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Reading Assistant Plus (RA+)

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With a busy schedule, how can you enhance oral fluency, reading and comprehension for all students anytime - in class or at home?

In a class, students with a range of abilities enjoy reading assistance tailored to that student’s level and hence can work independently in an engaging environment with Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) . This can be done whilst teachers plan their next lesson or can be done as a home reader to ensure flexible scheduling to fit your teaching day.

Every reader deserves a listener

Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) is the only reading aloud program that models the correct reading of a passage to students. Modelling correct reading is one of the principles of best practice for guided oral reading.

The voice recognition technology built into Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) then provides an impersonal, judgment-free listener dedicated to listening solely to each student read aloud.

 

Track reading progress with before and after recordings

The student’s reading progress is tracked. Their initial reading ability is recorded and can then be played back to them later, so they can personally witness their own progress.

How well would a one-on-one reading coaching program work for your students – even if they could just use this as a "home reader" and you could overview their progress from anywhere at any time.

Never miss a teachable moment

Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) is the only online reading aloud tool that uses speech recognition to support and correct students as they read aloud – never missing a teachable moment. No other e-book or program provides comparable support. With the help of a supportive listener, students build reading fluency and comprehension.

 


How Reading Assistant Plus (RA+)Works

  • When a student has difficulty reading a word, Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) intervenes by pronouncing the word if the student does not self-correct. View a diagram of how Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) works.

  • After completing a passage, questions measure literal and inferential comprehension. See sample comprehension questions.

  • Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) uses the best practices of guided oral reading instruction, the gold standard for building fluency.

 

 

 

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Talk to a Specialist


What Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) Does

Reading Assistant Plus (RA+):

  • Builds better readers: students improve reading level 50% beyond expected gains.

  • Saves you time: it automatically assesses and tracks words correct per minute (WCPM) and reading comprehension for teachers!

  • Provides an unbiased listener to every student: even hard-to-engage students will practice reading aloud, always without judgment.

  • Dramatically improves reading fluency, the critical bridge to comprehension.

What is Reading Fluency?

Fluent readers can read words in text accurately and effortlessly, and with appropriate expression. Reading fluency is the key to comprehension, according to literacy scholars, such as Dr Timothy Rasinsky, a recognised reading fluency expert.  

In his paper, Supportive Fluency Instruction: The Key to Reading Success, Dr Rasinsky details a three step process to develop fluency in students:

  1. Good reading fluency is modelled for the student.
  2. Students get reading assistance - they read aloud to a proficient reader who listens and gives feedback.
  3. Students read a text several times with feedback until their fluency improves.

 

How does Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) teach fluency?

Reading fluency is the ability to decode words easily and accurately, recognise words with automaticity, and read aloud text with prosody. Instead of reading word by word, fluent readers focus their attention on the meaning and the message of the text. Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) builds fluency by providing the following:

  • Models: Each selection contains a fluent audio model.
  • Pronunciation support: The program intervenes with pronunciation if the student needs it.

  • Oral practice: Students read aloud each passage a minimum of two times.

  • Review: The program highlights words the student mispronounces during each oral reading.

  • Feedback: The program reports words correct per minute (WCPM), the standard measure of reading fluency.

         How does Reading Assistant Plus (RA+)teach comprehension?

Multiple Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) features support the development of reading comprehension:

Think About It prompts and questions support students’ larger understanding and appreciation of what they read. They direct students’ attention to meaning, message, and vocabulary in the course of reading with reading strategies such as these: using prior knowledge, identifying a purpose, predicting, making connections, visualising, monitoring and clarifying, retelling, summarising, using context clues for meaning, and asking questions.

Quizzes after each selection that assess mastery of comprehension skills such as inferences; sequence; story events; theme; character traits; figurative language; important information; compare and contrast; author’s point of view; fact and opinion; diagrams, charts, graphs; cause and effect; and main idea.

Quiz questions that assess four levels of knowledge: literal, inferential, evaluative, and analytical.

How does Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) support vocabulary?

Increased print exposure has a direct relation to developing students’ vocabulary knowledge, because written text presents more words than readers can learn through oral language. The added reading practice that students get with Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) contributes to a student’s overall print exposure and vocabulary knowledge in a number of ways:
  • Audible syllabification
  • A Glossary feature that removes the barrier of unfamiliar words by enabling readers to click on underlined words to hear the pronunciation and dictionary at the moment the word is encountered in a passage. This approach has been shown to be one of the best ways of anchoring new vocabulary words in a student’s memory.
  • A Did You Know? feature that includes word background, Latin and Greek roots, other meanings or uses of words, cognates from Spanish and other languages, and fun facts to deepen vocabulary acquisition.
  • Passages from both informational text and literature that expose students to a broad range of vocabulary words at every reading level.
  • Picture representations for most words.
  • Spanish word translations.

Talk to a Specialist

 

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Easy to use at your School

Students put on a microphone headset, log on to a website, and start reading.

Step 1: Students listen to a modeled reading and are asked guided reading questions
to stimulate their thinking about the text.

Step 2: Students read the selection aloud and record themselves.

Step 3: A comprehension quiz checks for inferential and literal understanding.

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How to Implement Reading Assistant Plus (RA+)

Implement Reading Assistant Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) in whatever instructional scenario fits your needs: for individual students, for small groups, or in a lab setting. Students get the full benefit of the program’s support and intervention, regardless of the setting.

  • Have an individual student who is struggling or who has specific skill deficiencies work with Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) on a classroom computer or iPad while you provide instruction to the rest of the class. A student could also use Reading Assistant before or after school on a computer or iPad in the library or at home.

  • Allow small groups of students to work with Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) on a rotating basis on classroom computers or iPads while you meet with individual students or monitor other classroom activities.

  • Use for whole class instruction with an interactive whiteboard to introduce passages, modeled fluent reading and academic vocabulary.

  • Have all students work with Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) at the same time in a computer lab. Everyone will benefit from the one-on-one individualised support of the program even though each student may be reading a different selection.

No matter how you implement the program, the recommended schedules are as follows:

  • Grades K–3: a minimum of 20 minutes, 3 times per week
  • Grades 4–5: a minimum of 30 minutes, 3 times per week
  • Grades 5-12: a minimum of 40 minutes, 3 times per week

 

What do students read?

Selections from over 300 reading passages at a range of reading levels from grades 1-12.

Non-fiction and fictional texts across genres:Reading_Assistant_books.268.244

  • Expository nonfiction
  • Realistic and historical fiction
  • Science fiction
  • Poetry
  • Folktale, myth, legend
  • Biography
  • Point-counterpoint
  • Personal Narrative
  • Etc.

Headset Requirements

Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) requires a headset and USB audio adapter, or a headset with an integrated USB connection.  An approved USB adapter or USB connection is needed to ensure the level of audio quality required by Reading Assistant.  See the recommended headsets.

Teacher Tools

Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) comes with a Teacher’s Guide, complete with lessons for each of the reading selections to reinforce vocabulary and other concepts in small groups or the whole class. See some sample lessons.

Reading Portfolio

Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) automatically saves student recordings to create a “reading portfolio” that tracks growth through the school year. You can email recordings to parents to show their child’s work!


Reading Assistant Reporting You Can Use

The Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) program's reporting features help educators continuously monitor student progress, customise instruction and motivate students

The MySciLEARN platform for Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) provides implementation and performance reporting at the school and student level to support and improve data-driven decision making. Graphical depictions show usage, performance, reading level trends, and student proficiency levels.

Classroom Results Report

Get automatic word count per minute (WCPM), reading and comprehension scores for all your students in this classroom results report.

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Running Reports

These student reports act as running records, showing you which words each student struggled on, their WCPM, and other valuable info.

running_report

 

Comprehension Reports

Learn your students’ reading comprehension strengths/weaknesses with these comprehension reports: do students need help with literal recall or inference? Comparing and contrasting?

comprehension_report

 

Monitoring large groups

See how well they’re progressing as a group, and who needs help in these school level reports.

Monitoring_large_groups


Talk to a specialist 

Complete the form to talk to a specialist about Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) in your school. Or call:

Australia: 1300 203 104
New Zealand: 0800 451 959
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What others are saying about Reading Assistant Plus (RA+)

Listen to Dr Martha Burns talk on Reading Assistant Plus (RA+)

 

Listen to a New South Wales School Teacher speak on her experience with Reading Assistant Plus (RA+)

 


Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) Results

After Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) use, students improve reading level 50% beyond expected gains

Number of Students: 2,148 students
Number of Schools: 136 schools
Grade Levels: 1st-12th grade

The study participants began the school year with an average grade level of 4.5. After using Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) Expanded Edition software, the students made statistically significant gains in their normal curve equivalent scores on RPI (t(2147) = 28.1; p < 0.01). The group average improved from the 22nd percentile to the 37th percentile, and from a reading level of 3.4 to 4.3.

View Educator's Briefing (86 Kb PDF)

One-half Year Increase in Reading After a One-month Summer Program Using Reading Assistant Plus (RA+)

School District: The Marion County Schools, WV
School Structure: Rural
Grade Level: 5th Grade

After one month of Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) use, these students made significant gains on the SRI. On average, their Lexile scores improved by 68 points. Average students at the 4th to 5th grade level typically gain between 100 and 120 Lexile points in a year. In this one month summer program, participants gained more than half a year in reading comprehension, on average.

View Educator's Briefing (51 Kb PDF)

Students jump from 21st to 30th percentile in reading after summer school with Reading Assistant Plus (RA+)

School District: Wayne County Public Schools, NC
School Structure: Urban
Grade Level: 1st - 8th Grade

In a one month period, students made three months of reading gain, and moved from the "struggling" level to the "emerging" level on Reading Progress Indicator.

View Educator's Briefing (51 Kb PDF)

Students Show Reading Fluency Gains After Guided Reading Practice with Reading Assistant Plus (RA+)

School District: Framingham Public Schools, MA
School Structure: Suburban
Grade Level: 2nd - 5th Grade

On average, students who used the Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) made significantly greater gains in words correct per minute (WCPM) than students who received their standard reading curriculum alone. In addition, the Reading Assistant group exceeded expectations for fluency gains based on Edformation’s normative data. The advantage for the Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) group was consistent across the four grade levels.

View Educator's Briefing (53 Kb PDF)

High school students in Kentucky improve ACT Reading scores after Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) use

Number of Students: 61 students
Grade Levels: 9th, 10th, & 12th grades

At the beginning of this study, the students’ average reading score was 12.3. After Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) use, the group average increased to 18.3, for their best-effort tests. Of the 61 students, 54 (89%) improved their score, and 20 (33%) met or exceeded the ACT benchmark score of 21 points.

View Educator's Briefing (87 Kb PDF)

84% of West Jefferson Hills Students Increase Reading Proficiency Level after Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) Participation

School District: West Jefferson Hills School District, PA
School Structure: Suburban
Grade Level: Middle School

Prior to using the products, all 31 students were performing at either the Below Basic or Basic level with none of the students in the Proficient or Advanced level. However, after product use, 84% of students moved up one or more levels. Of the 31 students, 21 reached either Proficient or Advanced. On average, this group of students also showed statistically significant gains in their scaled scores, improving from 1128 to 1328.

View Educator's Briefing (54 Kb PDF)

Dallas Students Move from 15th to 31st Percentile in Reading Fluency

School District: Dallas Independent School District, TX
School Structure: Urban
Grade Level: Secondary

Prior to product use, the study group was slightly below the average range. Six weeks later, after using a combination of Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) and Fast ForWord products, the group had risen well into the average range. The students’ improvements were statistically significant, with comparable gains across the measures of sight word reading and decoding skills. Average word reading fluency scores for the group moved from a standard score of 84.7 to 92.6 which corresponds to moving from the 15th to the 31st percentile.

View Educator's Briefing (55 Kb PDF)

Bridges Academy Students Exceed Expected Gains in Reading Skills

School: Bridges Academy, FL
School Structure: Suburban
Grade Level: 2nd - 10th Grade

Seventeen study participants took the Word Identification, Word Attack, and Passage Comprehension subtests of the WRMT-R before and after a period of using Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant Plus (RA+) products. On average, they showed significant improvements in reading skills, with similar gains across all three subtests. In an average of three months, the students improved their grade equivalent scores by an average of one year and three months on the Basic Skills Composite, which combines the Word Identification and Word Attack subtests.

View Educator's Briefing (125 Kb PDF)