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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: K–2 Edition?

    Amplify Reading K–2 is a highly engaging digital supplemental reading program that uses compelling storytelling to help students at every stage of their reading journey. From phonics to comprehension, the research-based program helps students achieve true mastery of the concepts they need to become strong, lifelong readers.

    FOR TEACHERS, Amplify Reading is a research-based, standards-aligned K–2 program that supports teachers in building students’ foundational reading skills— language, decoding, and comprehension—along an adaptive pathway of increasingly complex text.

    FOR STUDENTS, it’s a journey into a captivating world in which they embark on a series of quests with their very own Curioso, a companion creature whose powers increase in parallel with student’s own growth into ever more confident readers.

  • What is the research basis behind Amplify Reading K–2?

    Amplify Reading is a supplemental digital literacy instruction program that provides students with practice and explicit instruction in the underlying phonics, phonological awareness, vocabulary, and comprehension skills that are essential for fluent reading with good comprehension (e.g., Cartwright, 2010; NICHD, 2000; Oakhill, Cain, & Elbro, 2015). The overarching goal of the program is to provide engaging individualized instruction and practice in the skills and strategies that have the most impact on literacy, while making it explicit to students that the skills they are practicing are things that good readers do while they are reading. As repetition with variety is an essential part of effective literacy instruction (e.g., Schuele & Boudreau, 2008), after a brief introduction to each activity, students are given repeated opportunities to practice these skills with varied stimuli. They receive immediate feedback for their responses and are given more explicit instruction in areas that are challenging. The instruction provided incorporates documented principles of effective instructional delivery; the activities engage students in multiple opportunities to practice critical skills at an appropriate pace with consistent feedback and prioritize student engagement and motivation, helping students to see their own growth toward reading goals (Carnine, Silbert, Kame’enui, & Tarver, 2016; Gersten, et. al., 2009; Deci, & Ryan, 2012.). Activities build on an existing computer-based intervention that has been documented to improve the decoding skills of students in multiple experimental studies(Richardson & Lyytinen, 2014). Since learning is promoted when students use their knowledge across tasks (e.g., Merrill, 2002), generalization is encouraged through ebooks with embedded activities that reinforce skills recently practiced in related games.

    Instruction is closely aligned with the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards (CSSS) for literary and informational texts and the North Carolina English Language Arts standards. The program was designed to include content that is most effective at building the word reading and comprehension skills of elementary students (e.g., NICHD, 2000; NIFL, 2008), including at-risk and struggling readers (e.g., NICHD, 2000) and English language learners (e.g., August & Shanahan, 2006). The content focuses on foundational reading skills (i.e., phonological awareness and phonics) as well as vocabulary and reading comprehension.

    In addition to the focus on critical foundational reading skills, our online student instruction incorporates the latest research on the underlying skills that build reading comprehension. Current research indicating the underlying skills that are critical for reading comprehension (e.g., Cartwright, 2010; Oakhill et al., 2015) heavily influenced the core content of instruction in the curriculum. A mental model is a network of idea units that readers construct in order to comprehend the gist of what they are reading (e.g., Graesser, Singer, & Trabasso, 1994; Kintsch, 1988). Since students who struggle with reading comprehension are often weak in the underlying language and literacy abilities that are required to create a cohesive mental model (e.g., Cartwright, 2010; Oakhill et al., 2015), Amplify Reading focuses instruction on these so that students can build the skills required to have a deep understanding of the content they are reading. These underlying skills, collectively referred to as microcomprehension, are explicitly and systematically targeted in the program. Some of the key skills that make up microcomprehension include making inferences, using text structure to support comprehension, understanding complex sentence structure and connectives, and monitoring comprehension. Rather than focusing instruction on tasks that require students to use microcomprehension skills (e.g., read a passage and answer questions to show understanding), this program has been designed to build up students’ foundational comprehension skills so that they will be able to create the strong mental models that are required for deep understanding of text.

  • How is Amplify Reading K–2 structured?

    Amplify Reading is designed hand-in-hand with experts, and each of the program’s games maps to specific skills and aligns to the most rigorous reading standards.

    The full scope and sequence is available here.

    Because the program is adaptive, students will work on the skills where they need the most help. There are over 40 games aligned to standards and covering the skills that students need to master.

  • What is the impact of Amplify Reading K–2 on student achievement?

    Over the course of our early efficacy study, kindergarteners using Amplify Reading K–2 grew an average of 16% more than kindergarteners who didn’t use Amplify Reading. First graders using Amplify Reading K–2 grew 23% more than first graders who didn’t.

    We compared growth rates for students in classrooms using Amplify Reading K–2 with those from a very large database (over 500,000 students) of same-age children. The treatment group comprised 198 students in seven schools representing both urban and rural populations across four states and included Tier 1 and Tier 2 students. The outcome measure was growth on the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) Composite Score. Students were tested at the beginning and middle of the 2017–2018 school year. For both kindergartners and first-grade students, average growth was significantly higher for students who played Amplify Reading.

    You can view the study here.

  • What are the skill domains in Amplify Reading K–2?

    Phonological Awareness

    • Segment at the compound word and onset-rime level
    • Rhyming
    • Blending at the Compound Word, Syllable, Onset-Rime, and Phoneme level
    • Phoneme Isolation
    • Segment at the syllable and phoneme level

    Learn more about our phonological awareness games.

    Letter-Sound Correspondence

    • Sound-spelling correspondences for individual letters and letter combinations
    • Sound-Spelling Correspondences for single letters

    Learn more about our phonics games.

    Letter Combinations

    • Sound-Spelling Correspondences for consonant digraphs and vowel teams

    Learn more about our phonics games.

    Early Decoding

    • Decode words with common rime families
    • Decode and spell words with common rime families
    • Letter-sound correspondence
    • Decoding and spelling regular words
    • Read high frequency irregular words, regular words, words with inflected endings, two syllable-words, words with prefixes and suffixes, and multi-syllable words
    • Read grade level text accurately
    • Read words with hard and soft g and c

    Learn more about our phonics games.

    Advanced Decoding

    • Read high frequency irregular words, regular words, words with inflected endings, two syllable-words, words with prefixes and suffixes, and multi-syllable words
    • Read VCe words, words with r- and l-controlled vowels, and words with inflected endings
    • Read grade level text accurately
    • Read words with hard and soft g and c

    Learn more about our phonics games.

    Microcomprehension

    • Text Structure: Organize sentences using problem/solution and cause and effect
    • Text Structure: Organize sentences using sequence/chronological order
    • Inference
    • Syntactic awareness – connectives
    • Syntactic awareness – anaphora
    • Cognitive Flexibility
    • Comprehension Monitoring
    • Syntactic Awareness

    Learn more about our microcomprehension games.

    Key Ideas and Details

    • Main Idea
    • Character Traits
    • Story Elements/Plot
    • Identify supporting evidence for an inference

    Learn more about our comprehension games.

    Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

    • Compare and Contrast Texts
    • Evaluate evidence

    Learn more about our comprehension games.

    Craft and Structure

    • Text Schema

    Learn more about our comprehension games.

    Vocabulary

    • Synonyms, Antonyms, & Words in Context
    • Shades of meaning
    • Multiple meaning words
    • Affixes
    • Categories & Word Relationships

    Learn more about our vocabulary games.

  • How does the adaptive algorithm work in Amplify Reading K–2?

    Amplify Reading: K–2 allows students to progress through the curriculum along a pathway that best fits their developing abilities. Students are placed into the program based on prior data and the system maintains a rich profile for them as they master each skill level. Amplify Reading: K–2 also provides adaptive support, meaning that the degree of scaffolding, instruction, and practice adapts within each game based on student performance.

    Students are served up content that’s appropriate for them within each quest. If a student struggles with a particular content set (3 failed attempts), the set is removed from the quest and presented to the student in a later quest after they’ve had more practice with the prerequisite skills.

    When this happens, the teacher dashboard will indicate that the student is “stuck” through the class view and the student view.

    You can view a video of the teacher dashboard here.

    If the teacher taps on the student’s name, they can see the specific content that the student struggled with. This allows teachers to provide additional support for the student. The progress bar will go back to green when the student has mastered the content set at a later date.

Classroom use

  • How often should my students use Amplify Reading: K–2 Edition?

    Amplify Reading: K–2 is a supplemental reading curriculum designed to support a student’s development in key early literacy skills through play. The games in Amplify Reading: K-2 are meant to engage students individually on their own unique path. As a result, there are numerous ways you can use Amplify Reading: K–2 with your students.

    We recommend you allow students to play for 10–15 minutes per session, 2–3 times a week in some of the following ways:

    • As part of a work station or literacy center
    • During reading blocks or choice time
    • With students not in intervention groups during intervention time
    • During transitions between periods (or at the start or end of school)
    • In a computer lab
    • In after-school programs
    • At home (students may use logins to practice on Amplify Reading: K–2 at home)
  • How does Amplify Reading K–2 support ELLs?

    Amplify Reading: K–2’s Storyline

    Students propel the storyline in Amplify Reading: K–2 forward as they take on quests in Bookerton. This narrative is available in both English and Spanish. Students can toggle between the two languages through their settings menu.

    In-Game Supports

    In addition to the overall narrative, many of the games have features that support ELL students:

    • Many of the games have read-aloud text or are picture-based so that students can work independently, whatever their level of language proficiency.
    • Supports such as cognates are provided for vocabulary words in Amplify Reading: K–2’s interactive eReader.
    • Amplify Reading: K–2 has games that cover phonics and phonological awareness, including at the syllable level, to support pre-readers who need robust instruction in these areas.
    • Amplify Reading: K–2 has games that provide explicit language instruction, for example connectives and anaphora, as well as strategy instruction in comprehension monitoring and morphology.

Technology

  • What are the technology requirements for Amplify Reading: K–2 Edition?

    Supported devices and browsers:

    PC desktops and laptops:

    • 1.4 GHz dual-core processor
    • 1024×768 screen resolution
    • 2GB of RAM
    • Operating system: Windows 9+
    • Browser: Chrome – latest stable version

    Mac desktops and laptops:

    • 1.4 GHz dual-core processor
    • 1024×768 screen resolution
    • 2GB of RAM
    • Operating system: Mac OS 10.10+
    • Browser: Chrome and Safari – latest stable version

    Chromebooks:

    • 1.4 GHz dual-core processor
    • 1024×768 screen resolution
    • 2GB of RAM
    • Ideally touchscreen or with mouse
    • Browser: Chrome – latest stable version

    iPads:

    • iPad mini 2+, iPad 4+, iPad Air+, iPad Pro
    • Operating system: iOS 10.3+
    • Browser: Safari – latest stable version

    iPhones:

    • iPhone 6+
    • Operating system: iOS 10.3+
    • Browser: Safari – latest stable version

    Android Phones (Starting Fall 2018):

    • Samsung S7 and S8
    • Operating system: Android OS 7+
    • Browser: Chrome – latest stable version

    Network requirements:

    • Latency: No more than 100 ms during peak utilization
    • Connection speed: 1 mbs per device during peak usage