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Tylertown High Students use Brain Exercise Software to Improve Reading Levels

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 18 Nov 2010 12:20pm | comments
New technology is helping Tylertown students become better readers

Research indicates that 90 to 95% of all children can learn to read at grade level with proper intervention. MPB's Lawayne Childrey went to Tylertown High School where a new brain fitness program has students who once could barely read their assignments, now reading like champions.

“I picked up my shoes and slammed the locker …”

Just as exercising can improve physical fitness, a new scientific study shows that exercising the brain can improve reading skills .When a student can't read well, they often shy away from reading all together because they constantly make errors.

"At least I had practice to look forward to, forward to. I love basketball, I always have.”.

Wearing a pair of headphones with a built in microphone 14 year old Ashley White says she was one of those students that never volunteered to read aloud in class. Now that she has been using new computer speech recognition software, that highlights the words she mispronounces, she's getting plenty of practice reading aloud.

“Because no one’s judging me. You don’t have to worry about people teasing you about how your reading, you’re improving and no one’s there to just stare at you while you’re reading.”

What attracted Tylertown Assistant principle, Geneva Holmes to the reading assistance program was the instant feedback.

“You walk into that lab and we know immediately what grade level they’re reading on. We know where their weaknesses are. We don’t have to wait weeks or months we know immediately where they are and where we need to concentrate and help them improve.”

“In the wild an elephant can weigh in at a whopping 6.5 tons or 13 thousand pounds.”

This year alone books have allowed Jonathon Johnson to learn about everything from monsters to elephants. Even with a slight speech impediment he says the auto correction recognition software is boosting his level of confidence.

“It helps your reading and speaking and it helps you talk better. And it helps you out. Like if you wanna go in like in speaking or something, it’ll help you out earlier instead of waiting for later.”

Experts say children learn more word recognition from birth to age three. But Tylertown reading coordinator, Amelia McGee says for many African American children those facts have been overlooked for far too long.

“Where I came from, I mean my mom didn’t have a whole lot of knowledge about black people having education. So, my mom didn’t go to college, my grandmother didn’t go to college, great grandparents you know they didn’t know anything about college, what they did was work in the fields.”

In the few short months the speech recognition program has been used at Tylertown, McGee has seen walls come tumbling down that have hampered kids' learning for years.

“Last year I had students that came in and just blew it, I mean they just really did well and a lot of our students didn’t do as well because they wasn’t exposed to as much reading at home. But now as you can see I have an all star reader board up there. They’re all doing well, male and female.”

“Well I think that this type program is what our community really needs.”

7th grade reading teacher Amy Davis is a 20 year veteran in the Tylertown school district.
She along with other administrators like Assistant Principle Holmes, say they really appreciate the programs trickledown effect, especially on the statewide testing system.

“So we could see from our 7th and 8th grade students how many actually improved, moved up from basic to proficient or from minimum to basic. And we feel like they improved on the test because they were able to read and comprehend which helped them not only in the language arts but in the math as well.”

“Forward to, forward to. I love basketball, I always have it is something I have always been good at no matter what.”

Over the past year Mrs. McGee says she has seen some students go from reading 107 words correctly per minute to more than 161 . That could explain why this year a significant number of other schools around the state are joining the program. Lawayne Childrey MPB News.


New technology is helping Tylertown students become better readers



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