NASA, Local School District, and a Scottsdale Firm Help Teach Fluent Reading

August 5th, 2003

The Murphy School District located in southwest Phoenix, NASA and The Literacy Company (TLC), a Scottsdale educational software firm, have jointly completed a Summer Program, using TLC's Reader's Edge software, to teach 100 elementary students "Fluent Reading" skills. Helping implement President Bush's No Child Left Behind goals to improve literacy levels (reading skills) of young children, four schools in Phoenix (Garcia, Kuban, Sullivan and Hamilton) successfully demonstrated the feasibility of using TLC's Reader's Edge software, in a computer lab environment, to teach 6th to 8th grade students fluent reading skills. The President believes that "the most basic educational skill is reading," and that reading is "the new civil right."

The summer program was based on an earlier TLC Pilot Study at the Garcia Elementary School, that successfully demonstrated the feasibility of using TLC's Reader's Edge software, in a computer lab environment, for teaching 6th to 8th grade students fluent reading skills. Documented results conclusively confirmed that children, taught by teachers using The Reader's Edge software, can greatly improve their reading speed, comprehension and recall. Based on the success of the earlier Pilot Study, TLC was commissioned to conduct a summer program of instruction for one hour/day, four times/week, for six weeks. The program was conducted in partnership with NASA's Arizona and Beyond Outreach Project (A-BEOP), and used reading selections that included NASA aerospace material.

Upon completion, each student received a NASA Certificate of Completion. Improvements in reading skills were outstanding. Students' average starting reading speed, words per minute (WPM) was 160; average comprehension was 60%. At the end of the program, average WPM scores increased 25% to 200; comprehension scores increased 40% to 85%. Individual improvement scores ranged from 25% to 300%. Next semester, TLC-trained teachers will teach Fluent Reading with The Reader's Edge at no further cost or need of TLC personnel. NASA will continue to partner with TLC and Murphy School District to provide support as needed. Fluent Reading is the preferred term that describes enhanced reading skills. Fluent Readers read faster, comprehend and recall more and most importantly, Fluent Readers get Better Grades.

TLC's Reader's Edge software teaches individuals of all ages to become fluent readers by teaching How to unlearn the habits of less efficient (slow) readers and learn the habits and skills of efficient (fluent) readers. TLC and the Murphy School District, led by Supt. Robert Donofrio, Asst. Supt. Arturo Carrizoza, Jose Diaz, Principal, Garcia Elementary School and Mary Beth Fazio, Supervisor, join in thanking Mr. William Carstens and the Northern Trust Bank for sponsoring the Pilot and summer programs. Without their support, these programs could not have been undertaken.



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