The Parlin School in Everett, MA introduced Scientific Learning’s Reading Assistant program in December 2008, and has praised the program’s impact on the second graders who participated.
Second grade teachers at the school explain that through the program’s three 20-minute sessions per week, they have seen “a marked improvement in vocabulary, fluency, and in particular, an individual focus that can be a problem for many 7 and 8 year old students.”
The program assigns 10-15 stories in an appropriate anthology, and these selections target vocabulary and comprehension while offering students an individual experience. Each student is provided with a headset/microphone that records and plays back their reading, which allows students to hear and correct their own mistakes.
Teachers also found that the program eliminates common problems in traditional classroom settings, such as self-consciousness about reading in front of a large group and the fear over making mistakes in front of a teacher. They found the program to have a positive effect on oral reading skills, and appreciated Reading Assistant’s quiz feature that can target children who have phonetic and decoding skills but who might lack comprehension skills.
Students who have used the program are “more enthusiastic about reading in small groups or aloud to the class,” and teachers have noticed that “interest has extended beyond the computer lab.” The program offers quality assessment and monitoring materials for teachers, and some teachers recommended extending it to second graders citywide.