An Interview with Maribel Rivera, Second Grade Teacher Wakulla Charter School of Arts, Science, and Technology, St. Marks, Florida.
Wakulla Charter School of Arts, Science and Technology needed a reading program comparable to our math program. Before the school year began, I researched reading programs and found MindPlay Virtual Reading Coach (MVRC). We evaluated the program and decided it was a good choice for our school.
In September 2015, we placed all of our students on it and are extremely happy with the results. When students in our school began the program in September 2015, their reading levels varied. Some were 1-2 reading grade levels below their current grade level, while others began at 1-2 reading grade levels above their current grade. We have some kindergarten students using the program, however, the majority are from first to eighth-grade.
We service Exceptional Student Education (ESE) (Special Education, elementary ) students for language, and speech as well as struggling students going through Florida’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). Most students work on the program four times a week for 30 minutes, but we have increased that to five times a week for our students using the MTSS process.
Students have been using this program for approximately seven months.
Outstanding Success for Second Grade Students:
I personally saw tremendous growth in my 22 students’ reading skills, not only with my struggling readers but the class as a whole. I used MVRC with fidelity, and as the months passed, their progress on MindPlay was outstanding. This translated to their classroom work as well, demonstrating vast improvement within the various strands of English language arts.
I saw several of my students go from below grade level to now being on grade level. My students who were on reading grade level or above continued to push and jumped 2-3 grade levels. I have second graders reading on an almost sixth-grade level as measured by the STAR assessment, and those that I was concerned about at the beginning of the year are no longer struggling readers.
According to the September 2015, pre-test, and March 2016, post-test, my students have made significant reading improvements: 11 critical to 3 critical, 2 approaching to 2 approaching, 7 meeting to 6 meeting, and 1 exceeding to 10 exceeding.
In the early days of using the program, I made sure to point out the stars at the bottom of the screen. I explained that as they answered correctly, the stars would fill up, and they would be able to move onto another activity. The students wanted to compete against each other to see who could fill up their stars the fastest. This kept them going for quite some time.
After a month or two, I tied their percent completion into a reward system we have in the classroom called the Super Improvers Wall. From week to week, as students showed that their percent completion improved, they received stars on the wall. When they got to 10 stars, they moved up a level.
Students now live and work hard to get those stars which motivates them all on its own.
Praise for MVRC:
I think MindPlay has created a failsafe program in which any student can succeed. MVRC begins with an in depth assessment and then targets learning on a student’s level in the specific areas of his or her struggle.
The program requires 100 percent mastery on a specific reading skill before it moves students to the next skill, leaving no room for error. It incorporates fun by allowing students to customize backgrounds and avatars and play games that make mastering their skills and earning those gems their ultimate focus.
Students love to play games, enjoy things that they can make their own, and get excited about seeing their progress as compared to their peers. The program is easy to use, and the teacher reports are fantastic. All of this ties into the ultimate success that our students have had at Wakulla Charter School. Students working on MVRC showed tremendous reading growth which translates to improvement in the various content areas they are studying.
Many students went from “critical” to “meeting” or “exceeding” grade level goals. I am very grateful and happy that I had the opportunity to find MVRC and meet the good people behind it. MVRC was a great choice for our school!