The Amira Dyslexia Risk Screener identifies students who may be at risk of dyslexia or other reading difficulty. The University of Texas Health Center tracked thousands of students to determine the predictive power of Amira's dyslexia screener. The research indicated that Amira’s Dyslexia Risk Screener predicted eventual diagnosis of dyslexia or some other reading difficulty with 95% accuracy.
To get students ready for the Dyslexia Risk Screener, students should be given an introduction to both the Dyslexia Screener tasks and the assessment in order to build an understanding of what to expect and what is expected of them.
NOTE: We recommend teachers assign the assessment the day before the student takes the assessment.
✅ 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 and that you will listen to their recordings to help you know what they can do, so they should try their best.
☐ Configure the Headset: Verify students have a headset with a working microphone at the appropriate volume settings. Students should speak clearly into the microphone ("say the sounds of the words you see") and keep their hands off the buttons and mic.
☐ Model: Use the video below to show students what they can expect on the assessment. Pause and think aloud as you review the instructions for the test. For example, say, "If the passage feels too tricky, you can say 'skip' or 'I don't know yet'." Or: "Make sure to click on the green arrow right when you finish reading the last sentence on the page."
Use this video to introduce the Dyslexia Screener and assessment to students.
☐ 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 the assessment in "waves" -- this will prevent students from reading the same words at the same time, which can confuse them (and Amira if the students are sitting nearby one another)
☐ "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)
For more ideas, see How do I prepare devices?
See this video for a walkthrough:
For grade-level specific assessment walkthroughs, use the following videos:
Steps for Using Dyslexia Screener
STEP 1: Building background knowledge before using the Dyslexia Screener
Use the talking points and videos above to prepare students
Try the screener with a couple of students before testing the entire class as a whole group. This is particularly important with early readers or younger (K-1) students.
STEP 2: Logging in
Go to 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. Learn more about allowing access to the microphone here.
Step 4: Completing the Dyslexia Screener and Assessment
If this is the first time Amira has been accessed on the device, Amira may take several minutes to load.
Amira will explain the directions for each task of the Dyslexia Screener prior to the task, including encouraging the student to try the student's best to read out loud, sound out unknown words, skip words, etc.
Amira will count down to begin each task by saying Ready, Set, Start!
Amira will explain and give an example for how to complete the Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN)
The student will complete the RAN. They key here is speed, so encourage students to read the numbers as fast as they can.
For kindergarten and first grade students, Amira will explain and give an example for how to complete the letter name/sound task
The student will complete letter name/sound task
Amira will continue to give directions for each task which has been selected by the district (for a complete list, see How to Configure Amira)
Amira will give directions for reading the passage
❗Note: A progress indicator along the bottom of the screen shows how many story pages have been completed. If the student is unable to progress through the passage with "productive struggle", Amira automatically re-levels and chooses a different reading for the student.
❗Note: The student should read out loud until they complete the test or when four minutes has elapsed, whichever comes first.
Students will click on a green button to advance to the next page.
When the student has finished reading,
Amira will thank the student for reading and will display a Great Work! screen
Amira automatically logs the student out when the session has saved. Best practice is to have the students keep their browser tab open for a minute to ensure the data saves
Many of these tasks are configurable at the district or school level and include additional options such as spelling, listening comprehension, and vocabulary. Consult your district leader for more information as to which exact tasks have been enabled for your students.