Reading Companion is not a phonetic reading program; it is IBM's Web-based literacy program. The goal of the program is to provide essential skills in English. Phonics teaches the relationship between the individual letters, or graphemes, and the sounds, or phonemes. Reading Companion does not offer this instruction.
Reading Companion uses speech recognition to improve literacy in young children ages 5 to 7 and in adults. The reader uses headphones to listen to an interactive story. The reading "companion" pauses so that the reader can repeat phrases. The reader receives either positive reinforcement or the instruction to repeat the phrase after additional modeling. As the reader improves in accuracy, the companion's reading lessens.
Reading Companion software is available to public and non-profit schools that have been awarded access through a grant.