Scholastic and SoapBox Labs, the Award-Winning Speech Recognition Technology Company, Announce New Partnership to Enhance Efficacy and Equity of Literacy Instructional Programs
Scholastic Launches Ready4Reading, a Systematic, Grounded in Science Curriculum for Phonics Instruction, as the Company’s First Voice-Enabled Product Leveraging SoapBox Technology
NEW YORK, Feb. 22, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, announced a multi-year, strategic partnership to voice enable its future reading products with SoapBox Labs‘ award-winning, AI-based speech engine, built to accurately recognize children’s voices and diagnose reading fluency and disfluencies, regardless of race, background, age or ethnicity. Ready4Reading, a new foundational skills curriculum, is Scholastic’s first reading product to leverage SoapBox technology and will be available initially to U.S. schools and districts this summer.
Grounded in evidence-based practices and structured literacy to drive equity and opportunity in learning, Ready4Reading is a supplemental print and digital K-3 phonics system that can be used flexibly in classrooms. Ready4Reading empowers young learners with the essential literacy skills they need to learn to read and read to learn. Uniting explicit and systematic foundational skills instruction with engaging and authentic reading and writing text experiences, Ready4Reading leverages a unique four-part instructional framework: Teach, Practice, Apply, Prove. The system features SoapBox’s child-specific speech technology, offering kids opportunities to solidify learning through motivating, targeted practice and feedback, while providing teachers with the skills-level reporting they want to fine tune and differentiate lessons with ease.
For more information, visit: www.scholastic.com/ready4reading
“SoapBox has developed a unique speech engine and shares the same values as Scholastic, including a deep commitment to designing equitable technology that serves all children. We both understand the challenge educators face supporting the literacy development of every child. We’re eager to unlock the power of voice in early reading instruction with the launch of SoapBox powered Ready4Reading, and many more programs to come,” said Rose Else-Mitchell, President, Scholastic Education Solutions.
SoapBox designed its [patented] technology to accurately recognize and diagnose a child’s speech regardless of race, background, age, or ethnicity. In recognition of their mission to mitigate bias across voice technology, Digital Promise and the EdTech Equity Project recently awarded SoapBox the first ever Prioritizing Racial Equity in AI Design Product Certification.
Scholastic’s voice-enabled tools powered by SoapBox benefit both teaching and learning. Young students use their voices to independently practice reading aloud while building confidence as they learn. Educators gain actionable, real-time feedback to personalize and target instructional time. Partnering with SoapBox and integrating their innovative technology is the next step in the development of Scholastic Education Solutions’ literacy platform, which brings together assessment, instructional planning, and professional learning with Scholastic’s world-renowned content and trusted learning programs, at school and at home.
“It is incredibly exciting for SoapBox to be partnering with such an iconic and respected brand as Scholastic. Scholastic and SoapBox have a shared vision of the potential of speech technology to be truly impactful, not only for improving foundational reading skills of young children in the classroom, but also to create engaging, fun and rewarding voice experiences for kids at home,” said SoapBox CEO Dr. Martyn Farrows.
For more than 100 years, Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) has been encouraging the personal and intellectual growth of all children, beginning with literacy. Having earned a reputation as a trusted partner to educators and families, Scholastic is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, a leading provider of literacy curriculum, professional services, and classroom magazines, and a producer of educational and entertaining children’s media. The Company creates and distributes bestselling books and e-books, print and technology-based learning programs for pre-K to grade 12, and other products and services that support children’s learning and literacy, both in school and at home. With 15 international operations and exports to 165 countries, Scholastic makes quality, affordable books available to all children around the world through school-based book clubs and book fairs, classroom libraries, school and public libraries, retail, and online. Learn more at www.scholastic.com.
About SoapBox Labs:
Since 2013, SoapBox Labs has been building speech recognition technology that caters to the idiosyncrasies and unique speech patterns of children. In the education space, our award winning voice engine powers preK-12 digital screening, practice, intervention and assessment tools for literacy, math, language learning and more. By the end of 2022, SoapBox had powered over 70 million learning moments (individual pieces of student feedback) through our global education publisher partners.
The SoapBox voice engine is proprietary and has been built from the ground up to power immersive and unbiased digital experiences for children ages 2 to 12 of every accent, dialect and stage of development. SoapBox is a privacy-first and equity-by-design company. In October 2022, SoapBox became the first AI company to be certified for Prioritizing Racial Equity in AI Design by Digital Promise. Learn more at www.SoapBoxLabs.com.
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SOURCE Scholastic Inc