Student Reading Soars with MindPlay Distance Learning


Distance learning does not need to cause skill loss as is often a common assumption. In some instances, it can be quite the opposite. A case in point is MindPlay Virtual Reading Coach (MVRC). Education leaders and parents are reporting remarkable student reading progress while using MindPlay in distance learning settings. Some districts have seen students making unprecedented growth with MVRC in ongoing distance learning; others note remarkable student gains in reading in just the short two-month period schools were closed at the end of the year. Below, a quick sampling of findings.

Dayton Public Schools

Dayton Public Schools (OH), which assigns MindPlay Virtual Reading Coach (MVRC) to all second-through-ninth graders, instituted school closures on March 16th and from that date until mid-May, saw tremendous achievement by many of their students. In fact, the impact was beyond significant. More than 600 students studying from home gained a year’s growth in reading in just that short window of time.

Faculty supported students from afar during closures as learners went online from home for personalized lessons, assessments, instruction from virtual speech pathologists, and more. MVRC offered detailed data on each student’s progress to aid educators and parents in making any additional extended intervention opportunities available. Skill mastery was celebrated with the program’s printable award certificates.

MindPlay works for all students in the Dayton district, as it helps those who struggle with reading as well as average and advanced learners who can get a leg up in all subject areas with increased reading fluency and comprehension.

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Nye County School District

Rural Nye County (NV), School District encompasses a vast geographical area. In fact, it is the largest district by area in the country outside of Alaska. Comprised of urban, suburban and rural communities, it is also the poorest county in the state of Nevada and home to some of the state’s lowest-performing schools.

One of the district’s major challenges is servicing the high number of English language learners (ELL) attending remote, rural schools, where teachers sometimes need to teach all subjects and grade levels from Kindergarten through eighth-grade and resources are sparse.

At one rural combination elementary and middle school there were classrooms where more than 90 percent of ELL students failed to make adequate progress on either the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) standardized state assessment, the English Language Proficiency exam, or both. At this school, 98 percent of students are Spanish speaking.

In early January of 2020, the district put that school and two other remote middle schools on MVRC. There were 175 total students among the three schools that had achieved 20 or more hours of MVRC usage for the year by March.  The district found the average grade level reading growth of those 175 students was 1.7 years within that six-month period.

As soon as teachers began seeing the needle move for their struggling ELL and special education learners, they broadly embraced the program. MindPlay was the solution for data tracking and personalization they were unable to do otherwise. An adaptive program, MindPlay enables effective differentiation that even accomplished teachers can’t realistically do in multi-grade classrooms with reading levels that cover the entire spectrum. It remediates to a level of specificity that is needed for successful instructional intervention.

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EPIC School District

MindPlay Virtual Reading Coach (MVRC) helped students in the online EPIC K-12 school district in Oklahoma make dramatic growth in reading skills over the fall semester of the 2019-2020 school year. Administrators say educators who used MVRC with their students reported 62 percent better results in reading growth over the semester than educators whose students did not use the program.

The EPIC online school district, now in its ninth year, serves students statewide and offers a broader selection of courses than regular “brick and mortar” districts do. It is the third largest district in the state and generally reflects the student skill diversity of other districts in the state. Many of EPIC’s students are professional athletes, actors and others who require more flexibility in their schooling than many of their peers do.

Considered an EPIC Essential, MVRC is the go-to reading program provided by the district and is available to serve all K-12 students. Currently, about 50 percent of the district’s student population of 30 thousand is using MVRC.

The MindPlay Virtual Reading Coach online program offers screening, assessment, instruction delivered by speech pathologists, multimedia personalized lessons, ongoing progress updates for teachers, parents, and school administrators, and many more features.

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 A Parent-Educator’s perspective.

An educator, home schooler and private tutor with a special certification in Structured Literacy, a parent of two children with dyslexia does her part to help find solutions as vice president of her local Long Island chapter of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA).

As a private reading tutor, she has become very familiar with a competitor of MindPlay. Though the program is good, she says, it is very expensive and thus inaccessible to most students who need it. The other issue is the length of time it takes for a learner to master the required reading skills, which is quite a while.

When schools closed down in March because of the coronavirus, she put her fifth-grade daughter on the very affordable MindPlay. Her daughter was struggling with reading and was beginning to lose confidence in herself and her ability to learn.

She had her daughter use MindPlay with fidelity, which meant only 30 minutes a day five days a week, and saw a quick change. “Since school has been closed, she is reading faster and with much more confidence, and her fluency has greatly improved, which is evident when I listen to her read aloud.”

In a recent letter to the reading expert who recommended the program, she wrote, “It’s now been about three months that she’s been on Mindplay and I’ve seen tremendous growth and confidence as a reader in my daughter that was literally non- existent before CO- VID.  She finished her first Harry Potter book and she’s onto book number two! She is ecstatic as am I!!!!! So thank you, thank you, thank you for including her in Mindplay and telling me about it.”

She will continue using MindPlay with her daughter, who appreciates the motivational celebratory certificates of mastery, which she can print out and post. A next step for her is to start a non-profit K-12 reading tutoring center in her district with MindPlay as the centerpiece. She notes that some form of distance learning is most likely here to stay and has observed that what normally lacks in distance learning is individualized instruction.

The advantage of MindPlay, she says, is the ability to accommodate all reading levels and all students across a K-12 spectrum. Struggling readers can make quick leaps in reading grade levels, and average and advanced students can get a leg up in fluency, comprehension and other areas, she says.

“I believe in literacy. If we can teach every kid to read at a proficient level, we can change the trajectory of their lives.”

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The MindPlay team. Note: the sample stories here were culled from a larger database of results on MindPlay posted here.