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Press Release: Cascade Reading Launched


Cascade Reading launches with a mission to improve reading comprehension.

Cascade is a linguistically-driven text format that aims to make reading easier for all and empower learners everywhere

Minneapolis, MN (AUGUST 22, 2023) PRNewsWire

For centuries, the printed word has been presented as a left-justified wall of text, filling up the page (just as you are reading now). This practice originated in the Middle Ages, when paper was a rare commodity and white space couldn’t be spared. In today’s world, text is increasingly presented on digital devices. Cascade Reading asks, “Why not update text formatting for the digital age, in a way that makes reading easier?”

Every day, many people struggle to read and learn English. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, more than 2/3 of the population reads at less than proficient levels, a disheartening reality even before the added challenges posed by COVID. As a society we have been struggling to teach our population how to read for decades. Much progress has been made in knowing how to successfully teach word reading, but teaching how to comprehend sentences and longer texts is a more challenging endeavor. Cascade Reading offers a new technology-driven approach to visualize grammatical relationships within a sentence so that students can more easily decode meaning.

“Our goal is to improve reading by making the text itself do more of the work,” said Julie A. Van Dyke, Ph.D., Chief Scientist at Cascade Reading. “This is an exciting time in the history of reading, because technology allows us to manipulate texts in ways that weren’t possible before. Phonics revolutionized the way we teach word reading by revealing the linguistic structure inside words. Cascade reveals the linguistic structure inside sentences, by creating a visual map of the “who did what to whom” relationships that define each sentence. This is highly innovative because now the underlying syntactic structures can be seen directly.”

Dr. Van Dyke served as a Senior Scientist at Haskins Laboratories– now the Haskins Group at Yale University Child Study Center– for over 20 years. Haskins has been at the forefront of reading research and educational neuroscience for over 50 years and is where the concept of “phonological awareness” was developed in the 1970s. Van Dyke’s research into the memory and language mechanisms that support comprehension has clarified the importance of syntax when readers process information as they read.

How it works: Cascade’s patented technology analyzes the grammatical structure of each sentence, creating a structured format– called Cascade– that visually assists the reader. Linguistic units are grouped into separate lines and related phrases are positioned relative to one another using indentation. See example below:

“Cascade Reading is reimagining reading for the digital age. Natural language processing supports our patented approach to make even complicated sentences much easier to read,” said Michael Gorman, co-founder of Cascade Reading. “We now have the ability to assist the reader’s understanding by providing a visual map to every sentence – like a pair of glasses helps improve vision, Cascade helps improve comprehension with a new view of the written word. Our cloud-based system allows this format to be applied to text of any length, so it can be used anywhere digital text is presented.”

With the alarming decline in reading scores and comprehension levels in the United States – exacerbated by the recent pandemic – the need for transformative technologies and change is more evident than ever before. Those struggling to learn English for the first time can also benefit from this breakthrough.

Research Results: Cascade Reading is supported by rigorous research across multiple studies. In a 13-week study with 4th and 5th grade students, we observed:

  • Students reading in Cascade Format earned better scores over time on comprehension measures than the control group reading traditionally formatted text.
  • 44% of students preferred Cascaded Text over traditional format, 59% reported that Cascade Format teaches them to read more carefully and 41% said it taught them to focus attention on pieces of a sentence.
  • Students reading in Cascade were significantly more likely to report that the format helps them “hear how the sentence should sound”, a key measure of fluency.
  • Students in the lowest reading level reported Cascade gave them a higher confidence in answering questions about the texts they read.

In an English reading study with adult college students who grew up speaking a variety of languages, we observed:

  • Students who grew up speaking English improved scores on reading comprehension assessments as compared with similar students reading in traditional format after only 2 hours of exposure to Cascade.
  • Improved scores on reading comprehension were found to an even higher degree for students who grew up speaking Mandarin.
  • Similar studies are in process with students who grew up speaking Spanish and Korean, with early indicators that benefits will extend to speakers of these languages as well.

These studies indicate that Cascade enhances reading comprehension for both young and adult native English speakers, as well as those learning English for the first time.”We have become accustomed to seeing technology revolutionize how we produce and consume information,” added Mark Lacek, co-founder of Cascade Reading. “Our team focuses that spirit of innovation on helping people better understand what they read. We provide a new technology to support young learners, teachers, administrators, English language learners and readers everywhere who can benefit from the Cascade Format. People deserve access to alternative methods of reading, learning, and comprehending, and Cascade Reading offers a bold new approach.”

To start utilizing this revolutionary reading enhancement, visit and register for an account. As Cascade Reading is currently in beta, the program is available for free, with the added convenience of a Chrome Plugin that enables one to cascade almost any text content on the internet within your Chrome browser.

About Cascade Reading:

Cascade Reading provides a text format which improves comprehension by providing visual cues which reveal sentence structure. Guided by reading experts and rigorous research, Cascade utilizes advanced technologies to improve comprehension and unlock the potential of readers everywhere. Reading changes lives. Cascade changes reading. Learn more at

Cascade Reading

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