Printed from Afterschool Curriculum Choice - Literacy

Curriculum Details for
AMP (Accelerating Maximum Potential) Reading Intervention

Practitioner Expert
Content Expert
AMP (Accelerating Maximum Potential) Reading Intervention
Publication Date: 2005
Grade Level: 6–12
Content Focus: Literacy/Language Arts: Reading
Costs: $1,499 per 24 students
The costs shown were accurate at the time of the review. Please check the publisher's web site for current prices.
Developer Contact Information
Pearson Learning Group
6601 West Canal Point Lane
Fort Wayne, IN, 46804

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Program Description

Design Summary

The AMP Reading Intervention System is an intensive reading program designed to close reading gaps for students in middle and high school who read three or more years below grade level. The program focuses on comprehension strategies, vocabulary, and building fluency through the use of explicit instruction and highly engaging student materials. The AMP system is appropriate for school and afterschool settings. There are additional components that are designed specifically for use in afterschool, summer school, or community-based programs.

The AMP Reading Intervention comes in three levels, including seven units containing 18 lessons each.  All levels are geared toward middle or high school age students reading below grade level: Level 1 is for those reading on a 3rd or 4th grade reading level, Level 2 is for those on a 4th or 5th grade reading level, and Level 3 is for those on a 5th or 6th grade reading level. Each level includes a student guide, teacher's edition, AMP library books, assessment masters, and customized reading strategies (for use by other content area teachers). Also included is the Power Start CD to orient teachers to program materials and their intended use.

Costs and Staff Training

The curriculum costs $1,499 for 24 students. All materials are priced as smaller bundles to accommodate smaller afterschool sales. There are no discounts available.

Training is not required to purchase and use AMP with a few sites. The Power Start training CD should provide necessary training for staff. However, training may be required for large scale implementation. If this is the case, the estimated cost is $1,500 for a half day of training and $3,000 for a full day for 50 participants (if not priced as part of curriculum package). Funding assistance might be available in some situations.

Staff Qualifications

The program is explicitly designed so that nearly any educator can implement the reading program. Practitioner and content expert reviews support this, while content experts also suggest that some understanding of how to adapt activities and go “off script” would be helpful.

Standards Alignment

  • National: None specified.
  • State: None specified. It is designed to improve students' overall reading skills.

Research Base

AMP Reading was developed with the sound underpinnings of findings from more than 200 studies in comprehension reviewed by the National Reading Panel.

Evaluation Details

As the curriculum is new, it is undergoing evaluation. AMP is currently being validated in a one-year study conducted by McREL. This is a gold standard study using RCT. There are research papers, fact sheets and other AMP literature available for review by interested parties, and other information is available here:

Overall Strengths/Overall Challenges

  • Curriculum is highly structured and well-organized, providing for continued reinforcement of content.
  • Content is high quality, visually engaging, and seems to be high interest to students.

  • Teaches in a systematic and structured fashion.  

  • Variety of book topics allows integration into different content areas.

  • Seems to build confidence in students. 
  • Teacher self-evaluation at end of each unit provides teachers with a chance to reflect on their teaching.          
  • All activities involve students sitting at their desks reading, writing, or speaking.
  • Content and structure remains the same throughout most of the curriculum.
  • Teachers are expected to stick closely to the direction provided.

Practitioner Expert Review

Practitioner Expert Background

This AMP reviewer has a Masters of Education in both Reading Education and Curriculum and Instruction. She has been a classroom teacher for over ten years and a reading specialist for five years.  For the past two years, she has used AMP on a daily basis with seventh grade classrooms.  Her 35 students enter the AMP classroom reading 1 - 2.5 grades below their current grade level.  These students are of multiple income levels and racial backgrounds, and several are English language learners.


  • Training was positive and effective
  • Preparation consists of reading through each lesson and tweaking it to meet own teaching style.

Student Engagement

  • Teacher's guide provides a paragraph on "engagement" at the beginning of each lesson, encouraging teachers to think about how to best engage students in the lesson.
  • Students have mixed reactions to the structure of the curriculum. Reaction is most positive when students are allowed to work in pairs or small groups.
  • Students are most drawn to the topics of the stories.


Adaptability to instructor needs 

  • Lessons are highly prescribed.  This allows teachers to spend more time working with individual students.

  • Structure allows teachers to focus on how they are delivering the program.
General skills taught 

  • AMP is "a program of mastery." Students who use it become more confident in their skills.

  • Some books have topics that contain messages and ideas that may teach valuable lessons to students, such as overcoming adversity and encouraging a desire to learn.

Addressing diverse student needs

  • Supplemental materials for English language learners are built in to the curriculum. 
  • Student guidebook is colorful, attractive, skin tones of characters meets the diversity of the students.
  • Focus on non-fiction content seems appealing and accessible to students of all backgrounds.

Strengths and Challenges

  • Highly researched
  • Teaches in a systematic and structured fashion.  

  • Variety of book topics allow you to integrate it into different content areas
  • High interest themes
  • Builds confidence in students
  • Teacher self-evaluation at end of each unit provides teachers a chance to reflect on how they have done
  • Content and structure remains the same throughout most of the curriculum.
  • Teachers are expected to stick closely to the direction provided.

Content Expert Review

Content Expert Reviewer

Erin Schilling
Erin Schilling brings her wealth of experience of teaching and studying English to her reviews of literacy curriculum. She taught English at a charter school in Boston, Massachusetts, for four years, and during that time served a Lead Teacher, overseeing the development of English Language Arts Curriculum for the school. She also monitored the allocation of school resources for English Language Learners, and researched and implemented a Sustained Silent Reading Program. She has a bachelor of science in English from Northwestern University, a Master of Education in Teaching and Learning as well as a Master of Education in Risk and Prevention, both from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is currently the Site Supervisor at Options Academy - The Arts in Hamilton, Ohio.


  • Lessons alternate between vocabulary and comprehension, with structured writing exercises at the end of each unit.
  • Vocabulary is also found throughout the AMP library books and used to teach basics of word usage.
  • Content is high interest and compelling, including such topics as extreme sports, space exploration, making movies, pyramids and skyscrapers, ancient lives and medical miracles.
  • Graphics are bright and create a magazine-like feel, and would likely be very attractive to students up to 7th and 8th grade.
  • Stories deal with specific incidents, helping to make content feel more genuine and immediate.


Academic Skills
  • Comprehension strategies: Summarizing, questioning, previewing, text structure, visualizing, inferencing, and metacognition
  • Vocabulary acquisition and correct usage
  • Writing skills: Sentence and paragraph types, various essay styles
  • Language skills: recognition of parts of speech, punctuation, self-editing, and spelling
Study Skills
  • Setting learning goals
  • Graphic organizers
  • Independent reading
Non-Academic Skills
  • Some opportunities for small group and partner work could allow for work on interpersonal skills.

Alignment to Standards

  • Not explicitly aligned with state or national standards.
  • Items outlined in the articulated scope and sequence are similar to those found in many states’ frameworks.


  • Blackline Masters are included for both mid-unit and end-of-unit assessment.
  • Students reflect on their progress toward unit goals both at mid-unit and at end-of-unit.
  • Informal assessment is included in the teacher script.


  • This curriculum is structured, including a teacher script with timing of exercise and exact wording for teacher.
  • Overall pacing calendar is provided, tailored to 90-minute, 45-50-minute, and afterschool classes.
  • Content is entirely defined by the curriculum
  • Activities are wholly teacher-directed.

Addressing Diverse Student Needs

  • Each teacher’s edition contains a page dedicated to “strategies for meeting diverse needs,” including seating plans and various forms (oral, visual) of giving directions and practicing skills
Developmental level
  • Content seems to be high-interest for early adolescents.
  • Provides cyclical reinforcement of skills that is effective with this age group. 
  • Students are asked to express their own opinions and relate topics to own lives
  • Lessons are chunked into sections of 30 minutes or less, with 15 minutes of independent reading.
  • Teacher’s guide includes suggestions on how to model socially appropriate ways to communicate.
Learning Styles Addressed
  • Does not explicitly address movement/spatial learning, artistic learning, kinesthetic learning, or interpersonal learning.
  • Concerted effort is made to address the needs of English language learners, strategies for engaging these students in content are found on every page of teacher’s edition.
  • Visuals and text make an effort to draw from different racial and ethnic groups and include stories from different regions of the world.

Strengths and Challenges

Strongest Features:
  • Curriculum is highly organized and all materials are provided.
  • Seems to be easy to implement.
  • Structure allows for continued reinforcement of content and seems to encourage students to be confident when approaching the material.
Challenges and Drawbacks:
  • All activities involve students sitting at desks reading, writing, or speaking about text or vocabulary.
  • Very few activities involve students getting out of their desks or doing creative work.
  • Teachers with an active group of students might need to improvise and add some additional activities to vary the approach to learning.

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