Amira Practice has students read stories aloud to Amira. While students read aloud, Amira provides in-the-moment feedback with over 40 micro-interventions which build student skills and accelerate student reading growth.
To prepare for Practice, students should be given an introduction to the Practice feature in order to build an understanding of what to expect and what is expected of them.
Here's an end-to-end video of a student using Practice:
Preparing Students for Practice
Prior to students using Practice, students should become familiar with how to use log in, read with Amira, and finish the Practice session.
✅ Modeling Checklist
Prior to students using Amira, students should become familiar with the purpose, instructions, logging in, and reading aloud and modulating their voice.
☐ Set the Purpose: Tell students that they will be reading aloud to a computer program that will help them as they read. Amira is like a "coach" who provides feedback and help at the right time on the right word.
☐ Configure the Headset: Verify students have a headset with a working microphone at the appropriate volume settings. Students should speak clearly into the microphone and keep their hands off the buttons and mic.
☐ Model: Use the video above to show students what they can expect when they log in. Pause and think aloud as you show the experience. For example, if the text feels too tricky, you can say 'skip' or 'I don't know'." Additionally, show students this video for tips on what to expect when reading with Amira.
☐ Encourage a Growth Mindset: As you model, think aloud the behaviors you want students to exhibit when they get stuck or frustrated, such as "I may not know that word -- yet -- but I'm going to try my best and sound out the sounds I know." Tell them to make sure they are doing their very best reading. "Your teachers and parents will be able to hear the recordings and can’t wait to hear how you are growing as a reader!"
☐ Start Staggered & Spaced Out: Ask students to begin working with the software in "waves" -- this will prevent students from reading at the same time, which can confuse them.
☐ "Ask 3 Then Ask Me:" Model troubleshooting behaviors for what to do if:
Students are unable to log in or forget their password
The test says "good work" and logs them out at the end
An "I can't hear you" message comes up (this is likely a muted mic)
☐ Expectations: Have an expectation for how many Practice stories a student should read in one sitting while keeping in mind that best practices and research indicate that students should read approximately 10 minutes per day (45 minutes per week) and that each story is approximately 4-7 minutes each, so reading 2 stories per day would achieve the recommendations for successful reading growth.
For more ideas, see How do I prepare devices?
Steps for Using Amira Practice
STEP 1: Build Background Knowledge of Using Amira Practice
Explain to students that
They will be using their computer/iPad and headset/microphone to read aloud stories which appear on their screen
While they read aloud, Amira will be listening to them read
Amira will be giving them feedback just like when they read with you (their teacher)
Amira will help them in different ways, including helping them sound out words, giving definitions of words, asking questions about the story, etc.
Show students the video above which has a student and Amira reading together
Explain to students that they will see the student and Amira reading together while Amira and her friend help the student
Explain that the students will see a cursor or line underneath each word as the student reads; after students say the word, the text will turn from black to gray; sometimes, the cursor and the words being read might not be the same which is okay; Amira is still listening to the student read and knows exactly which words are being read aloud even if the cursor isn't exactly underneath the same word being said
STEP 2: Logging in
Visit either the district's Single Sign-On (SSO) or HMH Ed (https://www.hmhco.com/ui/login/)
❗Note: International schools and after school programs will have staff and students log in via https://www.amiratutor.com/, and type their username and password
Select Country, if needed
Enter District/Independent School (this field will appear after selecting State)
Follow additional instructions for logging in
STEP 3: Accessing the Microphone (if first time accessing Amira)
The first time an account accesses Amira on a device, the browser asks for permission to access the microphone.
Step 4: Begin Reading a Story
If this is the first time Amira has been accessed on a device, Amira may take several minutes to load.
Click/Tap Let’s do it
STEP 5a: Choose What to Do (reading with Amira Practice for the first time)
Click/Tap Read a story to read a Practice story
If reading a Practice story for the first time, Amira will automatically begin the story after clicking/tapping Read a story
If not reading a Practice story for the first time, Amira will give the student story choices. See STEP 5b below for directions.
STEP 5b: Choose What to Do (reading with Amira Practice after the first time)
Click/Tap Read a story to read a Practice story
Select story of choice from Which story would you like to read?
STEP 5c: Choose What to Do (see progress)
Click/Tap See progress to see reading progress
❗Note: Amira will show progress in terms of speed (words read correctly in a minute - WCPM) and accuracy for the most recent story read.
The goal is to read with 95% accuracy to make sure the student reads well enough to be able to focus on the meaning of the text.
Speed may vary as story leveling adapts to your student’s reading; there is an expectation that speed scores will differ from story to story.
STEP 6: After Finishing a Practice Story
Students should wait for a moment or two before closing Amira as only saved stories are available for leveling, scoring, and viewing.
Amira will display a report of reading progress at the end of each story for the student. Older students could use this screen to record for their own goal setting.