StepWare: the developer of the award-winning AceReader
Technology has an undoubted influence on how we learn and educational software programs are a great example how it can help make the learning process much faster and easier. This is particularly true for reading improvement tools. Software development companies like StepWare offer very creative solutions in this area which is why we will introduce them in this post.
StepWare was founded by Bernie Marasco in 1996 and is located in Western Colorado, USA. For almost 20 years now the company has been pursuing its main goal: to help people of all ages enhance their reading experience by improving their reading skills.
All their products, tools and techniques back on extensive research and accurate methodology. The best known product is definitely the award-winning AceReader speed reading tutor which uses patented and research-based technology with 19 years of proven track record.
The company’s philosophy is not only revealed in its scientific approach but also in the customer-oriented attitude. StepWare chose to focus its efforts on one project, embracing multiple benefits, instead of creating a wide range of different niche products. This way both children and adults can find the perfect fit for themselves. It’s also been trusted and recognized by the US Air Force Academy or Pentagon.
StepWare and Reading Improvement
StepWare uses certain techniques to arm readers with five essential habits in order to read quickly and efficiently. The first habit the program will cultivate is actually tackling a bad one: subvocalization (pronouncing words in your mind as you read). Another method is to prevent your eyes from glancing back to earlier text, thus eliminating re-reading. The program will also enable you to read more text by repositioning your eyes faster and regaining focus more effectively.
Two technologies have been implemented in product development: RSVP (Rapid Serial Visual Presentation) and TSP (Tachistoscopic Scroll Presentation). When you set RSVP mode, you read flashing words in the center of your screen, without wasting time on moving your eyes across the lines. If you choose the TSP option you will simply read in a conventional way, but at higher speeds. Both options help users to read more words at a time.
Over the last 19 years, the StepWare team has designed, developed and improved various AceReader versions from Pro and Deluxe to the current Elite edition (visit ther website). The company’s mission and goal, however, has remained the same over the years: to help all generations achieve a higher quality of living by becoming a more skillful reader.
The range of products fall into four different groups:
- personal and home use
- schools and educators
- business and executives
- a separate program for individuals with learning disabilities
Interestingly, the tutor was initially designed to only improve and assess reading skills. However, it has been made more entertaining thanks to eye and brain games, as well as vocabulary, memory, and exam preparation exercises.
During the last few years, StepWare also experimented with new partnerships to offer even more opportunities. One example is the cooperation with Wizzard Software which was aimed to add text-to-speech technology to provide a high quality voice performance.
StepWare’s software has collected over 50 awards so far. In 2006, 2007, and 2013 it was named the top winner by Technology & Learning Magazine. Best Educational Software Awards recognized their tutor a winning product for five annual BESSIE awards.
AceReader also won Practical Homeschooling Interactive Learning Awards in 2007, 2010 and 2013. Not to make the list too long, we will have to sum up saying that StepWare products have been ranked among top 10 downloads for several times, won a seal of approval to indicate company’s legitimate operation, and gained numerous reviews from famous authors, organization, and websites involved in education and eLearning.
Last but not least, the staff over at StepWare is also proud of the positive feedback and reviews it has received by its customers. Reading instructor Carolyn L. Davidson from Paradise, CA, who has 20 years of expertise in the educational field says: “I can honestly say this is a quality product that not only improves a student’s reading rate but more importantly his or her comprehension. […] This is the learning tool every teacher hopes to find—one that is both fun and educational.”
Proficiency in reading can unlock our overall learning potential. It can result in better grades at school and better performance at workplaces. Increased reading speed will also save time for other important activities in life. These valuable concepts underlie StepWare’s mission: to provide speed reading software programs that help people of all ages become better readers, thus increasing the quality of their lives.
Employees: approx. 5-10
Revenue: < $500,000
619 Main Street
Grand Junction, CO 81502 USA
Technical Support: 970-243-9390
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