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Success Story out of the ED/IES SBIR Program: Readorium by mtelegence

Screen shot of readorium products

Project Title: Readorium: Building Comprehension for the Next Generation

Related ED/IES SBIR Awards:
2010: Phase I, $100,000; 2011: Phase II, $850,000; 2013: Phase I, $150,000

Key Information:
Small Business: mtelegence
Address: 541 Queen Anne Road, Teaneck NJ 07666
Website: https://www.readorium.com/
Video Demo: https://youtu.be/dIDZuZLLLN4
Contact: Harriet Isecke, harriet.isecke@readorium.com

Product
Readorium is a web-based intervention that supports students in grade 3 to 8 as they read nonfiction scientific texts. Readorium supplements classroom curricula and aligns with NGSS, State Science Standards, and Common Core Standards. Each of the Readorium texts have 10-12 readability levels, from simple to advanced. Because the level of the text and the supports adjust to individual needs, students at all skill levels can understand the same concepts and answer the same questions. Readorium first assigns students to the levels based on an initial intake assessment. As students read, they get hints and strategies to gain expertise from science texts. To engage students, Readorium incorporates games, humor, choice, music, challenges, and awards. Teachers receive real-time, actionable progress reports and downloadable classroom resources and activities to target instruction.

Research and Development
Readorium was iteratively designed for Android and Apple systems. The Readorium Comprehension Research Team worked with reading experts and science authors nationwide. The program used What Works Clearinghouse studies to develop evidence-based instruction. These studies include the need for direct strategy instruction in context, teaching new vocabulary in multiple contexts, and differentiating comprehension instruction through scaffolding.

Over the course of the project, researchers conducted three feasibility tests and one pilot study in over 40 classrooms in 9 socioeconomically diverse school districts in NJ and CT. All field test teachers (100%) reported that Readorium functioned and could be integrated into the classroom. All field teachers would recommend Readorium to their schools and colleagues. Eighty-one percent of students agreed that Readorium was easy to use and that they were able to get help when needed. Seventy-two percent of students would recommend Readorium to other students.

Researchers from the University of Connecticut conducted randomized study was conducted in 2012. The sample included 294 students who used Readorium over 8 weeks, and 224 students who continued with the business-as-usual curriculum. The Diagnostic Online Reading Assessment (DORA) by Let's Go Learn was used as a pre and post assessment measure. Results demonstrated no significant differences between students in the treatment and control groups—all students increased in DORA. In subgroup analyses, positive outcomes in the DORA scores correlated with the number of Readorium books that students completed. On average, the 138 students who read 10 books or more books during the 2-month pilot study gained a full year in reading comprehension on the DORA, and the more they read the greater the gain. The project team is planning additional research to test the efficacy of Readoriumin the future.

Commercialization
Readorium is an online subscription service available to consumers and educators on desktop, laptop, or tablet. It is nationally and internationally to school districts, parents, and homeschoolers. Readorium is also distributed through partnerships with A Plus Labs, Carolina Biological, Zaniac (after school programs), Brienza Academic Advantage, and Homeschool Buyers Coop. Since its introduction to the commercial market in 2014, 180 schools and more than 20,000 students have used Readorium. The renewal rate for purchasers is 86%.

Peer-Reviewed Publications from this R&D:
Education Research Quarterly, Volume 37, Issue 1 September 2013; Nonfiction Reading Comprehension in Middle School: Exploring an Interactive Approach

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