Recently, Renee Seward, the inventor, innovator and founder of See Word Reading met with a team of five coordinators from the Cincinnati YMCA After School Programs that participate in the 21st Century Grants. Program coordinator Kaila Jacobs of the YMCA set up the meeting to help train the team of coordinators in using the See Word Reading app.
We met the team in the beautifully restored YMCA Central branch in OTR at 1105 Elm Street. The educators from the YMCA associated schools that will pilot the program included representatives from the YMCA Central branch, the SCPA, Chase and Pleasant Ridge.
The Inspiration Behind See Word Reading
For background, the See Word Reading App is a personalized, fun and effective platform to help build literacy skills in preschool through first grade students. Renee was inspired by a friend’s son who struggled with reading and said it was the “layouts” that were challenging to him. The concern for her friend’s son and motivated by the alarming statistics that link inability to read by third grade with likelihood of not graduating and future jail time, Renee decided that this was a problem where she could make a difference. By applying design principles associated with building brands and partnering with educators, she created the engaging See Word Reading tool that helps early learning educators build foundational reading skills.
Early results show improved spelling, phonological awareness, word identification, writing, spelling and fluency. But more studies are needed and product refinements for commercialization as well.
Now with TVSF Third Frontier funding, Renee and her team are providing a free 9 month trial to programs/schools to gather more test data and refine the product.
The See Word Reading Demo
The app consists of four levels and Renee kicked off our meeting with a demonstration of the student application. The character Billy helps students learn interactively by tracing letters and providing feedback on letter sound correspondence.
Renee also demonstrated how easily the teacher’s app and student application synced the lessons out to the student apps in mere seconds.
The team of educators were very interested in using the application in their programs, especially with possible at-risk students. The team discussed available tests for providing pre- and post-assessments such as the STAR assessment.
The availability of iPads at the various school locations was also discussed.
The YMCA program managers will be providing dates when they would like their applications delivered to start their nine month trials this fall!
We will continue to share this group’s progress and others as we continue on the journey.
How the Test/Beta Process Works for See Word Reading
- Participating programs/schools receive a 9 month free trial of the application and an option to purchase licenses after the trial.
- Participating programs/schools will share testing outcomes and share anecdotal feedback from instructors and students.
- Team members from Renee’s team will demo/train instructors on the tool.
- After the demo, participating schools provide a date when they want to start their free trial which is currently delivered through “TestFlight” on the App store.
- Renee’s team will provide a sample summary of how one school ran their after school club.