A History of Innovation
The Taylor family was involved in designing and producing innovative reading assessments and instructional technology to improve silent reading proficiency for over eight decades. Brothers Earl, James, and Carl Taylor started the tradition in the 1930s with pioneering research and groundbreaking inventions that have helped millions of students become more fluent readers. In the latter half of the 20th century, Earl’s son, Stanford Taylor, and later his son, Mark Taylor, carried on the tradition with ongoing developments that led to the current web-based version of silent reading assessment and interventions.
In 1933 Earl, James, and Carl Taylor developed the Metronoscope and the Opthalmograph at Educational Laboratories of Brownwood, TX. In 1935, the Taylors developed the VisaScope, a visual screening device that tested distance and nearpoint vision as well as accommodation, and the Audiometer, which tested hearing.
In 1956, the Reading Eye tabletop eye-movement camera was developed by Stanford Taylor and produced by Educational Development Laboratories (EDL) of Huntington, NY. During the same time period, the Controlled Reader and Tach-X Tachistoscope were developed by Stanford Taylor.
In the mid-1960s the Aud-X Sound/Sight device was developed by Stanford Taylor to provide synchronized aural/visual sound and sight lessons to develop word recognition, phonics capability, and listening proficiency. In 1966 the Prism Reader, an adaptation of the Guided Reader, was released. It was equipped with Risley rotary prisms and was used by vision specialists to develop competence in binocular vergence and accommodation.
In the 1970s, Stanford Taylor released the Guided Reader and Tach-Mate Tachistoscope. These 35 millimeter filmstrip devices provided scan and flash training to develop fluency in silent reading. In 1971, the Reading Eye II (previously known as the Eye-Trac) was released. This device recorded eye movements through infrared sensors and the data was then recorded onto heat-sensitive paper.
In early 1985, Stanford Taylor developed the Visagraph I system of recording eye movements through a viewer containing infrared emitters and sensors with data input to a Macintosh computer. This system was the first to automatically evaluate both reading efficiency and visual/functional proficiency through computer analysis.
In the mid-1990s, silent reading fluency development migrated to MS-DOS computer programs. Reading Plus was introduced during this time. This new system provided fluency in silent reading development, vocabulary improvement through contextual analysis, decoding practice, extensive reading, and comprehension enhancement.
In early 2003, Mark Taylor developed a web-based version of Reading Plus. The new version offered the potential for online delivery as well as LAN and WAN use options. During the same year, Visagraph III, designed by Taylor Associates, became an integral diagnostic component of the Reading Plus program.
In the summer of 2013, Reading Plus released version 4.0, a completely redesigned program developed under the direction of leading reading researchers. Reading Plus 4.0 met the lofty goal of creating an assessment and instruction that changed not only a student’s reading capacity and efficiency, but also a student’s motivation for reading. It is the first and only program to assess and address the affective domains that impact student success.