Washington, D.C., Feb. 27, 2007–Soliloquy Learning, Inc. released today new secondary content for the Soliloquy Reading Assistant, a computer-based reading program that combines advanced speech recognition technology with cognitive scientifically-based reading research to provide individualized reading support for elementary, secondary, and adult students. The new combination provides a powerful vehicle for pre-teen through adult students to become proficient readers.
"The Reading Assistant was originally designed to help elementary school children with their reading fluency," said Jon Bower, CEO of Soliloquy Learning. "The next logical step was to try to develop more advanced content for older students and adults so that they can continue to develop fluency, while broadening their vocabularies and learning to comprehend from informational texts."
Soliloquy Reading Assistant´s new Science and Social Studies Library includes 150 texts, adapted from materials by Cobblestone Publishing. This library is specifically intended to support content-area reading and learning of students in Grades 5-11. The texts were selected for alignment with state and national science and social studies standards.
The development of this content was initiated under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education through Harvard University´s Graduate School of Education, which is conducting a study to evaluate the benefits of the Soliloquy Reading Assistant at seven community colleges and adult literacy centers in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
Soliloquy authors/researchers, Marilyn Jager Adams, Ph.D., and Patti Sullivan-Hall, M.Ed., created a unique approach to promoting active comprehension by adding invisible "trigger points" to the Science and Social Studies Library. When a student reads to a trigger point in the text, a comprehension query pops up, which reinforces information, terms and inferences that are essential to the text´s meaning. The questions are open-book and must be answered correctly before the student can move on.
"The students can answer any question by looking back at what they´ve just read," explain Dr. Adams and Sullivan-Hall. "However, since the kids can´t tell when a question will pop up, the most efficient strategy is to think while they are reading, just in case."
When the students are done reading, the software displays a progress page, listing the words with which they had difficulty while summarizing their fluency, comprehension scores and how much of the text they have yet to read. Turning back to the text, students see that each problem word is color-coded, allowing their review of the text to be focused and purposeful. The software suggests that students re-read those parts of the text that they did not read well enough or with adequate comprehension.
Prior research has shown Soliloquy Reading Assistant to be effective in developing students´ reading fluency. "With these materials, we´re taking on learning and comprehension," said Dr. Adams. "The whole goal of the Reading Assistant is to engage students in conquering the challenges they meet in text, rather than skipping over them or sloughing them off."
Soliloquy Reading Assistant works by having students read e-books aloud to a computer using a standard headset and microphone. Through Soliloquy Reading Assistant´s proprietary speech-recognition technology, the program "listens" to the students as they read, providing help when they struggle. In the background, the students´ recordings along with information about their fluency, comprehension and difficulties are continually updated, enabling teachers to monitor the needs and progress of each student. In the network version, student performance records are sent to a server so that readings can be organized into portfolios and performance statistics can be collated across texts, classes, grades, and schools.
Since its launch in 2002, various versions of Soliloquy Reading Assistant have been used by over 5,000 schools across the country. For more information visit http://www.soliloquylearning.com or call 1-877-235-6036.
About Soliloquy Learning, Inc.
Founded in 2000, Soliloquy Learning has pioneered new and effective methods for improving reading and spoken language skills. The company´s flagship product, Soliloquy Reading Assistant, provides one-on-one reading support, using proprietary speech recognition technology to monitor and assist students through Guided Oral Reading, the research-proven best practice for fostering reading progress beyond the basics. Design has been led by literacy expert, Dr. Marilyn Jager Adams. Research on the efficacy of Soliloquy Reading Assistant has been sponsored through research grants from NICHD and IES . Soliloquy Learning is a privately held company based in Waltham, Mass. For more information visit: http://www.soliloquylearning.com.
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