South Summit High School Principal Steve Camp eased into a seat in his office on a quiet morning, just weeks before the halls were set to again fill with students.

Over his years as an educator, Camp has seen the failures of many programs that promised to increase students' reading ability. Various reasons kept them from achieving the desired results: The programs weren't geared toward high schoolers, or they failed to connect with students of all abilities, or students flat-out didn't participate.

So it was with a smile that Camp divulged the details of Eye Q, the daily reading program South Summit is instituting this school year. The program is designed to increase the reading comprehension and speed of all students, regardless of their current abilities.

"It's been a struggle at the high school because not too many reading programs are geared towards high school-level students," Camp said. "But this particular program is geared towards whatever level the students are at. So it will take out high-end readers and help them. Your low-end readers will make progress, your mid-level will make progress and your high-end will make progress."

The online-based Eye Q program tailors itself to each student and modifies its exercises based on student development, Camp said. It comes with measurement tools so teachers and administrators can track improvement.

One important factor, Camp said, is the program starts with a baseline for each student and only measures their progress against themselves.


That means there's no pressure for students with lower abilities to compare themselves with students reading at higher levels.

"Everybody is helped in a setting like that because, innately, we all want to progress, grow and develop," Camp said. "Nobody's pointing fingers or measuring them against each other."

Another advantage of Eye Q is that it encourages participation more than traditional reading programs, even among those who wouldn't typically read during a designated time, Camp said. South Summit students will participate in the program daily during enrichment periods.

"Now there have been programs for years where a school will take 15 minutes every day to just read," Camp said. "Well, that's great and your readers will read. But your non-readers won't read -- they'll just sit there and twiddle their thumbs. This is an engagement exercise."

The program cost the school $15,000, but if all goes according to plan, students will see a return that is well worth the investment, Camp said. The hope is that by improving reading ability, students will attain better results in all academic areas. South Summit will closely monitor the relationship between student reading levels on Eye Q and their overall test scores.

"We have high expectations for it to bring results to us," said Camp, noting the program also promises to increase overall brain activity in students, though that won't be measured. "We'll keep our fingers crossed for that."

Improving reading ability fits right in with the school's ultimate goal for students. South Summit emphasizes its Career and College Readiness program, focusing on ensuring students have all the tools to succeed in college, where they will be expected to read and absorb large amounts of information.

"For us to help students, especially those going on to any kind of post-secondary education, their reading skills will benefit them tremendously and catapult them through that transition from high school to university," Camp said. "We're not just focused on the four years of high school. We're focused on the success we've prepared them for after high school.

"Getting them to college is a good thing, but we need to get them all the way through college and get them that education, so that their lives and careers are headed to where they want to be."