Dynamic New App Provides Struggling Readers With Powerful Digital Learning Tool

GREENVILLE, Wisconsin – October 14, 2014 – EPS Literacy and Intervention, a division of School Specialty, Inc. (OTCQB: SCOO), today announced its new S.P.I.R.E.® Touch PhonicsTM App, which provides digital manipulatives for phoneme segmentation and word building. Available now on the App Store, this dynamic tool provides a powerful digital learning experience to help struggling students build reading skills.

Designed for easy classroom management, the S.P.I.R.E Touch Phonics App reduces teacher prep time, frees up storage space, eliminates the need for set-up and clean-up and protects against lost manipulatives. Within the app’s word building activity, cumulative collections of color-coded letter tiles are grouped by concept, including consonants, vowels, consonant teams, vowel teams, welded sounds and letter teams, prefixes and suffixes/endings. The phoneme segmentation activity lets students work with digital versions of traditional white and green sound circles and blue syllable rectangles, allowing for easy manipulation.

“We are excited to put this innovative and engaging tool in the hands of students who struggle with reading,” said Rick Holden, president, EPS Literacy and Intervention. “The S.P.I.R.E. Touch Phonics App will help students build essential literacy skills and gives teachers a powerful addition to their classroom toolkit to help students accelerate their proficiency.”

The app supplements S.P.I.R.E., a comprehensive, multisensory reading intervention program designed to build reading success for the lowest level readers. Lessons follow a consistent 10-step lesson plan for each concept covered. This consistent format helps students focus on increasingly complex content and simplifies teacher preparation. The multisensory instruction in S.P.I.R.E. employs auditory, visual, and kinesthetic activities to improve concept retention. Based on the Orton-Gillingham approach, S.P.I.R.E. incorporates the most recent research regarding best practices in reading and language arts instruction. The program includes many opportunities for practice, ensuring students experience continuous and visible success.

The app can be downloaded for free on the App Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/s.p.i.r.e.-touch-phonics/id908710911. A 12-month subscription to EPS is required to access the content, which is $20 per student. For more information, visit the S.P.I.R.E. Touch Phonics page.

About EPS Literacy and Intervention
EPS Literacy and Intervention provides K–12 blended-media solutions that build core skills and close the achievement gap in reading and math. With powerful instructional tools and high-quality materials, the company’s reading and math intervention solutions are proven to help struggling students. From universal screening to interventions, progress monitoring to data-driven decision-making, and professional development, EPS offers an integrated approach to effective teaching and learning.

For more information on EPS and its proven programs Wordly Wise 3000®, Academy of READING®, Academy of MATH®, MCI, S.P.I.R.E.®, Path Driver for Reading™, Path Driver for Math™, Explode The Code® and EPS E.P.I.C., visit http://epsbooks.com.

About School Specialty, Inc.
School Specialty is a leading distributor of innovative and proprietary products, programs and services to the education marketplace. The Company designs, develops, and provides educators with the latest and very best school supplies, furniture and both curriculum and supplemental learning resources. Working in collaboration with educators, School Specialty reaches beyond the scope of textbooks to help teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators ensure that every student reaches his or her full potential. For more information about School Specialty, visit www.schoolspecialty.com.

Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Information
Any statements made in this press release about School Specialty’s future financial conditions, results of operations, expectations, plans, or prospects, including the information under the headings “Process Improvement Program Update” and “Market Outlook”, constitute forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements also include those preceded or followed by the words “anticipates,” “believes,” “could,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “may,” “plans,” “projects,” “should,” “targets” and/or similar expressions. These forward-looking statements are based on School Specialty’s current estimates and assumptions and, as such, involve uncertainty and risk. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results may differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements because of a number of factors, including the factors described in Item 1A of School Specialty’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended April 27, 2013, which factors are incorporated herein by reference. Any forward-looking statement in this release speaks only as of the date in which it is made. Except to the extent required under the federal securities laws, School Specialty does not intend to update or revise the forward-looking statements.

About the Author:

Abi Mandelbaum

Abi Mandelbaum is CEO of YouVisit.