How Does Stretch Transform Reading into Speed Reading?
Stretch presents a wide variety of methods and features that are well known to be successful in the improvement of reading speed and comprehension. Combined with an extensive range of source texts and a wide range of standards, Stretch offers a treasure-trove of forty trillion exercises from which, reading activities can be randomly selected.
Examples of such well-known methods and exercises and conditions are:
- Flash-cards and sight-reading which, are known to increase comprehension (Tan & Nicholson, 1997), and non-skimming reading speed (Ehri & Roberts, 1979). See also Monroe & Staunton (2000) and Henning & Pickett (2000).
- Total retention and the typing of complete answers, which are known to improve spelling (Cohen, 1980).
- The use of older texts to provide a wider vocabulary and grammatical range of expression because according to Eurich (1980) and Eurich & Kraetsch (1982) student vocabulary, reading rate, and comprehension are not what they used to be…
- Provision of both easy and difficult material to allow the expansion of reading skills and vocabulary (Moss, 1980).
- Provision of a wide range of reading topics to more fully support vocational and discipline-specific reading skills (Incardone, 1978). This is known to improve general knowledge topic comprehension (Latorre & Kaulen, 1985).
- A focus on increasing the size and complexity of the `Basic unit of Information Processing’ as foundation for faster reading (Roberts et. Al., 1996).
- Alternative methods such as one similar to the `Gliding Text’ known to assist gaze problems (Krischer et. Al., 1994).
- A lack of pictorial prompts because pictorial prompts are known to hinder the learning of sight-words (Didden et. Al., 2000).
- Provision for diverse student interests and a focus on fun and games that are known to maximise the learning process (Dorwaldt, 1989; Markstahler, 1990).
Stretch is a speed-reading program that is founded on all these tried and true methods and features of learning advanced reading skills. Additional features such as consecutively flashing word groups for memory exercise, and pre-flash shadow to assist some readers to attenuate over the correct space, etc. are covered under Cognitive Processes of Reading: Theory and Practice in the New Millennium. How far students and users “Stretch” their reading skills with this application, remains to be seen…
Cohen, A. L., et. Al., 1988, “Improving Speed and Accuracy of Word Recognition in Reading Disabled Children: An Evaluation of Two Computer Program Variations.”, Learning Disability Quarterly, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp333-341.
Didden, R., Prinsen, H., Sigafoos, J., 2000, “The Blocking Effect of Pictorial Prompts on Sight-Word Reading.”, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Vol. 33, No. 3, pp317-320.
Dorwaldt, L. E., jr., 1989, "Uglification: Understanding Multiplication Concepts.", Adult Literacy and Basic Education, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp61-70.
Ehri, L. C., Roberts, K. T., 1979, "Do Beginners Learn Printed Words Better in Contexts or in Isolation?", Child-Development, Vol. 50, No. 3, pp675-685.
Eurich, A. C., 1980, "Student Readers: The 50-Year Difference.", Change, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp13-15.
Eurich, A. C., Kraetsch, G. A., 1982, "A 50-Year Comparison of University of Minnesota Freshmen's Reading Performance.", Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 74, No. 5, pp660-665.
Henning, D., Pickett, A., 2000 “A Study of Improving Sight and Functional Vocabulary Development and Comprehension.”, M.A. Research Project, Saint Xavier University and SkyLight Professional Development, 65pp.
Incardone, P., 1978, "'Help! I Can't Read'", Vocational Education, Vol. 53, No. 9, pp51-52.
Krischer, C. C., et. Al., 1994, "Gliding Text: A New Aid to Improve the Reading Performance of Poor Readers by Subconscious Gaze Control.", Educational Research, Vol. 36, No. 3, pp271-83.
Latorre,G., Kaulen,M. A., 1985, "From 'Hard-Core' to 'Soft-Core' ESP: A Case Study.", English for Special Purposes Journal, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp101-109.
Markstahler, M., 1990, "Increasing Sight Vocabulary Skills of First Grade Students: A Three Step Approach." M.S. Practicum, Nova University, 52pp.
Monroe, J., Staunton, J., 2000, “Improving Student Reading Skills through Sight Word Instruction.”, M.A. Research Project, Saint Xavier University and SkyLight Professional Development, 46 pp.
Moss, M. J., 1980, "The Effect of a Film Aided Coaching Course on the Rate of Students' Reading of Texts of Varying Difficulty.", Journal of Research in Reading, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp11-16.
Roberts,R. D., et. Al., 1996, "The Basic Information Processing (BIP) Unit, Mental Speed and Human Cognitive Abilities: Should the BIP R.I.P.?", Intelligence, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp133-155.
Tan, A., and Nicholson, T., 1997, "Flashcards Revisited: Training Poor Readers To Read Words Faster Improves Their Comprehension of Text.", Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 89, No. 2, pp267-288.