Like at many other school districts around the country, teachers and students at a large district on Long Island, New York, were suddenly forced to move classes online in the wake of COVID-19 in spring 2020.
For sixth-grade special education teacher Ms. G, the shift to remote learning presented an opportunity for her to use Reading Plus, an adaptive online reading program, with several of her students who struggled with reading comprehension.
After a supervisor suggested Reading Plus, which was available for use within the district, she decided to put the program to the test with her own son.
“I wanted to see what Reading Plus looked like from the kids’ end,” Ms. G said. “My son was engaged and loved it—plus I saw his progress. I was sold.”
Prior to the pandemic, nothing she tried was moving the needle on reading progress for her student Samantha. After witnessing her own son’s improvement while using the program, she decided to incorporate Reading Plus into Samantha’s daily homework assignments. According to Ms. G, Samantha showed remarkable progress.
“I started Samantha at the kindergarten level within Reading Plus, which was very accurate,” she said. “We watched her reading improve by about three levels in a three-month timeframe, and her vocabulary also expanded a tremendous amount.”
Samantha’s parents couldn’t agree more. Describing their 11-year-old daughter as a student who struggles and typically views reading as a chore or a punishment, they could see her uncertainty when starting to work with Reading Plus.
“She has ADHD, and focusing can be really hard,” said Samantha’s mom. “She was hesitant at first and didn’t do great on the assessment. But then the vocab, the stories—it all just clicked and she took to it. Even if she didn’t like the story one day, she always liked answering the questions.”
Samantha’s parents said that while she didn’t always score a 100, she continuously improved.
“The way the program highlighted text at her speed helped Samantha focus. Her eyes didn’t wander and she understood,” said Samantha’s mom, who added she’s seen an increase in Samantha’s confidence since using Reading Plus.
Reading Plus is the only literacy program that addresses the physical aspect of reading in addition to developing comprehension and vocabulary. Through adaptive instruction and the program’s patented Guided Window, Reading Plus strengthens the visual-perceptual skills students need to silently read efficiently and fluently, while building their reading stamina.
“Reading is a highly physical process. How someone’s eyes navigate lines of print greatly affects what they will comprehend,” said Dr. Alexandra Spichtig, chief research officer at Reading Plus. “If students, like Samantha, have a reading process that is labored and inefficient, it impacts their ability to process and retain information.”
Now that Samantha is back at school for the 2020-2021 academic year, her parents say her newfound excitement for reading has stayed, and she is doing her homework right away. She is even helping other students learn how to use Reading Plus.
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