The leading voice engine for children now assesses the basic pre-literacy skills of our youngest learners

SoapBox Labs is the first speech recognition engine to accurately assess a young child’s mastery of individual letter names and sounds, giving educators an unprecedented ability to personalize instruction and intervene earlier in the journey. of literacy.

DUBLIN, June 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — SoapBox Labs, the speech recognition company that provides joyful learning and play experiences for children, today launches new early literacy features that allow educators to identify and assess more easily preschool and kindergarten children’s ability to identify and pronounce letter names and sounds – also known as phonemic and phonological awareness. This technological breakthrough allows educators to understand much earlier if children are struggling with the building blocks of literacy, identify specific challenges, and intervene appropriately.

SoapBox Labs 2021 (PRNewsphoto/SoapBox Labs)

“The global literacy crisis, exacerbated recently by the pandemic, is being felt most harshly by our youngest learners. This has created a sense of urgency among our education clients and the SoapBox team, who has spent the last 6 months building and testing new voice engine features to help children from the earliest stages of their learning journey, ” said Marytn Farrows, Ph.D., CEO of SoapBox Labs. “Acoustically, it is very difficult to distinguish between these very short individual words and the sounds emitted by a young child. Achieving this breakthrough is a huge leap forward for literacy education and for curriculum and assessment businesses around the world.

A number of studies in the United States have found that since the pandemic, almost a third of children in the first grades miss their reading benchmarks. Foundational literacy skills like letter naming, phonics, and phonemic awareness are the building blocks of literacy, and a child’s level of phonemic awareness by the end of their first year in school is increasing. further considered a strong predictor of future reading success. Today, too often, however, the identification of a struggling reader occurs much later in their literacy journey. Voice-activated tools can change that by helping educators determine where intervention is needed for a child as early as preschool or kindergarten.

In today’s classrooms, assessing students’ phonemic and phonological awareness is a slow and time-consuming process. The release of new SoapBox features enables education companies to offer, for the very first time, voice-activated early literacy tools that automatically hear every phoneme – or sound – made by a child, returning precise and granular feedback to educators.

Most speech recognition systems on the market are only able to search for related sounds within a word. With these new early literacy features, SoapBox’s speech engine can now listen as a student individually pronounces each letter of a word like “treasure” to accurately assess their level of phonological awareness, allowing teachers to more easily identify individual challenges across large numbers of students and personalize their support and teaching.

“When students fail to learn to read, teaching is often to blame. Positive, impactful teaching relies on providing regular, detailed feedback to children at every stage, from learning letter sounds to words. , to phrases and phrases,” said Dr. Marie Eiselé, Vice President of Product Management at McGraw Hill. “The potential for these new voice features is huge because they give teachers – and young students – more feedback, which means more opportunities for learning and teaching support.”

Recognized by some of the world’s leading education content, curriculum and assessment companies, SoapBox Laboratories is the leading developer of voice technologies designed just for children.

The SoapBox voice engine powers voice-activated literacy, language learning, dyslexia screening and speech therapy products, providing accurate data that has been proven to be comparable to that of human raters, on a child’s literacy down to the individual phonemes spoken. Founder dr. Patricia Scanlon was named one of the top 50 women in technology in the world by Forbes and one of the best “Visionary in Voice” by Voicebot in 2020.

These new early literacy features require no custom coding or development and are standard out-of-the-box features for SoapBox API customers. The new features, available to a restricted list of SoapBox customers since January 2022are now launched on the world market.

To learn more about the role of speech recognition technology in early literacy, Email us or join our webinar on June 16 at 11:00 a.m. ET.

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