Program Structure and Content
What is Amplify Close Reading?
We designed Amplify Close Reading specifically for middle school students to authentically engage them using high-interest age-appropriate story lines, choose your own adventure mechanics, and custom features to grow their reading skills and work with complex texts. In Amplify Close Reading, students experience rich, interactive instruction and practice around the critical work of close reading. Each week students set out on missions in The Last Readers, an interactive graphic novel set in a dystopian world, where the Machines have taken over and tell humans what they can and cannot read. Students must learn to read closely to uncover the deeper meanings in texts through a personalized, differentiated experience.
Can teachers lock or unlock which lessons students can complete?
The only option at this time is to unlock ALL chapters for ALL students. You cannot undo this action. We do not recommend this, as our chapters are sequenced in a very intentional way and the topics build on one another.
What content does Amplify Close Reading cover?
Amplify Close Reading teaches 22 units of close reading topics. Each unit covers a different approach to close reading. The topics alternate between informational and literary concepts and include the following:
How does Amplify Close Reading support struggling readers and English Learners?
Amplify Close Reading includes many supports for struggling readers, such as picture supports, reveal words (i.e., contextual definitions), specific and immediate feedback, and read-aloud functionality for all aspects of the program.
The program also includes an “Extra Support” track specifically designed for both students who are reading below the middle school level and emerging bilingual students (or ELs). The goal in this track is to simplify certain elements of the program such that the student is best able to focus on the close reading skill that is the learning goal of the unit. This track includes additional scaffolds and supports:
Additional reveal words, including reveal words for idiomatic language that ELs may not be familiar with
Additional picture supports
More instruction and review around complex topics
Simplified instructional text
Lower lexile (but still high quality, complex) texts for guided reading
Teachers can move students on and off the Extra Support track using the Teacher Dashboard.
What texts do students encounter?
Students will read passages from a wide variety of complex, grade-level informational and literary works. These include texts from multiple genres, cultures, and time periods. Genres include poetry, speeches, news articles, science fiction, fantasy, music lyrics, and more.
For example, students analyze the use of rhetoric in Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and Helen Keller’s "Strike Against War", contrast tone in “The Tables Turned” by William Wordsworth and "Notes on the Art of Poetry” by Dylan Thomas, and analyze the impact of narrative voice in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.
Do students read on-grade level texts?
Yes. The Lexile levels for authentic texts range from grades 5–8, as research suggests that close reading should take place with complex grade-level materials. The Lexile bands for the Core and Extra Support tracks are:
What happens when my students finish all of the units?
Students who finish all 22 chapters have completed Amplify Close Reading! This is a significant milestone to celebrate with your students.
We recommend these students replay any chapters that they scored low on, in order to try to improve their scores. If a student played in the Extra Support track, you might move them to the Core track and ask them to try to redo a chapter at this more advanced level.
How much should students play each week?
Students should play Amplify Close Reading for 30-45 minutes a week over the course of one to two sessions.
Do all students start at the same place?
All students will begin with Chapter 1 of the experience. The content in each close reading chapter builds on content from previous lessons. Over the years, we have found that many students have not yet learned these approaches to reading text before and that eighth graders do find these early chapters both engaging and challenging.
As students begin a second and third year of the program, they will continue where they left off in the previous year. By your community’s third year of implementation, eighth graders will begin roughly around Book 3 of the program.
Are different grades supposed to get through different amounts of content in a year?
Not necessarily. The program is designed so that students who play as recommended should complete 6-8 Chapters each year. However, if it is your district/school’s first year of implementation, it is okay to allow seventh and eighth grade students to play more than the recommended amount of time, since they will not have the opportunity to complete all three years of the program.
Where do students start year over year?
Students will begin where they left off in the previous year. For example, if a student completed Chapter 9 at the end of sixth grade, they will begin at Chapter 10 in seventh grade.
What data do teachers see on student performance?
For each attempt of each completed unit, you can see:
Track: Core or Extra Support
Percentage correct (Raw Score)
Time to complete chapter (in student view)
Item-level information - which items students got correct and incorrect, along with the correct responses (in student view)
Items for teacher to grade (in student view)
For each completed practice passage, you can see:
What is the national average in reference to?
It is in reference to all students who have used the program nationwide.
How do students track their progress?
As students move through the narrative, they will navigate across a map of the dystopian world of the story. In their progress view, students can see how many followers (points) they have gained, along with their raw scores on each chapter. Students earn followers for answering questions in each unit correctly on the first or second try, as well as for completing chapters. Students are able to unlock more avatar customizations as they earn more followers.
Is Amplify Close Reading accessible?
At this time, some elements of Amplify Close Reading are not yet fully accessible, but we are working diligently this year to achieve WCAG 2.0 AA accessibility.
What types of devices does it work on?
Amplify Close Reading is compatible with the following devices and configurations:
Note: Amplify Close Reading is not compatible with iPad or tablet devices at this time.