A sixth grader did not want to read. Period. With a few issues of The Week magazine (half page articles) and a new program that asked her 10 questions, she wrote 8 reports for her Social Studies class on her own. Now she reads from magazines.
The questions that Topical Storm asked included:
What was one thing that was interesting?
Why was it interesting?
What was another & why was it interesting to you?
What do the two ideas have to do with each other?
What is the main idea of the article?
A fourth grader had never written before without a scribe. But he liked software. He sat down with Topical Storm and wrote a moving personal narrative in 45 minutes. The program noticed he mentioned "my sister" and it asked him: "Please describe your sister and use strong nouns, adjectives, and verbs."
A class of fourth graders finished Topical Storm on personal narratives. The teacher said now we move on to Persuasive. Voices went up "Can we use Topical Storm?" The teacher said sorry, but it doesn't do that.
One boy raised his hand and asked "But could it?" One week later, they had the first persuasive lesson for Topical Storm. That's how new lessons get added.