Reading Assistant oral reading practice online.
- Using speech recognition, it corrects in real time.
- Individualized material, quizzes to test comprehension.
Reading Assistant Results
Empirical Evidence: Case Studies From Schools
Reading Assistant uses speech recognition to help children read out loud, privately (and so not self-consciously), with real-time help and corrections. If a child can read just ten minutes more every day for a year, the research suggests they can improve their reading percentile scores by as much as forty points. One study shows gains from the 30th percentile to the 70th percentile.
While we are not a school, Reading Assistant has to date only been offered in schools and most often after success with Fast ForWord. Here are some school district stories. Remember, that while they are posted on the website of the Reading Assistant software developer, the gains are signed off on by the school districts.
Kentucky Elementary School 4th Graders Achieve 100% Reading Proficiency
The entire fourth grade class of Brodhead Elementary School in Brodhead, Kentucky, can now read proficiently thanks to a long-term, school-wide focus on literacy that includes Reading Assistant™ software. The school reported that its fourth grade students achieved a 100% reading proficiency rate, a remarkable mark relative to the national norm of 31 percent and the state average of 30 percent.
"We are extremely proud of our students and staff for attaining what is truly an amazing milestone in education – 100 percent reading proficiency,” says Caroline Graves, Principal of Brodhead Elementary. “[…] Reading Assistant has proven to be a wonderful supplemental reading resource that clearly helped our students achieve this feat. We believe that all students can become active, lifelong readers in a caring and cooperative environment, and Reading Assistant helps that belief come to life."
Brodhead Elementary adopted Reading Assistant in 2005 and immediately began seeing results. The program helped supplement the school’s reading curriculum and after struggling fourth graders used the program for several months, the program was implemented for all of Brodhead’s students.
Struggling Third And Fourth Graders Improve Their Fluency At Rates More Than Double The National Average
Four of the five elementary schools in Chelsea, MA, increased reading fluency by 112% above national norms in third grade, and by 108% above national norms in fourth grade. The schools incorporated Reading Assistant™ software into their curricula as part of an initiative to bring struggling students up to grade reading level. The results of testing done near the end of the school year demonstrated above average improvement for all third and fourth graders using the technology, reversing years of district results below the national average.
A Solution That Works
The Chelsea district purchased the technology with Reading First funds in the summer of 2006.
“These results are unprecedented,” remarks Denise Maresco, Chelsea District Literacy Program Director. “We have been searching for a solution that would work for every student and [Reading Assistant] has met our needs and exceeded our expectations.”
The majority of the student body in Chelsea is below the poverty line, which often translates to low achievement levels in school. Students in each school who demonstrated at-risk reading performance were selected to use the program.
Jenna Rooney Keaney, Reading Coach at the William A. Berkowitz Elementary School, where third and fourth graders have been using the program for 30 minute sessions four times a week, reflects, “Many of these students have been receiving supplemental intervention in school, after school and before school since first grade and they have never made progress comparable to what we have seen with the use of [Reading Assistant].”
Improvements In Reading Fluency Lead To A Love Of Reading And Better Behavior
All twenty elementary schools and four middle schools in Laredo ISD in Laredo, TX, have incorporated Reading Assistant™ software into their resource classrooms in an effort to improve Special Education students’ reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.
“We needed this program because over ninety percent of the students in the district speak Spanish at home,” says Alma Rodriguez, Assistive Technology Coordinator, “so it is challenging for many to practice their English reading skills with their parents. This program is giving them the feedback they need to develop fluency in English. In less than a year of using the program, the students in all grade levels are experiencing significant improvements. They are learning to love reading!”
Special Education students in all of the twenty elementary, four middle and three high schools have used the program an average of three days per week for about 25 minutes per session.
“We are seeing great results,” says Oralia Hinojosa-Cortez, Instructional Specialist at Katherine Tarver Elementary School. “The students are not only learning how to read better, but they are truly enjoying it.”
Reading Assistant Students Are “Spotlight Readers”
The four middle schools that have implemented the program into their curricula have experienced similar results. Sixth grade Special Education students at Cigarroa Middle School reading at the first and second grade level, for example, have made so much progress that they have become “Spotlight Readers” in a program which involves middle school students reading to younger students in elementary schools.
“I am extremely proud of my students,” says Rogelio Saucedo, Sixth Grade Special Education Teacher at Cigarroa. “At the beginning of the year, their reading levels were low. They lacked the confidence and motivation to read books. After being introduced to [Reading Assistant] and acquiring the necessary reading skills, students became aware of their potential. This allowed them the opportunity to read to the elementary school students in the Spotlight Readers program. It’s been very rewarding for me to watch their growth.”
“The accomplishments at Cigarroa Middle School are really extraordinary,” adds Rodriguez. “We wish that students all over Texas could have the same opportunity to overcome their limitations and to embrace reading.”
Increasing Self Esteem, Improving Behavior
At Martin High School, Reading Assistant has been used in a program intended for students who have behavioral issues. Norma Garza, the teacher in charge of the program, noticed that Reading Assistant has helped students improve their reading skills, which has enhanced their self esteem.
“Often times, kids with learning difficulties are out of control,” says Garza. “If you want to change their behavior, you have to make sure that their learning challenges are being addressed. […] Reading Assistant is helping these students’ behavior improve by bringing them toward their grade level in reading. Also, they truly enjoy the different reading materials.”
ELL Students See A Marked Improvement in Reading Proficiency
At the start of the 2006 school year, administrators at Skyline Elementary School in Cape Coral, FL, found themselves faced with an English Language Learner body that had nearly doubled in size from 23 percent to 41 percent. An increased focus on fostering reading proficiency for ELL students became a top priority.
In January 2006, Reading Assistant™ software was integrated into Skyline’s reading curriculum, which already included multiple reading programs including Harcourt Trophies Reading Program and Accelerated Reader by Renaissance Learning. Reading Assistant software was being used by approximately 60 percent of the student body and after noticing a marked improvement in reading proficiency, Skyline officials decided to increase student usage.
“The teachers of our second, third, fourth, and fifth graders, who are all using […] Reading Assistant, love the way the program delivered a patient guided oral reader for each student,” says Judith Gault, Reading Coach at Skyline Elementary. “The children are getting the one-on-one support they need to strengthen their reading fluency skills and the teachers are easily able to integrate […] Reading Assistant time into their regular classroom activities. This program is truly one of the best on the market for fostering reading fluency.”
Skyline Elementary has used Reading Assistant software to deliver English Language Learner (ELL) reading instruction and develop reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension skills for 800 students. The software enables teachers to turn on ELL features within the program that allow students to view and hear English word translations in Spanish, fostering an essential bridge to comprehension and concept development.