Jean Born had to be sure. As Director of Instruction for Sheboygan Falls School District, she knew that the Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) for her area had already negotiated special pricing with a publisher of literacy intervention software. But Born wanted to be sure that this solution was the very best available for her students. She decided to do a little research.
“I knew that if I was going to go outside the CESA-negotiated vendor, that I was going to have to do a little bit of homework,” Born explained. “If we were going ‘out of the box’ I needed to be sure.”
Jean Born, Director of Instruction
Born decided to take a hands-on approach in her research. Talking directly with school personnel from around the United States — specifically, classroom teachers and reading specialists — using literacy intervention software on a daily basis, Born soon hit upon a common theme: The Academy of READING by AutoSkill provides effective, measurable and lasting gains in literacy.
“Of the 19 Academy of READING schools I talked with, I didn’t hear one negative comment about the benefits offered,” Born said. “I talked with some people that were absolutely passionate about it.”
Among Born’s concerns was the amount of time each student needed on task to achieve gains and ease of implementation of the software. She was unsure about finding the time in the school day for the time-on-task prescribed by other literacy intervention tools. Her concerns were quelled by talking with Academy of READING users.
“There were no red flags, no surprises. It was a very easy implementation.”
The Sheboygan Falls School District recently completed their first year of using both Academy of READING and Academy of MATH and the results have supported Born’s pre-implementation research. District administrators have seen improvement with the students who are using the program.
“Learning disabled students are making great gains. We are seeing gains with our Title 1 and at-risk kids, too. It certainly has provided another tool for our teachers to use.”
Academy of READING students average more than one grade level gain on their reading comprehension test in less than 10 hours of direct training, and students show an average of 2.2 grade level gains after just 21 hours of direct training. Academy of MATH students realize an average gain of 2.1 grade levels in less than 10 hours of time on task.
Besides the lasting gains in literacy, the Academy of READING and Academy of MATH have provided additional benefits as well.
“Teachers are seeing kids that are more confident. The kids really have gained confidence and that’s huge.”