Liz Hessel, a reading teacher at Martinez Middle School in Tampa, is serious about her work. But when she first heard about TUNEin to READING, she had a hard time taking it seriously. Karaoke? Singing? What was the connection to reading?
“I was worried it was going to take away from our structured learning curriculum,” she recalls. “But it has actually enhanced it.”
How did this happen? As students sang and saw their scores increase, their confidence grew. Slow and halting reading started to flow into fluency – and improvements in other classes. One child in particular, a painfully shy newcomer with a strong accent, stands out in her mind. He was intrigued by TUNEin to READING and when he tried it, he liked it. His success with the software boosted his self-esteem and halfway through the 9-week session, he started answering her questions in class, giving oral reports and participating in discussions.
Ms. Hessel was also surprised to see TUNEin to READING ignite a spirit of friendly competition. Students helped each other adjust their vocal ranges and chose songs together so they could then compare scores. The shift in attitude and the courtesy continued into other classes. “They’re more willing now to give help and more willing to accept help,” she says. “I love that!”
Looking ahead, she hopes to use the software to motivate students in her intensive reading and remedial reading classes. Her school’s average gain for struggling readers using TUNEin to READING: 1.2 grade levels!