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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Partners with AI-Powered Reading Startup

Learning company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) and Amira Learning today announced an exclusive partnership serving U.S. schools designed to accelerate reading mastery for K-3 learners. HMH will offer Amira’s speech recognition and artificial intelligence software with a focus on streamlining oral fluency assessment for educators and tutoring for learners. 

Amira enables one-on-one oral fluency assessment for multiple students at one time. 

Rooted in research licensed from Carnegie Mellon University, Amira employs AI to recognize children’s speech, conduct curriculum-based measurement, and recommend resources. Rather than reading silently on their own, developmental readers can read aloud with Amira and experience real-time tutoring.

The software has been tested in different contexts and with different student populations, including classrooms in Chicago; Pittsburgh; Vancouver, Canada; Accra, Ghana; Bangalore, India, among others. There are more than 100 published research papers on Amira. In field trials conducted by leading researchers, students using Amira performed better than control groups of students doing silent sustained reading, and they performed on-par with certified human tutors on most skills. Effect sizes for Bilingual and English Language Learner students were even higher than for English-first students.

Amira has been selected as a finalist for the SXSW Launch competition and will present in front of a live audience and industry judges on Tuesday, March 5 during the SXSW EDU conference in Austin, Texas. Presented by the Walton Family Foundation, Launch features the start-ups deemed the year’s most innovative new companies.

Schools and districts that are interested in learning more about Amira can contact HMH at: https://www.hmhco.com/forms/contact-amira