RAP- Reading Acceleration Program
The Reading Acceleration Program (RAP) is a comprehensive web-based multi-session intervention program to improve reading fluency and reading comprehension in individuals of all ages struggling with reading. It is accessible online, in multiple languages and script systems, with full support provided by the Center.
The principle underlying the RAP is that reading speed, if enhanced, does not detract from, and indeed improves, text comprehension. The RAP program enhances reading speed by using a perceptual learning protocol that incorporates increasingly demanding text masking.
The program is implemented in Israeli schools through teacher training programs. After completing their training these teachers and reading literacy specialists are joining a growing number of educators who use the RAP as a platform to help students with reading impairments. Over the past year, 130 teachers participated in six teacher-training programs in Hebrew and Arabic, reaching over 5,200 students.
RAP is used by thousands of teachers and reading literacy specialists around the world.
Upgrading the RAP
We are in the process of developing a new platform for the RAP. The current platform was originally developed and implemented based on extensive research at the University of Haifa Edmond J. Safra Center by its founder, the late Prof. Zvia Breznitz, and co-founder and current member Prof. Avi Karni.
At the core of the RAP platform upgrading is a transition to current (up-to-date) web and computing protocols, using PHP on the server side and HTML5 and CSS3 on the user (students and teacher/tutors) side. Work is also under way to develop a new database, maintaining and integrating the older version, using MySQL. In addition, in the new RAP platform the protocols will be upgraded to allow for a user-friendly, efficient application, so that tutors/teachers can instruct, follow the progress of, and supervise and manage multiple trainees, with each trainee receiving an individually tailored, pace and ability adjusted program to advance and consolidate reading fluency. Bugs in the (old) basic training protocols are in the process of being resolved.
As of July 2020, we are in the process of setting up a pilot – validation study in 4th grade schoolchildren in Hebrew, with the active participation of their teachers. This will enable us to test the new version of the updated RAP protocol that now runs on the new web platforms (on which work was completed before the Covid-19 outbreak). We have also implemented and are set to validate a basic set of computerized reading and cognitive assessment tools that are forerunners of a wider range of assessment tools that we envision as integral add-ons of the future RAP intervention programs (to be available to teachers and researchers). Work is progressing on the design of the new databases. After the validation phase, work will start on implementing the Arabic version of the RAP on the new platform (Amir Yair, Software Engineer & System Manager; Avi Karni, Project Director).
Figure: RAP screen display. (a-c) A target sentence (in Hebrew) at various phases of masking. (d) A comprehension question and choice of answers. English translations are presented in the boxed areas.