs light up to indicate the number of consecutive correct responses. When the student answers three consecutive trials correctly, the coaster car moves up the track a little bit. When the student answers three consecutive trials correctly five times, the coaster car shoots over the top and around the track, adding another car, rider, or star. As the student continues answering trials correctly in a session, more cars, riders, and stars appear on the track, which can help indicate a more successful session performance.

Session high score. Each time the student surpasses the highest score ever achieved in one session, the points counter lights up and flashes the words High Score.

Time. The timer at the top of the screen shows the amount of time the student needs to work on the exercise that day, which is based on the student's protocol. When the time requirement is met, the exercise session automatically ends, and the student can either choose another exercise to work on or review his/her success in the exercises.

Exercise percent complete markers. The percent complete markers (bars) above the points counter indicate the percentage of completed content in the exercise. Each marker represents 10% of the exercise. When all of the markers light up, the exercise is complete.

How students master Coaster

The student will continue to work on Coaster until the skills in the exercise are mastered. Then, the exercise is closed. To learn more see About completing a program.

Tip: For a complete list of content in the exercise, see the Reading Readiness teacher manual.