D.C. Mayor, Public Library, Public Schools, Pro Sports Teams, Leading Edtech Companies Come Together to Accelerate Literacy with Summer Reading Program

By: WebWire

Many cities and states across America including Dallas, Memphis, San Jose, Nashville, Chicago have implemented a focus on high-impact learning as the key to unravel the learning loss due to the pandemic and inevitable summer slide. Though few are investing public funds and creating innovative initiatives to drive high-impact tutoring, a proven high-impact learning lever. 

To sign up, go to: https://www.dclibrary.org/summerchallenge

According to Annenberg Institute at Brown, DC is the leading city in how to effectively implement high-impact tutoring and leverage important partners in the effort. The DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has put aside $41M in the mayoral budget for high-impact tutoring as a critical lever to recover from immense learning loss caused by the pandemic.

With the emphasis from the mayor and the importance of reading recovery, the D.C. Public Library, D.C. Public Schools (DCPS), several D.C. Public Charter Schools, the Washington Football Team, Washington Nationals, D.C. United and learning technology companies HMH and Amira Learning announced today their participation in the D.C. Reads with Amira initiative, as part of the D.C. Public Library's “Read20: Summer Challenge 2021”. The program provides all students throughout DCPS and several area charter networks entering the second through fifth grades access to Amira Learning's first-of-its-kind personalized AI reading tutor for 10 weeks this summer.

The D.C. Reads with Amira program, part of the D.C. Public Library's Summer Challenge 2021, aims to help learners accelerate literacy skills and increase access to reading practice as students and teachers work to reconnect and recover from the challenges brought on by the pandemic. As the Washington Post recently reported, the number of D.C. first and second graders reaching literacy targets has dropped this year, a pattern that is present nationwide as typical learning growth has been impacted in the wake of interrupted learning (PACE).   

“After a tough year, our students and families deserve a fun summer and the chance to be back together with their friends, coaches, camp counselors, teachers, and mentors,” said Mayor Bowser. “With the Summer Reading Challenge, the return of camps, and the Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program, we're offering a summer filled with opportunity for our young people. Our other focus remains to get all young people 12 and up vaccinated against COVID-19.”

Three Stories a Day, Three Times a Week

Research has shown that children who read with Amira frequently (around 45 minutes per week) have more than doubled their reading growth in just two months. From June 28-August 30, D.C. Reads with Amira is encouraging all students from participating schools to read with Amira for at least three stories a day, three times a week, for 10 weeks, which totals at least 72 stories for the duration of the program. 

“Reading is life's most important skill. With the significant decline in reading and learning over the pandemic we've taken action with DC, the leader of high impact tutoring, to provide the tools and practice for students to become great readers,” said Mark Angel, CEO and Co-Founder of Amira Learning. “Amira uses AI to make practice fun and productive. Amira listens as a child reads aloud, then provides personalized tutoring and encouragement to build reading skills.” 

“As the largest K-12 learning technology company, HMH works with school districts nationwide and we are seeing firsthand the impact that our partnership with Amira is making each day—fueling literacy growth for students and supporting educators with meaningful insights and tools for differentiation, even amidst the challenges of the past year,” said Matthew Mugo Fields, General Manager and EVP, Supplemental and Intervention Solutions, HMH. “We're excited to see our D.C. students dive into reading with Amira this summer and beyond.” 

The initiative falls under D.C.'s larger “Read20: Summer Challenge 2021” program focused on accelerating reading and learning among all students by reading 20 minutes a day. The goal of D.C. Reads with Amira is to encourage students to read as much as possible via access to Amira's personalized AI reading tutor anytime and anywhere they have a basic internet connection, whether a student is at home or at school.

Participating students who read regularly with Amira throughout the summer will be eligible to receive recognition and prizes, including special opportunities from the Washington National Football Team, Washington Nationals, and D.C. United of Major League Soccer. Additional details on prizes will be announced in the coming weeks.

First-of-its-Kind AI Tutor Technology

Amira's technology uses AI to listen to a child as they read and respond along the way.  When Amira identifies an opportunity to help build or reinforce a child's foundational reading skills, Amira delivers personalized “micro-interventions” that were developed in partnership with many of the country's top reading experts. Through its partnership with learning technology company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which reaches more than 90% of the country's K-12 classrooms, Amira is already used in over 300 school districts across the U.S. 

To sign up and learn more about the “D.C. Reads With Amira” program, parents and students can visit https://www.amiralearning.com/dcps

About Amira Learning 

Founded by a team of former engineers and executives from Pearson, IBM, ACT, and Renaissance, and nested in 20 years of research from Carnegie Mellon, Amira Learning is on a mission to help close the 32 million person word gap in America by creating personalized and engaging reading experiences for children. 

 Amira Learning software is currently being used by over 300 school districts in 48 states, and 6 countries globally, through a partnership with learning technology company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  If you are a district administrator and would like to introduce Amira Learning into your classroom, visit https://www.hmhco.com/programs/amira. In March, Amira Learning launched its brand new at-home app, Read with Amira. Right now, parents can accelerate their child's reading journey for only $7.99 per month by visiting www.readwithamira.com

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (NASDAQ: HMHC) is a learning technology company committed to delivering connected solutions that engage learners, empower educators and improve student outcomes. As a leading provider of K–12 core curriculum, supplemental and intervention solutions and professional learning services, HMH partners with educators and school districts to uncover solutions that unlock students' potential and extend teachers' capabilities. HMH serves more than 50 million students and 3 million educators in 150 countries. For more information, visit www.hmhco.com.

— WebWireID275933 —


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