The process of acquiring reading skills marks a significant milestone in a child's educational journey. As educators, we are continuously in search of innovative methods to make this journey more captivating, efficient, and tailored to the unique needs of each student. Reflecting on the past decade of teaching reading, I find myself yearning for the availability of cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence.
Recalling my experience teaching 7th grade English Language Arts, I remember conducting individual assessments of Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) for each student. This procedure spanned over three days, involving the administration of the same reading passage to every student, irrespective of their reading proficiency.
Regrettably, this approach lacked the adaptability required to accommodate varying rates of student progress, and the assessment process offered limited opportunities for intervention. I had to personally listen to each student read aloud outside the classroom, jotting down notes and assigning scores to address their difficulties.
During these three days, I found myself unable to provide the necessary support, guidance, and instruction to the remainder of my students. Furthermore, the primary focus seemed to be on data collection, with minimal follow-up actions taken. The assessment felt more like a mere checkbox to complete, rather than a comprehensive strategy aimed at enriching the learning experience.
In the realm of early reading instruction, the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has introduced a groundbreaking tool: Amira Learning. This AI-powered platform not only cultivates a genuine enthusiasm for reading but also offers personalized guidance and assistance to young learners.
Let's explore how Amira Learning is reshaping the early reading education landscape. However, before we delve into that, let's begin by delving into the foundation of the Science of Reading – the research that underpins the design of this platform.
The Science of Reading and Amira Learning
The Science of Reading is a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to teaching literacy skills, rooted in the understanding of how the brain processes written language. It emphasizes the crucial role of phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension in reading development. By recognizing the intricate interplay between these components, educators can guide students toward becoming proficient readers.
This methodology is illuminated the book The Science of Reading in Action by Malia Howell, where practical insights and strategies are offered to educators, empowering them to apply the science of reading principles effectively in the classroom by Teachergoals Publishing.
We highly recommend you grab a copy now!
The book serves as a guide for educators to create a robust foundation for literacy acquisition, ensuring that students not only learn to read but also develop a lifelong love for reading and comprehension.
What is even more exciting is that Amira Learning, an AI powered platform not only provides just-in-time personalized tutoring to students, but it also seamlessly aligns with the Science of Reading methodology, making it a powerful ally in the journey to literacy and the perfect addition to your teacher toolbox.
Bring Malia to your district or school for the Science of Reading in Action training!
What is Amira Learning?
Amira Learning revolutionizes early reading education with its AI-powered platform. By employing advanced technology, it offers personalized and captivating reading experiences to young learners.
Grounded in the Science of Reading, it utilizes real-time assessment and feedback to improve oral reading fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. This interactive and adaptive approach tailors support to individual student needs, nurturing a genuine passion for reading and expediting literacy skills development.
The platform embodies the Science of Reading by integrating key elements. It enhances decoding proficiency through personalized exercises, supports phonological awareness, and reinforces sight word recognition.
Amira adjusts content based on background knowledge and enriches vocabulary through contextual exposure. Moreover, it refines text comprehension by teaching structural analysis and reasoning, ensuring a comprehensive reading development approach.
Empowering Choice and Engagement
Amira Learning's approach is built upon the idea that choice and engagement are essential to effective learning. The platform offers a selection of appropriately challenging and engaging texts for early readers and is presented to students through an animated avatar named, you guessed it, Amira!
This empowers students by allowing them to choose materials that resonate with their interests, fostering a sense of ownership over their learning journey. The platform is trained on a multitude of kids' voices from varying dialects, accents to special education students. The technology continually improves the more that it is used.
Personalized Reading Assessments in Real Time
One of Amira Learning's standout features is its real-time assessment capabilities. As students read aloud, Amira listens attentively. This AI-powered listener detects patterns in pronunciation, fluency, and comprehension.
When a student encounters difficulties, Amira steps in, providing immediate feedback and support. This personalized intervention ensures that struggling readers receive the attention they need precisely when they need it.
The platform itself actually deploys 62 different intervention strategies to help students reach learning milestones. When a student logs in it remembers the interventions that worked and didn’t for that specific student.
Supporting Struggling Readers
For educators, identifying struggling readers early on is crucial. Amira Learning does this seamlessly by analyzing a student's oral reading fluency and comprehension.
When a student encounters a stumbling block, Amira offers targeted support, such as rephrasing sentences or providing clarifications. This scaffolded assistance nurtures a growth mindset and encourages students to persist in the face of challenges.
Amira in the Classroom: A Look at What Teachers Have to Say
The short “i”
A teacher was assessing her students in vowel sounds to prepare their intervention and reading groups. A little boy came to her table, she listened to him read and marked him as “mastered” for the short-i sound in her records. I asked why she believed he’d mastered the sound. She said, he’s been to my table five times and read the short i sound five times and he’s been correct each time so he doesn’t need more practice. By all accounts, her work was data driven and supported by her data.
With my guidance, we checked the skills status report. Every time a child reads with Amira, every sound in every word is recorded and reported for the teacher. The same student had read words with the short-i sound with Amira 176 times. He’d only read it correctly 24 of those times. He was far from mastery.
Amira was able to collect the data and listen to reading far more often than a teacher. The student was put in a short-i reading group and eventually did master the sound- with extra explicit instruction from the teacher and practice with Amira.
The MTSS Meeting
A district helped develop our MTSS protocol. As part of the protocol, the schools start every MTSS meeting listening to a child read with Amira. (Every time they read is recorded and provided with a transcript to the teacher.) They listen to the recording and then use the skills report to decide on focus skills for instruction and intervention for the student.
Using the resources, they printed and provided work and activities to all the stakeholders in the room- the teacher, interventionist, paraprofessional, and parent. At the end, the parent teared up and said,, ‘I’ve never really heard my child read like this. I’ve never had the resources to actually help.”
Dropping the Stigma
We often hear from teachers that the best part of Amira isn’t the reading; it’s the confidence building. A teacher in Texas told us about a little boy who was really far behind. Under no circumstances was he willing to read in front of his peers.
Additionally, he didn’t want to practice reading alone because they’d see his baby books. His teacher created a space behind a cabinet for him to read with Amira.
Headphones on, AI tutor at the ready, he quickly started reading out loud and the results showed. His reading scores went up and up as he practiced with Amira and his teacher said he started raising his hand and participating in class more. She credited Amira to his change as a reader and student.
The New Student
A school in Staten Island uses Amira everyday. They also often welcome children from all over the world into their community. One day in November, they added a student from Ukraine. He didn’t talk to anyone. They assumed he didn’t speak English. When his class all got on Amira to read after lunch, he did too. He put on headphones like his peers, turned on the program and started reading. Turns out, he could speak and read in English. Amira was his gateway into school.
3 Ways Amira Learning Empowers Proficient Readers
- Fostering Fluency and Comprehension: Fluency and comprehension are pivotal components of proficient reading. Amira Learning hones these skills by providing continuous practice and monitoring. As students progress, they gain confidence in their reading abilities, leading to improved comprehension and a deeper connection to the text.
- A Holistic Approach to Literacy: Amira Learning doesn't just focus on decoding words; it nurtures a holistic approach to literacy. By integrating phonological awareness, vocabulary building, and comprehension strategies, the platform ensures that students develop into well-rounded readers with a solid foundation in the Science of Reading.
- Inclusive Learning for All: Amira Learning supports diverse learners, including English language learners and students with learning differences. The personalized nature of the platform allows educators to tailor interventions and support to each student's unique needs, ensuring that every child can progress at their own pace.
Navigating the Future of Early Reading with Amira Learning
As educators, our mission is to ignite a lifelong love for reading and provide the tools for students to become confident, capable readers. Amira Learning's integration of AI technology harmonizes seamlessly with the Science of Reading methodology, resulting in a dynamic and effective early reading platform.
By empowering choice, delivering personalized assessments and interventions, and fostering essential reading skills, Amira Learning paves the way for a new era in early reading education—one where every child has the opportunity to unlock the magic of reading and embark on a path of discovery and imagination.
If Amira is your first foray into AI, don't worry, they have tons of synchronous, asynchronous and live, in-person training options.To learn more about Amira Learning and its transformative impact on early reading instruction, visit amiralearning.com.
Embrace the power of AI to empower young learners and revolutionize the world of literacy education.
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