Laredo Independent School District’s twenty elementary and four middle schools have incorporated Scientific Learning's Reading Assistant software into their resource classrooms, with the goal of improving students’ reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.
Alma Rodriguez, Assistive Technology Coordinator, explains that since over 90 percent of the district’s students speak Spanish at home, the program will be useful in giving students the chance to practice English reading skills with their parents. She added that the program gives students the “feedback they need to develop fluency in English,” and the results show the program’s effectiveness—in less than a year of incorporating the program, students of all grade levels are showing significant improvements and “learning to love reading.”
The district’s four middle schools have also experienced success. Sixth grade students at Cigarroa Middle School were reading at the first and second grave level, but have now made enough progress to become “Spotlight Readers” in a program that involves middle school students reading to elementary school students.
In one of the district’s high schools, the program has been successfully used for a more specific purpose. Norma Garza, the teacher in charge of a program intended for students with behavioral issues at Martin High School, says that Reading Assistant “has helped students improve their reading skills, which has enhanced their self esteem.” She emphasized that in order to change students’ behavior, “you have to make sure that their learning challenges are being addressed.” Reading Assistant helps bring these and other students up toward their grade level in reading, building success for the district as a whole.