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First-of-its-kind voice-powered assessment to help educators understand and accelerate the literacy development of remote learners

Text Reading Online, created by Amplify in collaboration with the childrens’ speech technology experts at SoapBox Labs, uses adaptive speech recognition technology to help educators identify and address reading challenges

BROOKLYN, New York—August 25, 2020—Amplify, a publisher of next-generation curriculum and assessment programs, today announced the release of a voice-enabled reading assessment for grades 1–6, created in collaboration with Dublin-based SoapBox Labs, which develops accuracy and privacy driven voice technology for children. Text Reading Online is the first literacy assessment of its kind to enable remote evaluation of oral reading fluency, accuracy, and comprehension—critical indicators of reading development for young readers.

“Given the realities of teaching and learning in a pandemic, educators are seeking approaches to assessing a child’s independent reading when they cannot be together in person,” said Larry Berger, chief executive officer at Amplify. “We are pleased to offer Text Reading Online as a part of the overall mCLASS literacy suite to help educators assess their students’ reading development remotely, including the accurate identification of learning loss and how best to address it, this year.”

Reading accuracy, fluency, and comprehension are important indicators of whether students are making the transition from learning to read to reading to learn. Like most early literacy assessments, however, evaluation of oral reading fluency typically requires direct in-person observation of students by trained educators. By enabling educators to understand and evaluate fluency, accuracy, and comprehension development, even in a remote setting, Text Reading Online can help educators tailor instruction and avoid reading loss during a critical developmental stage.

To perform the assessment, students read two texts aloud: the first text is at the student’s grade level, the second is adapted based on the student’s performance on the initial text. Students then answer a set of text-dependent comprehension questions to evaluate their degree of understanding. Data from the assessment, including reading rate and specific error types, provides educators with near real-time feedback, which they can use to identify areas of focus and cater lessons to each child’s needs.

Named one of Europe’s hottest startups by Wired UK in 2019, SoapBox Labs was founded by Dr. Patricia Scanlon, whose popular TEDx talk explains the ways in which technology can “transform a child’s reading journey.” In 2018, Scanlon was named to the Forbes list of Top 50 Women in Tech globally.

“This is about making educators’ lives just a little bit easier by providing them with tech-enabled tools that allow them to engage in accurate and private literacy assessment for all their students,” said SoapBox Labs CEO Dr. Patricia Scanlon. “But the implications are even more far reaching. The moment for voice tech in learning has arrived, and we view our work as essential in the development of a more inclusive, equitable education future.”

Text Reading Online will be available for free to all of Amplify’s mCLASS customers during the 2020-2021 school year. Visit the Text Reading Online page on Amplify.com to learn more.

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About Amplify
A pioneer in K–12 education since 2000, Amplify is leading the way in next-generation curriculum and assessment. Our captivating core and supplemental programs in ELA, math, and science engage all students in rigorous learning and inspire them to think deeply, creatively, and for themselves. Our formative assessment products turn data into practical instructional support to help all students build a strong foundation in early reading and math. All of our programs provide teachers with powerful tools that help them understand and respond to the needs of every student. Today, Amplify serves five million students in all 50 states. For more information, visit amplify.com.

About SoapBox Labs
SoapBox Labs develops award-winning voice technology for kids modeled on kids’ speech, language, and behaviors. Proprietary and built from the ground up, our accurate, private, and age-appropriate voice technology powers immersive play and learning experiences, including literacy and language learning tools, for children ages 2 to 12 years old. To view demos, download reports and white papers, or learn more about how our technology powers third party education and toy companies, go to www.SoapBoxLabs.com.

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