EarlyBird Partners with SoapBox Labs for Reading Assessments

EarlyBird Education, developer of a game-based early literacy assessment, has integrated SoapBox Labs' speech recognition technology into the EarlyBird dyslexia screener to help educators assess pre-reading students' oral language skills, and in turn, identify the challenges facing struggling young students before they even start reading.

Developed and scientifically validated at Boston Children's Hospital with faculty at the Florida Center for Reading Research, EarlyBird brings together all the relevant predictors of reading in one assessment. The age-appropriate assessment, powered by voice technology, helps educators identify and support children at risk for dyslexia and other reading difficulties.

"Our mission is to change the learning trajectory of pre-readers with a proactive approach to reading support, and speech recognition enables educators to do that consistently and without bias," said Carla Small, co-founder and CEO of EarlyBird Education, in a statement. "Not only does speech recognition technology enable educators to assess oral language skills much earlier and faster, the technology intentionally draws upon a diverse set of young accents and dialects to help mitigate racial bias and subjectivity in assessment. SoapBox Labs was an obvious partner for us. They share our commitment to developing innovative edtech tools that are grounded in the science and embrace evidence-based practice."

The SoapBox voice engine is built specifically for young children's unique speech patterns. By powering its reading assessments with the SoapBox voice engine, EarlyBird provides teachers with a much more comprehensive picture of a student's reading proficiency, at a much earlier age. EarlyBird assessments are administered three times a year. A friendly robot character appears on the screen, holding out a microphone when it's the child's turn to speak. AI technology provides automatic scoring so teachers get immediate results in the dashboard.

"Speech pathologists perform high-quality assessments that include oral responses, but teachers rarely have access to tools with that level of sophistication. Unfortunately, they're missing data that would help them to identify potential reading difficulties in young children," said Martyn Farrows, CEO of SoapBox Labs, in a statement, "Our partnership with EarlyBird makes this gold-standard approach to reading assessment more readily available at scale to teachers. The implications for our youngest learners and their dedicated teachers is really exciting."

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