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Frequently asked questions

Still have questions? We have answers. Check out the following FAQ.

Frequently asked questions

Still have questions? We have answers. Check out the following FAQ.

Overview

  • What is the underlying philosophy of Amplify Reading: 6–8 Edition?

    Engagement is in the DNA: Every lesson and activity engages students through compelling storytelling and powerful narrative. Students persist longer and learn more deeply than when they are working on repetitive worksheet-like programs.

    To capture students’ imagination, Amplify Reading 6–8 takes the form of an interactive graphic novel called The Last Readers. This story is set in a dystopian future world run by Machines, where people are told what to read and what to think. But dissent is afoot. Recruited for the rebellion, students are trained in the powerful ways authors convey meaning and affect their audience.

    Instruction and practice: Amplify Reading 6–8 gives students practice as well as instruction in the key concepts they need to master. And the instruction is interactive, not passive.

    Emphasizes deep conceptual understanding: Backed by the latest research and designed with experts, Amplify Reading 6–8 focuses on ensuring that students have a deep understanding of the concepts. And those skills transfer from the program to the real world.

    Students learn to question everything they read by engaging with a story-based adventure in which understanding every piece of text and every article, billboard, speech and poem is essential to the narrative.

    Students learn to leverage the same devices used by authors to convey meaning by creating new content that integrates seamlessly with the story.

     

  • What is the research basis behind Amplify Reading 6–8?

    Amplify Reading 6–8 intentionally focuses on close reading skills and helping students read like writers. Research shows that close reading—the intensive analysis of high-quality text “in order to come to terms with what it says, how it says it, and what it means”—is a key component of college and career readiness. Close reading instruction is linked to significant gains in reading proficiency and students’ self-perceptions around reading, particularly for struggling readers. Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2014), Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, (2011), Shanahan, T. (2012).

    Research also shows that providing students with contextualized learning experiences and rich engaging stories, narrative-centered interactive learning environments in order to increase student interest, self-efficacy, and feelings of involvement and control in their learning. McQuiggan SW, Rowe JP, Lee S, and Lester JC. (2008).

  • How is Amplify Reading 6-8 structured?

    Amplify Reading 6–8 takes the form of an interactive graphic novel called The Last Readers. This story is set in a dystopian future world run by Machines, where people are told what to read and what to think. But dissent is afoot. Recruited for the rebellion, students are trained in the powerful ways authors convey meaning and affect their audience.

    The story is divided into three books with chapters focusing on a different skill or concept.

    Each chapter follows the same structure:

    1. Interactive instruction: Students engage with a specific close reading concept using digital manipulatives.
    2. Guided close reading: Students apply knowledge of the concept to a complex text.
    3. Creative application: Students use their knowledge of the concept to create new content that solves a story-based problem.

    Literary and informational passages are paired with carefully crafted, text-dependent questions and technology-enhanced items that prepare students for the same types of questions they’ll face on high stakes assessments. All along the way, teachers receive reports that visualize activity and progress, and highlight areas of improvement. Teachers can also leverage the original content generated by students in each mission as a rich classroom discussion piece.

    Combining content and pedagogy with the creativity and purpose of storytelling results in an experience that truly motivates students and gives them the skills and confidence to tackle complex text.

    You can view the full scope and sequence here.

     

  • What is the impact of Amplify Reading 6–8 on student achievement?

    Students in our early study saw significant improvement in their performance, as measured from pre-test to post-test after an average of 3.5 weeks of instruction. Students gained an average of 6.52 scale score points—an increase of over 14%

    You can view the growth study here.

  • Is Amplify Reading: 6–8 Edition aligned to the Common Core standards?

    The practice of close reading lies at the heart of the Common Core standards for English Language Arts. Instruction in close reading enables students to become attuned to the essential elements of authentic texts: from key ideas and claims to specific details and evidence; from the effects of single words to those of larger textual structures; from the significance of individual texts to the interrelated meanings of entire corpora. These are precisely the skill areas addressed by the Common Core.

    The Common Core’s focus on close reading is reflected in the text-dependent questions that populate Common Core-aligned assessments of ELA proficiency. Text-dependent questions address students’:

    • understanding of vocabulary;
    • understanding of syntax and structure;
    • understanding of literary and argumentative devices;
    • understanding of themes and central ideas.

    Amplify Reading 6-8, through its instruction and practice, gives students the essential skills and confidence they need to address text-dependent questions and therefore the standards to which they refer.

    Additionally, each book of The Last Readers emphasizes at least one Common Core reading anchor standards associated with each of the ELA standards strands:

    Book 1: KID 1 / C&S 4 / IKI 8
    Book 2: KID 1, 2, 3 / C&S 4, 5, 6 / IKI 8
    Book 3: KID 1, 2, 3 / C&S 4, 5, 6 / IKI 6, 7, 8

    See the full scope and sequence for complete standards alignments.

Classroom use

  • How often should my students use Amplify Reading: 6–8 Edition?

    Amplify Reading 6–8 is designed for students to work independently as they progress through the units (or “chapters”) of The Last Readers. It is flexible and can be incorporated into the curriculum in many different ways. The most popular implementation is to have students work on the program one to three times per week for 20–30 minutes at a time, but some teachers assign it one day a week for 45 minutes, while others assign it every day for 15 minutes. The way you use the program with your students is up to you!

    Because students work on the program independently and at their own pace, teachers are free to use this time pulling individuals or small groups of students for personalized instruction, conferences, etc. Or, if the whole class is working on the program independently, you can monitor student progress and provide support for students who raise their hand.

    Teachers can easily review student work and incorporate concepts from The Last Readers into their core curriculum instruction. Some teachers choose to create group projects, essays, and other assignments that require students to apply the knowledge of literary and rhetorical devices that they honed in The Last Readers to their core curriculum texts.

    Teachers who use Amplify ELA as their core curriculum can also use documentation in our Teacher Guide for recommendations on how to make connections between their core curriculum texts and the knowledge and skills students build in Amplify Reading.

  • How much time does each chapter take?

    Each chapter takes a student approximately one hour to complete. This varies by student.

  • How is student progress and performance measured in Amplify Reading: 6–8 Edition?

    The graphic novel, The Last Readers, was designed to teach and measure skills in close reading using interactive activities and embedded assessment items. Each lesson was designed to include a full-length assessment of the skills being taught, but since the items are embedded in the content of the lesson, separate time for assessment of impact is not required.

    Lessons were designed to be completed sequentially. They contain some review of concepts taught in previous lessons as well as more sophisticated elements of close reading of informational and literary texts. By comparing performance in previous lessons with overlapping content, we are able to track student progress.

  • Are the texts used in Amplify Reading: 6–8 Edition leveled?

    While some texts are slightly altered for differentiated tracks, we emphasize scaffolding over text leveling by providing students with more focused question prompts to help guide them through complex texts. This ensures all students end up with the same understanding of complex texts, despite varying initial proficiencies. Lexile scores are provided for all passages.

  • How does the program support struggling readers?

    Because each classroom represents a wide range of reading abilities, teachers can assign students to unique learning tracks that are tailored to provide the level of support each student needs.

    After your students have enrolled in a class, you can assign them to a particular level in Reporting. All students will be automatically enrolled in the Core level. It is recommended that you assign all students to whatever level is most appropriate for them before they begin chapter 1. You can change a student’s level at any time.

    The Extra Support level provides more scaffolding around vocabulary as well as differentiated texts where appropriate. This allows those students to access the same narrative as their peers while receiving the support they need.

Technology

  • What are the technology requirements for Amplify Reading: 6–8 Edition?

    Laptops / Desktops

    • Mac: OS 10.10+ with up-to-date Safari or Chrome browsers
    • Windows: OS 7+ with up-to-date Chrome browser

    Chromebooks

    • 2 GB RAM minimum with up-to-date Chrome browser

    What about tablets?

    We want to provide an excellent experience for Close Reading for teachers and students on tablet devices before supporting them. This page will be updated when tablet devices are supported and please contact us anytime to inquire about timing.