[Technology 1002] Reading Companion

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David J. Rosen djrosen at comcast.net
Sun May 13 07:28:35 EDT 2007


Colleagues,

I wonder if you have used IBM's Reading Companion software. On the
Reading Companion web site it is described as a "web-based literacy
grant initiative that uses voice recognition technology to help
children and adults learn how to read." It is available free to
(selected) agencies that offer adult literacy services.

Here's a description from the web site:

"Developed by IBM researchers working in partnership with schools and
not-for-profit organizations, Reading Companion is an effective and
easy-to-use technology that assists individuals as they learn to
read. This innovative software 'listens' and provides feedback,
enabling emerging readers to practice reading and their English
pronunciation as they acquire fundamental reading skills.

How it works

Users log on to the Reading Companion web site and are presented with
material to read. An on-screen mentor, or companion, "reads" a phrase
to the user and then provides an opportunity for the user to read the
material, using a headset microphone. (Depending on the accuracy of
what was read, the companion provides positive reinforcement (e.g.,
"You sound great!"), gives the user an opportunity to try again, or
offers the correct reading of the words on the screen. As the user's
skill improves, the technology reads less material so that the
learner reads more."

http://www.readingcompanion.org/aboutUs.html

If you have used this software, have your students found it helpful?
Have you found it effective? Is it helpful for literacy level ESOL
students, and with beginning new readers?

David J. Rosen
djrosen at comcast.net