Iowa schools and after-school organizations deploy reading software

A growing number of schools and districts across Iowa are making the research-based MimioReading™ comprehension suite software their choice for developing elementary students’ reading and comprehension skills. In addition, two Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands in Council Bluffs and Carter Lake in Iowa and four of its clubs in Omaha neighboring Nebraska, have added MimioReading as an academic enrichment program and report a 37 percent increase in oral reading fluency among their seven- and eight-year-old club members. These programs join many others across the state, in Cedar Rapids, Charles City, Perry, Oskaloosa, Lynnville Sully and Panorama, which have purchased MimioReading during the past few years.

Aligned with Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, MimioReading programs teach strategies for mastering the four primary components of comprehension – finding facts, making inferences, identifying themes and the “main idea,” and learning vocabulary in context – via age-appropriate content and challenging activities that aim to improve retention and promote collaboration.

The software system offers a program for individualized instruction, which is designed to improve reading comprehension in grades three through five and provide intervention for grades five through eight. The program also includes MimioSprout™, which incorporates hundreds of instructional routines that automatically adapt to the specific needs and learning pace of each student. All routines have been tested for effectiveness and have been proven, both in the lab and in actual classrooms, to build basic reading skills.

Cedar Rapids Community School District, an urban district with 22 elementary schools, began using the reading program four years ago. The district faces significant challenges since nearly half of its students qualify for free and reduced lunches, and its teachers contend with a student population that collectively speaks 23 different languages.

“When our district first began using the program, we used the MimioSprout to support our beginning readers as they developed their basic phonics skills. Over time, we expanded use of the program to our struggling readers in the intermediate grades. The MimioReading software provides additional exposure for students needing support with their comprehension skills.” said Jennifer Nurre, Instructional Coach for Cedar Rapids Community School District. “As educators, we know this is the key to improving performance as measured on high-stakes standardized tests.”

Cedar Rapids kindergarteners use MimioSprout every day to develop their basic reading skills. In addition, Cedar Rapids students in grades one through five have daily access to the program as an intervention resource in the reading lab.

“The strategies in the program help non-readers become readers,” added Nurre. “I believe it produces greater academic success for our students as they move from learning to read to reading in order to learn in multiple curricular areas, including science, social studies, language arts, and mathematics.”

Also using MimioReading are Boys & Girls of the Midlands in Council Bluffs and Carter Lake. Like four other Boys & Girls Clubs in the neighboring state of Nebraska, they have found that the software delivers exceptional results that help the students in their Readers to Leaders childhood literacy program.

“Our seven-year-old club readers gained on average one school year’s worth of reading skills after just 12 weeks of using MimioReading three times per week,” said Julie Frizzell, reading program director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands. “The students also saw tremendous growth in their oral reading fluency scores -- soaring by 37 percent.”

Frizzell also noted they encountered unexpected results, too.

“We saw the children’s self-confidence improve, episodes of misbehavior decreased, and their overall attitude about reading became much more positive, they were really excited to use the program once they saw their individual results improve. I saw one child start the program unable to read aloud every other word in a book, and now he’s reading fluently!”