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How to Unlock A Reading Brain: Intervention Program Taps New Neuroscience Research to Help Struggling Readers

BOSTON Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) today announced the launch of READ 180 Universal, the next generation intervention program that utilizes leading scientific research in brain and cognitive functioning to support struggling readers and unlock their reading abilities.

Reading proficiency relies on collaboration among different regions of the brain which together control word analysis, vocalization and articulation, and word recognition and automaticity functions. Recent advances in neuroimaging have yielded increased insight into patterns and behaviors in the brains of struggling readers. These insights have allowed cognitive scientists to pinpoint areas that have the most influence over various literacy functions. READ 180 Universal uses this research, as well as advances in adaptive learning technology, to create customized instructional paths for students that focus on growth activities in the areas of the brain most in need of development.

“Over two-thirds of students in the US are reading below proficient levels and they will slip further behind without effective intervention,” said Margery Mayer, Executive Vice President, Intervention Solutions Group at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  “There have been incredible advances in neuroscience and adaptive learning technology that can enhance comprehensive reading intervention programs across the board. We must use every tool in our arsenal to help students unlock the power of their reading brains.”

READ 180 is the undisputed leader in intensive reading intervention. According to a recent report commissioned by the Institute of Education Sciences, READ 180 was the only reading intervention program that showed unequivocally positive effects on reading achievement each time it was reviewed.

Building on its effective foundation, READ 180 Universal incorporates the latest brain research to create an even stronger intervention reading platform. Updates include:

  • New software in the adaptive learning student application that integrates the latest growth mindset research to help students accelerate their reading progress;
  • New content created specifically to support different areas of the brain with clear knowledge, language and vocabulary objectives;
  • HMH Teacher Space, a redesigned learning management system for educators that enables more effective whole- and small-group instruction using real-time data.

Dr. Ted Hasselbring, Research Professor of Special Education, Vanderbilt University, said, "The ability to process words and connected text both accurately and quickly is necessary for developing the ultimate purpose of reading -- comprehension. Since the 1980s, my research team and I have been exploring how best to use emerging technologies to support struggling students s overcome foundational literacy challenges and become successful readers. The ability to build more powerful adaptive instructional routines has now allowed us to bring stronger technology and teacher support into classrooms, helping students become successful readers faster and more effectively than ever.”

READ 180 Universal is now available. To learn more, please visit:


About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (NASDAQ:HMHC) is a global learning company dedicated to changing people’s lives by fostering passionate, curious learners. As a leading provider of pre-K–12 education content, services, and cutting-edge technology solutions across a variety of media, HMH enables learning in a changing landscape. HMH is uniquely positioned to create engaging and effective educational content and experiences from early childhood to beyond the classroom.  HMH serves more than 50 million students in over 150 countries worldwide, while its award-winning children's books, novels, non-fiction, and reference titles are enjoyed by readers throughout the world. For more information, visit

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Media Contact
Jennifer Berlin
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
(617) 351-5270