Literacy Improvement Software for Urban Learners

Reading RACES (Relevant and Culturally Engaging Stories) is an educational software for improving the literacy of elementary students.

Literacy is essential to a child's development, opens the door to a brighter future, and is vital for entering the job market. Yet, strikingly, over 45 million adults are functionally illiterate and cannot read above a fifth-grade level, with about half of all adults unable to read at an eighth-grade level. Hence there is a significant unmet need to ensure children are provided with the most state-of-the-art tools to ensure optimal literacy.

The Need

Several educational tools and software packages are available to improve literacy and reading comprehension. However, most lack pupil interaction and cannot detect errors and provide suggestions in a culturally specific manner.

The Technology

This technology, developed by inventors at The Ohio State University led by Dr. Gwendolyn Cartledge and Dr. Rajiv Ramnath, describes a voice-activated software that improves literacy in those with reading deficiencies and special needs. It uses repeated reading, culturally relevant simple stories, and an artificial intelligence-driven voice activation module to recognize errors and provide feedback on errors to the student. The inventors developed an advanced beta version of the software and have demonstrated proof of concept.

Commercial Applications

This invention can be used as an educational tool to improve at-risk students' oral reading fluency during elementary school. In addition, the tool can be used to enhance the literacy of adults.


Compared to existing tools, this interactive software not only detects literacy errors but provides feedback in a culturally appropriate manner. This prevents students from consistently practicing errors. Additionally, the software records and tracks student performance over time and sustains pupil independence by fostering self-directed learning.

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