Daphne, Ala. May 9, 2007–The entire student body at Daphne Elementary School South is using Soliloquy Reading Assistant, an interactive, speech-enabled educational software program, to develop their reading fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. The 322 students working with the program include mainstream and remedial readers, as well as English Language Learners (ELL), and Special Education students.
School-wide usage of Soliloquy Reading Assistant began in September of the 2006-7 school year after success with special education students the previous year. Kathy Smith, a Special Education Teacher, who encouraged Daphne to adopt the program, said, "One of my students began the year reading between 27 and 32 words per minute. After using Soliloquy, his average is up to 70 words per minute. His progress has also led to significant improvements in his other studies."
Teachers have seen success stories across the school. Bentia Battle, a fifth grade teacher, said, "Students feel reading is more fun using the technology. The program seems to motivate them to read more so than traditional books."
One of Ms. Battle´s students commented, "I love Soliloquy because no one judges me while I read. My classmates don´t know about the mistakes I make, and I have a chance to correct them all on my own. Being able to record my voice and then listen to it is pretty cool too!" Of course, Ms. Battle is able to review the detailed records the program provides on her students, which include audio recordings, specific errors, current status and trend lines.
Students use Soliloquy Reading Assistant by reading e-books into a computer using a standard headset and microphone. Through a proprietary speech-recognition technology, the software is able to "listen" and recognize when readers hesitate or make mistakes on specific words. When a student struggles, the program assists or corrects the reader by repeating the word clearly while creating a record of it for the teacher´s review. Vocabulary assistance and comprehension questions are other features of the program. When students do not know a word´s meaning, they can click on it for a context-sensitive definition, pronunciation example and photographic memory aid. As the students read, comprehension questions are presented to ensure understanding. Students can also have the story read to them, and compare the model with their own version to improve pronunciation.
ELL students benefit from using the Reading Assistant because they can spend extra time listening to, and reading, vocabulary words in context. All students benefit from answering comprehension questions so that they focus on the meaning of the text.
Dana Horst, South Daphne´s Principal, commented, "The Soliloquy Reading Assistant helps teachers as much as it does its students by freeing up their time to focus on core teaching. It also provides that one-to-one ratio that so many students need, but are unable to get, because teachers have to tend to twenty or more students at all times."
Jon Bower, CEO of Soliloquy Learning, the company that develops Soliloquy Reading Assistant, stated, "The successes that Daphne has experienced show that innovative technology combined with traditional teaching methods have a great impact on learning. We´re extremely proud to be a part of that process."
Soliloquy Reading Assistant is available for students in grades one through12, plus adult remedial reading classes. 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 (grade 5–grade 12 or above), content is drawn from science and social studies subjects covered by many state tests, providing experience with the content to improve comprehension as the student gets older. Since its launch in 2002, various versions of the Soliloquy Reading Assistant have been used by more than 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.