Software company partners with University of Iowa to conduct reading study

Study is being funded by a grant for $493,139

Published: March 6 2014 | 12:51 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:14 am in

Innovative Software Engineering will now be partnering with the University of Iowa and Foundations in Learning to study reading, a subject that officials say may not be being taught in the best possible way.

ISE will work alongside the two groups to work on the study conducted by the UI. The company will provide software development, which will be implemented on computers for children to perform a variety a reading techniques.

The UI is currently conducting their second study looking into reading to see how learning to read can be enhanced by having students learn reading skills in a variety of ways. The study will be performed on first graders in the West Des Moines school district.

Eliot Hazeltine, a UI associate psychology professor who works with the study, said the first round of the study showed surprising evidence of the effect of students using a multitude of reading strategies.

“Adding variability to the word list had such a dramatic impact,” Hazeltine said. “We were expecting something much more subtle. We thought it would only help some groups of kids in some conditions.”

The second study, which will take roughly three years to collect data and another year or two to analyze, will be focusing more on the specifics involved with reading changes, The study is being funded by a grant for $493,139.

John Sims, executive Vice President at Foundations in Learning, said the key to learning how to read well is similar to other activities you would practice: switch up your routine.

“Mostly in education today it’s very rote practice, it’s just the same thing over and over again,” Sims said. “Variation is more effective than shooting free throws over and over again.”

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