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About Us

How it works

Users log on to the English Made Easy web site and are presented with material to read. An on-screen mentor, or companion, "reads" a phrase to the user and then provides an opportunity for the user to read the material, using a headset microphone. (Depending on the accuracy of what was read, the companion provides positive reinforcement (e.g., "You sound great!"), gives the user an opportunity to try again, or offers the correct reading of the words on the screen. As the users skill improves, the technology reads less material so that the learner reads more.

Since the English Made Easy software is available through the Web, students can access it anytime and anywhere. Once students sign in with their own ID and password, the software resumes where the student left off reading and continues to update the students reading results.

The English Made Easy software is designed to supplement, not replace, existing literacy curriculum in the school setting or within an adult literacy program. Teachers can choose the right books for individual students to read by checking books out of English Made Easys virtual library. To help them in their selection, teachers can read book reviews. The software also has a student evaluation feature that allows teachers to view the individual progress of a student and helps teachers make assessments and recommendations for the learner.

Evaluation

Independent evaluations of the technology demonstrate that children who use the software tested significantly higher on word recognition and comprehension tasks. For adults, the software not only improved reading skills but also helped improve their English pronunciation; it also provided adults with an opportunity to learn in a new way by combining visual and auditory methods.

Technical information

English Made Easy simply requires:

  • Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Linux Ubuntu 8.04, 9.04, or 10.04
  • A high-speed Internet connection (DSL or higher)
  • Audio capabilities
  • Access to the Internet via Internet Explorer (version 6 or higher)
  • Headset microphones

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If you want to edit this bookshelf (add or remove books), use this link:


If you want to share this bookshelf with others so they can read the books, please use this link:


Click HERE to return to the library.

You can also access the read only version of the bookshelf from the main page using the Bookshelf Creator and the Bookshelf Name.



Contact Info

Email: jakkitrihey@workforcedevelopmentinc.org
Phone (toll-free): 866-396-9594 (ext. 2701)

About English Made Easy

What is English Made Easy?

English Made Easy is a web-based literacy program that uses novel speech-recognition technology to help adults and children gain and increase literacy skills. English Made Easy's innovative software "listens" and provides feedback, enabling emerging readers to practice reading and pronunciation as they acquire fundamental reading skills.

What books are used in English Made Easy

The list of all books used can be downloaded here.

How does English Made Easy work?

Basically, users log on to the English Made Easy web site and are presented with material to read. An on-screen tutor "reads" a phrase to the user and then "listens" to the user read the material through a headset microphone. Based on what was heard, the companion either provides positive reinforcement (e.g., "You sound great!") or an opportunity for the user to try reading a word again. As the user's skill improves, the technology reads less material so that the learner reads more.

What is the goal of English Made Easy?

The goal of English Made Easy is to help children and adults around the nation and the world gain essential literacy skills in English.

Does English Made Easy replace the need for a teacher?

The English Made Easy web-based literacy program is designed to supplement, not replace, existing literacy curriculum - whether the curriculum is in a school setting or within an adult literacy program.

What is the best way to use English Made Easy with my students?

English Made Easy is designed to complement any reading program or approach and can be implemented in a variety of ways. It can be effective in classrooms that have a few computers as well as in labs or situations where every student has access to a computer simultaneously. English Made Easy is a valuable tool for students working individually or with the class divided into groups. When students work individually, they can be reading specific e-books assigned by the teacher to practice skills they have not yet mastered or to attempt new vocabulary and skills with feedback, for those who may be progressing faster than the rest of the class. Since students are receiving feedback from the online tutor, they can practice independently while the teacher works with the rest of the class. It is also possible for the teacher to monitor students and immediately provide assistance. Teachers may choose to rotate students on English Made Easy during free reading time or independent work times.
In addition, a teacher can divide the class to focus on specific needs. (This format may be based on reading and/or language levels.) While one group uses English Made Easy for reading practice, another group can work with the teacher on comprehension skills. Later, the groups switch so each receives teaching time in a small group as well as reading practice using English Made Easy.

What types of material do users read using English Made Easy?

Currently, there are a total of 519 e-books available. Many e-books (like the Vocabulary Collection of 72 e-books, the Narrative Collection of 99 e-books and the British Council Collection of 19 e-books) can be used by both children and adults. There are 191 e-books designed specifically for children, as well as e-books on topics ranging from job search and employment, driving, U.S. citizenship, housing, financial issues, and other topics relevant to the lives of adult learners.

Are reading levels assigned to e-books?

A Flesch Reading Ease score is assigned to each e-book. Flesch Reading Ease measures how easy or difficult a text is to read.
The Flesch Reading Ease Scale measures readability as follows:
100: Very easy to read. The average sentence length is 12 words or fewer, with no words of more than two syllables.
65: Plain English. The average sentence length is 15 to 20 words long and the average word has two syllables.
30: Harder to read. Sentences will have around 25 words and most of them will have two syllables.
0: Very hard to read. The average sentence is 27 words long and the average word will have more than two syllables.
The higher the rating, the easier the text is to understand.
English Made Easy e-books have not been correlated with GE, Student Performance Level (SPL) or readability levels.

Are the e-books designed to help students master specific content as well?

E-books can be fun, interesting and meaningful to encourage students to practice reading. For example, K-2 readers may particularly enjoy the "Blue" series. E-books can also focus on specific content and complement the curriculum for science, social studies, etc. Currently, English Made Easy includes e-books for adults that closely match core topics of interest such as finance, applying for work or job-related vocabulary. In such cases, the English Made Easy e-books are a valuable resource for reviewing and reinforcing particular words and/or concepts.

Does a teacher have to be using a phonics-based teaching approach to use English Made Easy?

Because English Made Easy is not designed to teach decoding skills, teachers using both phonics-based and whole language approaches to learning will be able to use the software within their curriculum. English Made Easy is designed to give students the opportunity to practice spoken English using interesting, relevant content while receiving immediate feedback.

How are the e-books sequenced?

Some books are designed to be read in numeric order and their titles indicate that order. For example, the Shy books for children are numbered 1 through 3; the Apply for Work books for adults are numbered 1 through 6. E-books without a numeric title can be read in any order.

Can anyone access and use English Made Easy at home?

Yes.

How does English Made Easy respond to readers who have heavy accents?

Overall, English Made Easy does relatively well with readers who have heavy accents. There are occasional problems with the voice recognition software not capturing the spoken words correctly, but our development team continues to make improvements to the speech engine to reduce these instances.

Hardware Requirements

What do I need to run this software?
English Made Easy simply requires:
• A computer running Windows, MacOs or Linux
• A high-speed Internet connection (DSL or higher)
• Audio capabilities
• Headset microphones
• A web broswer (Internet explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari)
• Flash Player 14 or higher. Please see Flash Player's system requirements.

Does English Made Easy run on Macintosh or Linux machines?

Yes. Please see the What do I need to run this software question.

I need headsets. What kind should I buy?

Common microphone/headset brand names include Labtec and Plantronics. WDI does not promote these brands in any way - these are simply suggestions on the type of headsets that work well with English Made Easy. Estimated cost per headset is US $12-$15.
Purchasing tips:
Look for noise-canceling microphones without a sponge cover. Also, to avoid accidental changes to the microphone set up, avoid styles with in-line controls for microphone volume or mute.


Technical Questions

The student sees "There was no audio recorded!" message regularly.

English Made Easy continually monitors the microphone settings and displays this error when only silence is repeatedly detected instead of students' speech.

As a result, the speech recognizer will not function properly. This could be caused by the microphone being unplugged, muted, or recording levels being badly adjusted. On the student's computer, please close the English Made Easy window and verify the microphone is functioning properly.

The student sees "The audio input is too loud!" message regularly.

English Made Easy continually monitors the microphone settings, and displays this error when the microphone recording levels are set too high:

As a result, the speech recognizer will not function properly. The good news is that the microphone or headset is plugged in correctly. However the microphone recording levels need to be adjusted or the headset needs to be adjusted on the head of the student. On the student's computer, please close the English Made Easy window and verify the microphone is functioning properly, and restart English Made Easy.

English Made Easy doesn't seem to be "hearing" what I am saying.

Even though English Made Easy continually monitors the microphone recording levels, it may sometimes miss a problem with the microphone settings. If you notice that correctly spoken phrases are often detected as incorrect, please verify the audio is recorded properly.

I received an error message. What should I do?

If an error occurs once, or rarely, it may be caused by internet connectivity problems. In this case just log into English Made Easy again. If the error occurs consistently or frequently, please collect the following information to report problems: 1. The date, time and timezone of when the problem occured along with the city, school/organization and the login Id for which the problem occured. This helps us find the activity in our logs that is relevant to the problem. 2. The steps you took to cause the problem to appear. Email all of the above information to: JakkiTrihey@WorkforceDevelopmentInc.org. All emails will be responded to within 2 business days. All tech support issues will result in one or more of the following responses:
• A known strategy for fixing the problem will be provided.
• You will be asked to have your IT staff assess the hardware, operating system and the network configuration.
• Our software development team will be asked to find a solution.

Microphone Troubleshooting

When I click the record button, I get a dialog box asking me to allow or deny Camera and Microphone Access.

The flash player is asking your permission to record audio from your microphone. You must allow the access for the tool to work. The same thing is true for the English Made Easy reader. If you want to permanently give the tool access to your microphone (or change your permission later): right click on the tool → settings → select the privacy tab → click on "allow" and "remember" → close

I am not hearing any audio played back to me.

  1. Check that you can hear other sounds from your computer. If you cannot, check that your speakers or headphones are plugged in and the volume is appropriate.
  2. Check that your microphone is plugged in. Microphones are typically plugged into the pink jack on the computer.
  3. Check that your microphone is not muted. Some microphones have a physical "mute" button on the cable or the microphone itself.
  4. For the following steps, you'll need to access the microphone settings in the control panel. The location of the settings depends on the operating system.
  5. Make sure that the correct microphone is set as the default device (Windows 7).
  6. Make sure that the recording levels are set sufficiently high.
  7. If the recording levels are set at maximum and the audio is still too quiet, try adjusting the "Microphone Boost" (Windows 7) option. This may not be available on all computers.

The played back audio sounds very loud or distorted.

This could be a result of the recording levels being set too high. You will need to access the microphone settings panel (see below). Try the following steps in order.
  1. Turn down (off) the Microphone boost.
  2. Turn down the recording levels.

Accessing microphone settings on Windows 7

  1. Click Start → Control Panel → Hardware and Sound → Sound. → Recording tab

    English Made Easy uses the default microphone, so make sure your microphone is selected as the default device. If not, click on the microphone and then on the "Set Default" button.
  2. Click on your microphone → Properties button & Levels tab:

    Adjust both the recording levels and the microphone boost as needed and again verify that your microphone is working.

I need technical assistance beyond the common questions covered in this FAQ. What resources are available?

Beyond the common problems and their solutions described in this FAQ. If you still need technical assistance after having read all the available documentation, please email JakkiTrihey@WorkforceDevelopmentInc.org


Having Problems?

If you're having trouble with any section of English Made Easy and can't find answers here, please Contact Us.

This site is best viewed on a mobile device or computer with at least a 1024x768 resolution. However, it is designed to scale down to mobile devices as low as 320px wide.

To change your screen resolution, right-click on your desktop (not in an application). Select Properties. Click the Settings tab. In Desktop area, drag the sliders to show more or less on screen.

PC and Mac Compatible

This program is designed to run on Windows and Macintosh.

Contact Info

Email: jakkitrihey@workforcedevelopmentinc.org
Phone (toll-free): 866-396-9594 (ext. 2701)

Technical Help

Microsoft Internet Explorer v8 or above
Macromedia Flash Player v8.0
Adobe Acrobat

Before you begin using English Made Easy you'll need to connect and test your headset microphone with your computer.

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English Made Easy Privacy Policy


Last updated: December 6, 2015

Contact us

If you feel that English Made Easy is not abiding by this privacy statement, you should first contact the Webmaster by email at JakkiTrihey@WorkforceDevelopmentInc.org, by post at 2070 College View Rd., Rochester, MN 55904, or by phone at 507-529-2701.

Information Collection and Use


Website visitors

We do not collect information from users of the English Made Easy Web site other than in the ways described below. However, if you give us personal information about yourself in your Internet correspondence with us, we will only respond to your request for information as you indicate. This information is not used for any other purpose, and will not be disclosed to a third party, unless we are required to do so by law.

The English Made Easy Web site provides members with a "Contact Us" feature. For problem resolution, this method of communications should be used by users only after the section of the website called "FAQs" has been reviewed. This method of communication also allows for certain information requests. If you use our "Contact Us" section, you will have to give us your e-mail address if you wish us to reply to you. After we reply, we will delete your e-mail address from our files within a reasonable time period.

Like most standard Web site servers, we use log files. This includes Internet protocol (IP) addresses, browser type, Internet service provider (ISP), referring/exit pages, platform type, date/time stamp, and number of clicks to analyze trends, administer the site, and track users' movement in the aggregate. IP addresses, etc. are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Users of the English Made Easy Platform; Notice to Parents

English Made Easy is a web-based literacy program that is designed to help support emerging readers. The English Made Easy software uses voice recognition technology to help new readers learn to read. English Made Easy is freely available for use by anyone around the world.

Schools and non-profit organizations that are using English Made Easy are required to get signed permission slips from the parents of all students under 18 years old. Those permission slips should explain how English Made Easy works and obtain parental consent to the collection and use of personal information from users of English Made Easy. For your convenience, such information is provided in this privacy policy (see below).

Here's how English Made Easy works: a student is asked to read aloud into a microphone from an online English Made Easy book. The audio is sent in real time over the Internet to a server where it is checked for "reading accuracy". Then the results are sent back to the student.

The audio is used for three purposes: 1) to check the reading accuracy as explained above, 2) to assist with maintaining the English Made Easy tool and performing technical diagnostics on it and 3) improving the recognition accuracy of the system. Workforce Development Inc. (WDI) does not use the audio for any other purpose. The audio is not combined with any other personal information about students. The privacy policy for English Made Easy can be found at:
http://www.readingcompanion.org/ReadingCompanion/privacyPolicy.jsp

The audio recordings cannot be made publicly available by users of the platform.

General Notice to Users and Parents


Workforce Development, Inc. does not disclose or transfer personal information, whether from a child, parent or general user, to third parties.

Access to activities on the site is not conditioned on giving out more personal information than is reasonably necessary for that activity.

Though we try to preserve user privacy, we may need to disclose personal information when required by law if we have a good-faith belief that such action is necessary to protect our interests or the interests of a third party or to comply with a current judicial proceeding, a court order or legal process served on our Web site.


Security and Not Sharing



We take precautions to keep secure the user information you give us and we will not disclose that information to anyone else for any reason, except in the case of law enforcement requests as described below. To prevent unauthorized access, maintain data accuracy, and use the information appropriately, we have put in place appropriate physical, electronic, and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect.


Tracking technology



We currently use standard tracking technology on our web site, commonly known as "cookies", to help us deliver a customized experience to users, as a placeholder for reloading settings on a particular page when you return to it and to help us determine which service and support information is appropriate to a user's machine. Our Web site will save a small temporary file on your computer only while you are visiting our site; it will be removed when you exit the English Made Easy Web site.

No personal information of any kind is gathered through the use of cookies, nor is personal information tied to the use of cookies while on our site. Our use of this technology does not mean that we automatically know any information about individual members -- we do not. However, some sites, which our site links to, may use cookies for other purposes. We have no control over the use of cookies on their sites. Again, we encourage you to be aware when you leave our site and to read the privacy statements of other sites you visit.


Links to Other Web sites



English Made Easy may contain links to other Web sites. It is important that you understand that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of those other sites. You should be aware when you move from our site to other sites and you should read those other sites' privacy statements to find out their practices concerning personally identifiable information that you give them. We try to indicate when you are moving onto a site that is not under our control. This privacy statement applies only to English Made Easy and the English Made Easy Web site.

Notification of Changes



If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on our Homepage so you are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

If we were to start collecting or using personal information from children in any new manner we would obtain verifiable parental consent prior to any use of that information. Verifiable consent is obtained through offline methods such as through a signed permission slip to make sure we are getting consent from the parent.

Contact us



The English Made Easy Web site is hosted by Workforce Development Inc. Any inquiries about security, access, and use of information by the hosting entity should be addressed to the Webmaster at the address shown below.

If you have any questions about our Privacy Policy, please contact: JakkiTrihey@WorkforceDevelopmentInc.org, by post at 2070 College View Rd., Rochester, MN 55904, or by phone at 507-529-2701.

If for some reason you need to, and you wish to remove any personal data provided to us, contact: by email at JakkiTrihey@WorkforceDevelopmentInc.org or by post at 2070 College View Rd., Rochester, MN 55904.