Fast Forword


Every educator knows that students benefit from extra reading practice, especially when it is combined with immediate feedback and support from a teacher. With Reading Assistant students receive individualized reading coaching every time they use the software, making the most of each instructional minute.

The online Reading Assistant program delivers:

  • Help When Students Need It: Patented technology provides real-time corrective feedback via speech recognition, enabling students to self-correct as they are reading aloud

  • Time Savings for Teachers:Automatic calculation of words correct per minute (WCPM) and immediate access to comprehension and vocabulary reports make tracking students’ progress effortless

  • Increased Student Engagement:Reading selections for a variety of interests and reading levels, plus frequent comprehension checks, keep students motivated and focused on reading for meaning

  • Anytime, Anywhere Access: The Reading Assistant program on the MySciLEARNplatform makes the software easy to implement for school or home use

Proven to Get Results

Students using the Reading Assistant program can improve their reading grade level up to 50% more than students receiving classroom instruction alone, in the same time period. Reading Assistant has been implemented in thousands of classrooms across the United States.

Unrivaled Real-Time Literacy Support

Reading Assistant is the only reading program that “listens” to students as they read out loud, intervenes when students falter, and automatically scores students’ oral reading. No other program or e-book provides comparable real-time guidance and feedback.

When a student has difficulty reading a word, Reading Assistant provides a visual cue. If the student does not self-correct, the software intervenes by pronouncing the word.


Students can see their own progress and monitor their own improvement on reading selections.


Engaging Content at a Variety of Levels

  • More than 300 leveled reading selections, including science, history, and social studies
  • A range of reading levels to allow for differentiated instruction
  • A variety of genres supporting elementary to high school curriculum, including both literature and informational text at all reading levels

The Science behind Reading Assistant™

One of the core issues with poor achievement in schools is limited reading fluency. Children should be reading with at least basic automaticity by the end of 2nd grade but studies show that a huge number of our students still are not fluent readers by the end of 4th grade.The lower the students’ fluency, the lower is their reading comprehension making it difficult for the students to read to learn in all subject areas. This becomes one of the major reasons for students to drop out from studies at an early stage.

Research over many years has affirmed the high degree of correlation between fluency and comprehension – it is closely and causally linked and the correlation is very strong.

But ironically, when we mention fluency, many people envision a stopwatch in their minds because the practice is to equate fluency to speed. Instead, we want you to think about the skill of reading fluency in a way,we at Scientific Learning have defined it

“Fluency is the ability to read with sufficient ease and accuracy that the reader can focus his or her attention on the meaning and message of the text”.

It is about getting the mechanics out of the way so you can think about what you are reading while you are reading it.

We want to take students from that laborious, mechanical process where they have to work on each and every word to the point where they can think, “Ha, that is really funny!” or “I’m not sure that I agree with that“or “That’s important to know so I’d better remember that for later.” Automaticity is the one-word explanation for that activity.

Theory of Automaticity, Samuels, 1979

  • When we become fluent at a task, we can devote our attention to other related tasks (automaticity)
  • If decoding is fluent, more focus can be placed on comprehension
  • You get better at what you practice
  • Helps not only with familiar but also with new material

In Other words,

  • Less fluent readers spend most of their time and energy in decoding the words
  • So they are unable to focus on reading with expression and understanding the Message
  • On the other hand fluent readers utilize their resources on prosody and comprehension.


In short it is about guiding the student from conscious reading to Reading with metacognition.


National Reading Panel 2000

The National Reading Panel has given us great recommendations for building fluency. Their recommendation is to get students to read more and read aloud! The panel also gave specific guidelines thatwe follow in Reading Assistant.

  • It is important that students hear what good reading sounds like. So we included modeled reading for each selection.

  • The students also have corrective feedback when they struggle with specific words and they practice reading the selections 2-3 times.

  • With this practice and the fact that the selections are grouped into thematic units, they also have repeated exposure to the same vocabulary words so they learn those words in context.

So that is what Reading Assistant is all about. Reading Assistant is the only online reading tool that uses the patented speech recognition technology to correct and support students as they read aloud, helping them build fluency and comprehension with the help of a supportive listener. No other program or e-book provides comparable real-time guidance and feedback.

Reading Assistant uses proven methods to build essential skills for improve reading comprehension. In essence, it provides a private tutor for students’ guided oral reading so teachers can get on with the business of teaching.


Students preview and read the text silently, including listening to a model reading. After answering guided reading questions, students read the text aloud and take a quiz.


Students will:

  • Preview and read silently
  • Listen to a model reading of the text
  • Record their reading
  • Answer guided reading questions

The Reading Assistant program’s reporting features help educators continuously monitor student progress, customize instruction, and motivate students.

Easy-to-Use Reports and Indicators

The MySciLEARNTM platform for Reading Assistant provides implementation and performance reporting at the district, group, and student level to support and improve data-driven decision making. Graphical depictions show usage, performance, reading level trends, and student proficiency levels.

Implementation Success Report

All versions of the Implementation Success Report, from district to student, show a high-level data summary, a usage trend graph, and a performance and reading level trend graph. The district, group and student versions of the report have additional graphs and/or tables beyond these basics.


At the top of the Implementation Success Reports is a data summary showing performance and usage indicators such as average Reading Level High Score (the highest reading level achieved balancing acceptable fluency and comprehension) and % Developing or Above (the percentage of reading selections for which WCPM is at least 75% of the established goal and for which the quiz score has been met or exceeded). On the student version of the report, this data summary may also include one or more red-flag alerts if there is a performance issue that needs to be addressed.


The Usage Trend graph plots the average number of completed selections against the average number of minutes of program use.


The Performance and Reading Level Trend graph charts the % of reading selections that are read at each performance level (proficient, developing, or emerging) against the average Reading Level High Score. The chart shown here is for an individual 6th grade student. The district version of the report shows aggregate data for all student participants in the district.

District View


Unique to the District Implementation Success Report, the Averages by School table aggregates usage and performance data at the school level, providing insight into implementation successes and challenges at individual sites.

Group View


The Group Performance view on the Group Implementation Success Report represents each student on a scatterplot graph according to their average reading level and their performance level. Proficient students are shown in green, Developing students are shown in blue, and Emerging students are shown in red. The larger the dot, the more students there are at the same point on the graph. When hovering over the dot, the viewer can see student names and details about their performance level.


The Averages by Student table shows high-level usage and performance data for individual learners. From this table, teachers can click on the microphone icon for any student to listen to audio recordings of the student reading, or click on a student name for more detailed information on student usage and performance. A red flag appearing next to a student name indicates that the student is struggling with comprehension or fluency and could benefit from intervention.

Student View


The Time Usage Per Session graph on the Student Implementation Success Report shows the exact activity in each of the different reading selection steps of Preview and Read, Read & Record, and Take the Quiz. This view yields insights into where students may need to devote more time in order to improve performance


The Achievement graph on the Student Implementation Success Report compares a student’s average quiz score and average fluency score (Words Correct Per Minute). This view helps teachers monitor reading rate and see how well a student is deriving meaning from reading selections.


The Reading Selections table shows how a student has performed overall on each reading selection. If a student has made one or more audio recordings for a selection, the microphone icon will appear at the far left of the selection name. A status indicator just next to the selection name indicates whether a selection is in progress or complete. The table also shows grade equivalent, Lexile level, Think About it (TAI) score, Words Correct Per Minute (WCPM), and Quiz Score for each selection. Teachers can click on the selection name to read the text.


Clicking through on the title of any reading selection reveals further detail including grade equivalent, Lexile®, WCPM goal, and more.

Comprehension Report


The Comprehension Report shows which types of comprehension questions students are struggling on, as well as those they have mastered. The report focuses on strategies, skills, and levels of thinking. Each of these three areas can be broken down further for more detail on the specific areas of strength and weakness.

Who should use Reading Assistant?

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. This includes students as young as first grade, all the way up to adults.
Reading Assistant has solutions designed to implement with Response to Intervention programs for all student tiers.

How does Reading Assistant 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 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.
How does Reading Assistant build fluency?

Reading fluency is the ability to decode words easily and accurately, recognize 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 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 foster Reading Comprehension?

Multiple Reading Assistant 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, visualizing, monitoring and clarifying, retelling, summarizing, 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.


Is Reading Assistant research-based?

Yes. According to the report of the National Reading Panel, “classroom practices that encourage repeated oral reading with feedback and guidance leads to meaningful improvements in reading expertise for students—for good readers as well as those who are experiencing difficulty.” With Reading Assistant, the computer becomes the supportive listener that ensures all students can regularly practice oral reading while receiving immediate, individual feedback from Scientific Learning’s advanced speech recognition software.

Is Reading Assistant research validated?

Yes. The impact of Reading Assistant on fluency growth was evaluated with mainstream students in Grades 2-5. Half of the classrooms in two schools used the software in thirty-minute sessions, once or twice a week over 17 weeks. Across all four grades, fluency gains were significantly greater for students who used the software than those who did not, averaging 43% (E.S.=0.91) greater than normative expectations over grades. Project sponsored by the Carlisle Foundation and NICHD.

What data are collected about the students’ work?

The MySciLEARNTM reporting engine includes detailed tracking of the student’s performance using Reading Assistant.
View Sample Reports

Where did the guided reading selections come from?

Many of the Reading Assistant texts were originally published in one of the Carus™family of magazines or by Lerner Publishing™. These Carus magazines include: Appleseeds™, Ladybug™, Spider™, Click!™, Cricket™, Odyssey™, Cobblestone™, Calliope™, and Faces™. Many of the guided reading selections were drawn from famous authors including Guy de Maupassant and O. Henry. Many more selections were written by great children’s authors.

How do students get placed in Reading Assistant?

The easiest placement option is to administer SLC’s Reading Progress Indicator. The RPI reading level will be used to place the student automatically at the appropriate content level.
If the school already established the student’s reading level, the teacher can use the reading level to place the student manually in the content.
Gateway provides for assignments based on Guided Reading level (D through Z) , Grade level Equivalent and the Lexile Framework for Reading®
The teacher can also assign guided reading selections to the student based on content topics/interest.

How is Reading Assistant content structured?

Reading Assistant is structured to build knowledge and reading skills simultaneously. Each content pack is designed to cover topics that are relevant to the national content standards. Each content pack contains topics at a range of levels to meet the needs of readers who are below grade level as well as on grade level

Content Pack K-3 4-5 6-8 9-12
Reading Level 1-3 1-5 2-8 3-adult

Each topic within a content pack is designed to introduce vocabulary relevant to the topic standard and allow for multiple exposures to the new vocabulary in different contexts. Guided reading selections may provide background knowledge, extend the ideas of another selection, or present the one set of ideas in multiple contexts of viewpoints. Many of the guided reading selections focus on science, social studies, or literature standards for the content pack.

For example, in Content Pack 6-8, the following guided reading selections explore a variety of relevant and important topics related to the subject of the Grand Canyon:

G4 Mid The Grand Canyon Earth Science: Geography and geology These selections present history, geology, geography, and mathematics against the backdrop of the Grand Canyon’s vastness and beauty
The Grand Canyon Expository Nonfiction Nonfiction; geology, beauty of Canyon
John Wesley Powell: American Explorer Biography Biography of J.W. Powell, 1st geologist to explore Canyon
John Powell’s Grand Canyon Journal Authentic journal excerpts from J. W. Powell
Grand Canyon Math Nonfiction Nonfiction, math: Understanding Canyon statistics
What genres are covered in Reading Assistant?

  • Predictable text
  • Realistic fiction
  • Historical fiction
  • Science fiction
  • Poetry
  • Folktale, myth, legend
  • Expository nonfiction
  • Biography
  • Play
  • Speech
  • Jokes
  • Short Story
  • Point-counterpoint
  • Personal Narrative
  • Journal; eye-witness account
Does the guided reading software support ELL students?

Reading Assistant supports the needs of English Language Learners in multiple ways, regardless of students’ first language. At the core of Reading Assistant is the speech recognition technology. It “listens” just like a teacher would. And it provides point-of-use coaching, just like a teacher would, when a student mispronounces or hesitates over a word.

Reading Assistant selections are structured to build knowledge through repeated exposure to vocabulary. Each topic builds knowledge and depth of vocabulary understanding. All selections include strong visuals that help develop mental models and English vocabulary.

To develop academic vocabulary, Reading Assistant contains more than 10,000 terms defined in depth in the Glossary. In addition, within each Glossary entry, the “Did You Know?” feature broadens word knowledge and use by providing Greek and Latin roots, other meanings and usages, fun facts, and Spanish cognates.

English Language Learners also benefit from using Reading Assistant when they carry out these actions:

  • Listen to a fluent reading model
  • View the Glossary for definitions and visual support for unfamiliar words
  • Read aloud, using advanced speech verification technology
  • Listen to their own recorded reading
  • Review mispronounced words
  • Hear word pronunciation by clicking on the word

RA Tutorial

Reading Assistant™ software combines advanced speech recognition technology with scientifically-based reading interventions to help students strengthen their reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Reading Assistant acts as a personal, interactive tutor, allowing teachers to easily provide individualized, guided oral reading practice for each student.

Students can preview vocabulary, listen to a modeled fluent reading of a passage, and read the passage orally. Reading Assistant “listens” while a student reads aloud an e-book, detects when a student falters, and allows for self-correction after providing the correct pronunciation of the word. Clickable glossary words with definitions available in English or Spanish build vocabulary, and “Think About It” questions and quizzes at the end of each selection ensure comprehension. After reading, students review problematic words they did not understand and playback their reading. Teachers receive assessment reports and can listen to audio samples of their students as if they had been sitting next to them while they read.

Levels of Reading Assistant™:

There are 4 levels in Reading Assistant™. A student is assigned to a particular level based on his/her performance in the Reading Progress Indicator (RPI) which is an online assessment tool.

reading assist