Amira’s story recommendations are designed to surface the stories best able to facilitate and drive student growth.
The research documents a strong relationship between student agency and choice and a student’s willingness to exert learning energy. Amira honors this relationship by choosing small collections of stories and then letting the student make a final selection about what to read. Amira recommends not one, but 5 separate stories.
If a student has never logged into Amira before, they will receive a passage that is generally suitable for their grade. Absent initial information, Amira finds a logical starting point. After an assessment is completed, or after completing three stories, the student will receive recommendations chosen specifically for them. The core idea behind Amira’s choices is to pick passages that will best facilitate progress for that individual student.
The ingredients of goodness that drive Amira’s recommendations include:
a.) Text complexity sufficient to trigger a roughly 10% word error rate. This means that the text is hard enough that the student will struggle with about 1 in 10 words, but easy enough that the student will be able to read most words.
b.) Stories that will either stretch a student’s ability or enable them to feel successful, depending on how well their recent reading went. The idea is to challenge students if recent reading has gone smoothly and reduce frustration and struggle if recent reading has been rocky.
c.) Students are offered choice and autonomy as Amira provides five different titles to choose from at the beginning of each practice session. We carefully curate our library of stories to offer a wide range of topics, characters, settings, and events so all students can find stories they enjoy.
We are continuously developing our selection of stories through student feedback. Our team regularly visits schools and students and asks them to tell us the stories they enjoy most with Amira and the types of stories they’d like to see in the future. As our library grows so too will students’ options and Amira’s recommendations grow. We strive to have interesting and appropriate texts for every reader and at every level.
The key idea is that Amira is constantly adapting recommendations made for each individual student. As a general proposition, Amira aims for passages that will yield an accuracy percentage of about 90%. But, early readers can’t tackle any connected text with this level of accuracy. And, as reading ability progresses, Amira will sometimes push the student with harder stories likely to generate more miscues.
What is the best way to ensure that Amira’s passages aren’t too hard or too easy?
Giving students an assessment will enable Amira to better hone in on the “best” content for that scholar.
What happens if a student isn’t ready for connected text in the form of stories & passages?
Amira will place early readers in the Early Reader Skills Scaffold via the assessment process. Alternatively, teachers can via the Tracking Report.
Is Amira “leveling” students?
No. We do not level students in the Science of Reading. Amira is managing text complexity to optimize growth. Amira is not using a child’s level to dictate what is read, is not trying to pigeonhole a student into a particular level and generally has no concept of levels or leveling.
Why does the difficulty of passages recommended seem to vary?
Just like you’d see in your reading stations, students sometimes are more successful with different texts at the same level of difficulty. This can be due to a student’s reading level, schema (if they know a ton about dinosaurs, they will do well with a story about dinosaurs), having a better day, or more experience with different words. If a story seems too hard or too easy, don’t fret, Amira is paying attention. They should be getting a more appropriate story in 2-3 stories.