Blank gif
Section1
An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
Search Internet@Schools
Subscribe Today!

View Current Issue
View Past Issues

Internet @ Schools

Scientific Learning Reading Assistant

By Charles G. Doe - Posted Jan 27, 2014
Bookmark and Share

Company: Scientific Learning Corp., 300 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Suite 600, Oakland, CA 94612-2040; (888) 816-0010; email: info@scilearn.com, website: scilearn.com

Price: Licenses for school on-site use require the purchase of one license for each workstation and/or site. The program is supported by a local area or wide area network hosted server. Or if web-based online use is preferred, a license is purchased for each student with site licenses available for a school site. Contact Scientific Learning for specific pricing information.

Audience: Reading Assistant is designed to be used by beginning readers, English language learners, and struggling readers who have attained basic word recognition and decoding skills and are now building their vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Thus it is intended for kindergarten through adult learners.

Format: Students use Reading Assistant on a website through a browser. The software can be located on a school or district browser or in the cloud and can be used at home. School sessions of 20 to 40 minutes at least three times a week are recommended.

System Requirements: Reading Assistant can be used with Windows or Macintosh computers but has very specific and detailed requirements including faster internet connections, lots of memory, faster operating speeds, specific headsets with microphones, and USB connections. That includes specific network bandwidth requirements. Do check with Scientific Learning Corp. customer support for specifics in your situation before purchase. In general, the faster and newer the computer, the better.

 

REPORT CARD
Overall Rating:5 Stars
Installation:A
Content/Features:A
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:A

 

Description: The basic process is for students to listen to guided reading selections read to them by computer. Selections are on the website. Then students read the selection aloud. The computer corrects any errors, giving needed instruction out loud using a quality voice on the computer. The process improves reading fluency and comprehension and supports vocabulary development.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: Installation is a matter of being sure powerful-enough technology is available to students for enough time, arranging licenses, and installing required software. Student and teacher training will be required but is fairly intuitive for experienced users. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: Reading Assistant begins with administering Scientific Learning Corp.’s Reading Progress Indicator (RPI) for placement. The RPI reading level will be used to place the student automatically at the appropriate content level, or students can be placed by reading level using some other test as well.

Reading placements are made based on guided reading level (D through Z), Grade Level Equivalent, and the Lexile Framework for Reading. Or the teacher can assign guided reading selections based on content topics and interest. Reading Assistant can be used with individuals, small groups, and entire classes, with or without whiteboards and/or computer labs.

Among many resources are a teacher’s guide complete with lessons and a “reading portfolio” automatically kept for each student throughout the school year. Check out the many other excellent resources available with this outstanding program that is research-based and validated and supports core curriculum standards. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: Reading Assistant is a complicated program, but it has lots of intuitive instructions and interfaces. Given the nature of the program and its complexity, it is relatively easy to learn to use. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: Ample support is available by phone, email, and online with info packs, online demos, videos, chats, FAQs, and more (scilearn.force.com/Support). Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation: Reading Assistant is an excellent program, and I highly recommend it for use at least in reading intervention programs if not with all students at all levels where adequate computer time is available. Highly Recommended.

Reviewer: Charles Doe (chasgd62@gmail.com) is a 39-year teacher including 10 as elementary media specialist in Hastings Area Schools in Michigan. For the past 15 years, he has written articles and reviews for Internet@Schools.


 
Blank gif