HAINES CITY, Fla. March 21, 2007–This year, students at Alta Vista Elementary School are increasing their reading fluency skills at almost double the rate of national norms while using the Soliloquy Reading Assistant, an interactive speech-enabled educational software program. The school?s 300 third and fourth graders are benefiting from the program?s ability to provide each student with one-on-one guided oral reading instruction, the best practice shown in research to reliably develop reading fluency.
"Soliloquy Reading Assistant delivers reading support for all the students," said Reading Coach, Carolyn Craft. "Students are given immediate feedback in fluency and comprehension. The recorded data helps us teachers out too by allowing us to assist in individualizing instruction."
Fluency is measured by the number of words a student reads correctly per minute or Words Correct Per Minute (WCPM). At the start of the school year, when the students began using the program, the Alta Vista third and fourth graders were reading at an average of 72 WCPM. After only five months of using the Soliloquy Reading Assistant, the average for the third graders is 104 WCPM and 102 WCPM for the fourth graders.
According to AIMSWeb, a scientifically based, formative assessment system, the average rate for building reading fluency is 3.4 WCPM per month for third graders and 3.5 WCPM per month for fourth graders. The Alta Vista third graders increased their reading fluency at a rate of 6 WCPM per month, and remedial fourth graders increased at 5.6 WCPM per month, nearly double the expected norms for both grade levels.
"The results are remarkable, and the best part is that the students are overall very enthusiastic about Soliloquy Reading Assistant," said third grade teacher, Rosa Bradley. "One of my students is particularly motivated by the program. It doesn?t matter how low she scores on the initial reading, she always tries harder the next time and succeeds. Before the program, she was not motivated to read with fluency, now it is a challenge for her and she loves it."
Seventy percent of the students at Alta Vista Elementary are English Language Learners (ELL). The documented success is just as prevalent among these ELL students, who predominantly speak Spanish at home.
"Non-English readers are able to feel a comfort zone with the program," said Principal Luis Alvarez. "The student doesn´t have any peer pressure of getting something wrong. He is competing with himself only and hearing his own pronunciation is helpful because he can self correct without embarrassment. Soliloquy Reading Assistant is an awesome program for ELL students."
Jon Bower, CEO of Soliloquy Learning, the company that makes Soliloquy Reading Assistant, commented on the outcome: "We are proud to have contributed to these outstanding results. Our goal is to help all students develop their reading skills, allowing them to be successful in every avenue of life. Alta Vista´s students are helping us to achieve our mission."
Students use Soliloquy Reading Assistant by reading e-books into a computer using a standard headset and microphone. Through Soliloquy Reading Assistant´s proprietary speech-recognition technology, the program is able to "listen" and recognize when readers stumble or make mistakes on specific words. When a student struggles, the program assists or corrects him/her by reading the word clearly, meanwhile making records in the background for teacher review. Vocabulary assistance and comprehension questions are other features of the program. When students do not know a word´s meaning, they can click it to gain access to a context-sensitive definition, pronunciation and photographic memory aid. When students reach the end of a reading passage, comprehension questions are presented to ensure understanding and to focus students on acquiring meaning in addition to speed. Students can then have the program read the story to them, and compare the model with their own readings to improve their pronunciation.
Soliloquy Reading Assistant is available for students in grades 1-12, plus adult remedial reading programs.
For elementary students (grades 1-5), reading content is drawn from children´s stories, poems and expository passages to build literature appreciation. For secondary students (5-12), content is drawn from science and social studies subjects required by many state standards, providing experience with the content to improve
comprehension later on. 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 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.