The Research Behind our Tools
Our products were developed from Dr. James M. Royer’s research on reading comprehension and reading difficulties. In the late 1970s Royer developed a technique for measuring listening and Reading Comprehension and for the next 10 years researched various aspects of the comprehension process.
In the late 1980s he turned his attention to why some students had difficulty in comprehending what they read. It soon became apparent that there were several reasons for comprehension failure and Royer turned his attention to developing computer-based procedures for identifying those reasons.
His research on reading diagnostics led to an interest in trying to remediate the reading difficulties he was identifying in the students he was working with. This interest led to the founding of the Laboratory for the Assessment and Training of Academic Skills (LATAS) in 1985, which was located in the Department of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. LATAS worked with a referred population of students who were having difficulty acquiring reading and math skills.
In the early 1990s Royer teamed up with Dr. Jeremy Wise whose technical skills in computer programming and instrument design far exceeded his own. This partnership has resulted to the software products offered on this web site.
For a full listing of Dr. Royer’s research activity see Royer-VITA.doc.
Research On Reading Comprehension
Dr. Royer’s early research focused on the development, validation, and uses for a new technique of measuring reading and listening comprehension. The technique is called the Sentence Verification Technique (SVT) and has been used in well over a hundred research studies (the majority by researchers other than Royer) examining reading and listening comprehension. Google Sentence Verification Technique for an indication of the range of usage for the technique. The SVT technique is used in our software to measure listening and reading comprehension. An article summarizing uses for the technique is listed below.
Research On Reading Comprehension Difficulties
A major thrust of Royer’s research was an attempt to identify the reasons why readers had difficulty with reading comprehension. This research resulted in the development of computer-based procedures that identified a variety of cognitive difficulties that inhibited reading comprehension. These computer-based procedures provide the foundation of the Assessment tools contained in the Reading Success Lab software.
Research On Remediating Reading Difficulties
Royer’s research on the causes of reading comprehension difficulties led to a desire to try and “fix” the problems that blocked the development of skilled reading. This desire resulted in Royer starting a clinic at the University of Massachusetts that provided services to children and adults with learning difficulties. The clients served by the clinic were referred by a range of educational professionals and quite often included individuals who had had a lot of phonics based reading interventions and those interventions had failed to make students better readers. Over time he developed interventions that proved to be successful with all students (dyslexic and poor readers). These intervention procedures provide the foundation for the Skill Builder interventions contained in the Reading Success Lab software. A sample publication resulting from this research is listed below.