Digital supplemental ELA program to develop close reading skills in grades 6-8

App of the Week

12 word description of app/product:

Digital supplemental ELA program to develop close reading skills in grades 6-8

Formats: Website


What does it help with?  Close reading, the practice of analyzing a text to determine what it says and how it says it, is a skill prioritized by recent middle school ELA standards, which have placed renewed emphasis on text-dependent analysis of literary and informational texts.  We know that great storytelling can capture students’ imaginations, which is why Amplify Close Reading — a digital graphic novel adventure — engages students in a suspenseful story while developing their close reading skills

What grade and age range?  6-8

Is this core/supplemental/special needs/extracurricular/professional development or what?  Supplemental

What subject, topic, what standards is it mapped to?  ELA, CCSS

What lesson time does it use?

Most teachers are using the program for skills reinforcement and test prep. For skill reinforcement, we recommend 20-30 minutes 2-3 times per week.

What is the pricing model?

Exact pricing varies depending on the needs of the school.  To learn more about the product and its pricing, contact us at

Are there services around it?  NO

What makes _______ unique?

The program is rigorous and riveting. Rigorous because it includes instruction and practice to make sure students have a deep understanding of the close reading concepts. Riveting because students are the heroes of the story that grabs their attention and never lets it go.

A description of the characteristics--how is it designed for user interface, user experience? What instructional design principles are at work here?

Amplify Close Reading was developed in partnership with literacy expert Tim Shanahan, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chi­cago

Unlike other reading supplementals which rely solely on assessment questions and feedback, Amplify Close Reading seamlessly weaves digital instruction with assessment within an immersive story where the analysis of text is a critical element in the plot.

This combination of differentiated content and pedagogy with the creativity and purpose of storytelling results in something that truly engages students and gives them a rock-solid ability to tackle complex text.

Each chapter includes interactive instruction, guided close reading, and creative application. This leverages the tried and true pedagogical strategy of “I do, we do, you do.”

Teacher reviews:

Teacher name, position, school

Kris Wren, 7th grade ELA teacher, Central Middle School in New Madrid, MO

“I recommend it all the time to colleagues because it’s such a great program.  My students are very focused when they are playing the program. They don’t realize they are building skills and developing close reading skills. They enjoy it and ask for it.”

Teacher name, position, school

Amber Mitchell, Junior High ELA Teacher, Escondido Christian School, CA

“My students love the program, and they don't even realize they are learning some tough concepts. Their reading scores are improving even since the beginning of the year. They get excited when they get to work on it in class.”

Teacher name, position, school

Bonnie Warne, ELA Teacher, South Fremont High School, ID

“This is one of the first quality online programs that I have done with my students, and I have tried many.”