Utah Signs On for Technology-Based K-5 Reading Programs


The Utah State Board of Education has signed a five-year contract with Scientific Learning to deploy that company's Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant lines of technology-assisted reading programs.

Fast ForWord is a family of research-based, standards-aligned digital learning tools designed to develop cognitive skills to improve reading comprehension. It's targeted toward students who are characterized as struggling learners.

Reading Assistant is a line of intervention tools acquired by Scientific Learning when it purchased Soliloquy Learning earlier this year. It provides a one to one, guided oral reading program that uses speech recognition technology to improve fluency and vocabulary. With Reading Assistant, students read e-books into a computer using a headset and microphone. The software, which incorporates speech recognition, listens to the students and corrects mistakes on the part of the readers and speaks the word. It also makes records of sessions for review by teachers later, and it provides definitions for individual words when requested by the student

Through the deal, all of Utah's schools will be able to purchase Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant software with state instructional materials funds. The deal specifically includes Fast ForWord Language, Fast ForWord Language to Reading, Fast ForWord Reading Prep, Fast ForWord Reading 1-5, and Reading Assistant with Curriculum Levels 1-5.

The agreement between Scientific Learning and Utah went into effect July 1 and will remain in effect for five years. Utah currently has 508 elementary schools.

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About the author:David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at [email protected].

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at [email protected].

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidrnagel/ .