BOSTON – Building on the partnership established in fall 2020, learning technology leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which reaches more than 90 percent of the country’s K-12 classrooms, has helped Brewbaker Primary School expedite and deepen student mastery of reading through the use of Amira Learning™. Amira is the first intelligent reading assistant that listens to, assesses and tutors learners, using state of the art speech recognition and powerful AI software to differentiate and recommend reading practice for young learners and administer both an oral reading fluency assessment and a dyslexia screener.
Brewbaker Primary School (BPS), which serves Montgomery Public Schools’ largest elementary population in Montgomery County, adopted Amira Learning in November 2020 to provide 1:1 reading instruction to 300+ K-2 students and advance foundational reading skills for English Language Learners amid a hybrid learning environment. The tool has driven impressive growth in student literacy. Within two months, Amira helped double the amount of words that second grade students correctly read aloud per minute. With great specialty in helping young readers, Amira has also set the stage for BPS students to achieve above grade level reading capabilities, with kindergarteners successfully reading aloud a year earlier than expected, and second grade students reaching third grade reading proficiency.
“As an educator with almost 20 years of experience as a reading coach and instructional leader, I understand what it takes to help children become readers. Amira is helping us meet the individual needs of our students in a way that was previously impossible, especially with the workloads our teachers juggle during the pandemic,” says BPS Principal Jaclyn Brown Wright. “We’re impressed with the breakthroughs we’ve seen from our students as they’ve quickly become confident readers.”
Amira has also lightened the load for BPS teachers amid the uncertainty and stress of COVID-19, implementing a systematic approach to gathering reliable data on student reading that flexes to any instructional format. Performing assessments in Amira has efficiently yielded comprehensive data that maximizes BPS teachers’ precious time. These time savings have empowered BPS teachers to tailor reading instruction based on highly accurate insights about student mastery, helping them target support to students who need it most. To-date, BPS students have spent over 50,000 minutes reading upwards of 13,700 stories with Amira, which has given teachers 30 additional minutes back each week to instead focus on individualized instruction with students.
“The student breakthroughs we’re seeing with Amira in Brewbaker Primary School are extraordinary and underscore our commitment to exploring new ways to provide equitable, quality education opportunities in Montgomery,” says Montgomery Mayor Steven L. Reed. “We’re encouraged by these promising results and have great hope that investment in innovative tools like Amira will set our students up for success throughout their academic and professional careers.”
Amira Learning is the culmination of 20+ years of reading research and applied reading science from leading universities and researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, Johns Hopkins University, and University of Texas Health Sciences. Evidence supporting Amira's effectiveness includes more than 100 published research papers and is considered "gold standard." Amira also detects dyslexia with 95% accuracy in grades K–3, giving teachers comprehensive support for early intervention for students with disabilities in reading.
“HMH is dedicated to supporting educators with purposeful, digital learning solutions like Amira to extend and complement teacher expertise, delivering key insights that help them do their jobs better, regardless of the instructional method,” says Matthew Mugo Fields, General Manager, Supplemental and Intervention Solutions at HMH. “The literacy progress BPS students have made is a testament to Amira’s unmatched ability to understand and advance reading skills of our youngest learners. We look forward to seeing how Amira continues to prop up BPS teachers and contribute to ongoing student achievement in Montgomery.”
About Montgomery Public Schools
Montgomery Public Schools (MPS) is a school district with 53 schools. MPS is guided by a student-first philosophy. Our mission is to provide safe and caring communities where teachers teach and students learn at higher levels. MPS has a variety of academic programs and services to meet the diverse needs and interests of our students. We offer traditional schools with a full range of curriculum complemented by cultural arts, music, foreign languages, technology, career technical education and athletic programs.
About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (NASDAQ: HMHC) is a learning technology company committed to delivering connected solutions that engage learners, empower educators and improve student outcomes. As a leading provider of K–12 core curriculum, supplemental and intervention solutions and professional learning services, HMH partners with educators and school districts to uncover solutions that unlock students' potential and extend teachers' capabilities. HMH serves more than 50 million students and 3 million educators in 150 countries. For more information, visit www.hmhco.com.
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