Our goal was to build upon Quill's platform to help students in East Palo Alto who come from non-English-speaking households. By far the most significant challenge they face in high school is reading. In the academic school year of 2014 to 2015, only 17% of students in Ravenswood School District (that of EPA) met or exceeded English standards. Low literacy rates impact students, families and communities and more often than not, the impacts are cyclic. We want to help break that cycle.

What it does

Leveraging the benefits of students reading aloud, which include enhancing fluency and increasing comprehension, Read Along gives the students the freedom to read what they want and, over time and through practice, read it well. Students can use the Chrome extension to grab text from a certain article. Then, after choosing an article in their reading list to read, the student will begin to read aloud. Simultaneously, text will be highlighted in accordance to whether or not the student read accurately or not (e.g. red for incorrect, yellow for correct). The words that were highlighted red would be sent to the Vocabulary section of the dashboard, where students are able to review words they had difficulty reading. Teachers can be integrated into the process of the student reading aloud by selecting content for students and by listening to audio playbacks of their students (an added feature for the feature).

How we built it

We made a chrome extension that would do the following:

  • scrape the article page using the diffBot API
  • replace existing site HTML with custom layout
  • Used Google Speech API for realtime voice recognition

Challenges we ran into

Dealing with poor Chrome extension documentation, accessing and manipulating the DOM, and not being extremely well-versed in Javascript were the primary challenges we ran into.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud of developing the majority of the technical aspects of our idea within 24 hours, particularly the speech to text recognition. In addition, scraping the title and text from a url.

What we learned

JQuery and Javascript are the technical sides of what we learned. More importantly, we learned more about the real issue of literacy and the ways in which we can address and effectively solve this problem.

What's next for Read Aloud

We want to include achievements and progress reports to help increase motivation, incorporate more teacher integration by including an audio recording and playback option that would allow students and teachers to monitor reading progress and areas of special attention.

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