middle school student with teacher and iPad

Piqosity’s new English Language Arts (ELA) courses will help students improve their reading and writing skills and can be used for after-school enrichment and remediation or as a complete school curriculum substitute. This guide will show parents or educators how to get started with Piqosity’s wealth of curriculum-aligned content.

Compared to traditional strip-mall learning centers:

  • Piqosity upgrades tired, paper worksheets to adaptive, gamified problem sets.
  • Slow, hand-graded practice is replaced with instant, machine-scored strengths & weakness analysis.
  • And Piqosity can be used with any tutor or teacher, including hands-on parents.

How to Use Piqosity’s English Language Arts (ELA) Courses

  1. Quick Start Guide to Improving Reading and Writing Skills with Piqosity (this guide)
  2. Navigation Guide to Piqosity’s ELA Courses

Getting Started

Piqosity’s grade-specific English Language Arts (ELA) courses for Reading and Writing include more than 40 hours of material:

  1. Lessons on Reading & Writing Skills (30+ lessons)
  2. Close Reading Passage Practice Units (50+ passages)
  3. Full-Length Novel Walk-Throughs Units (1-2 novels)

This content can occupy students for a full academic year and is equivalent to 5 typical classroom books: Writing Handbook, Reading Manual, Anthology, Classic Novel 1, and Classic Novel 2.

Piqosity’s modular content is personalizable and can easily be spaced out across weekly study sessions:

  • Study lessons sequentially by skill or only reference as-needed
  • Work passages sequentially by genre or randomly as interest allows
  • Read novels in their entirety from start to finish, pausing to work chapter-specific questions

Studying Lessons

Piqosity English Lesson on CommasPiqosity’s concept lessons are similar to two popular textbooks that students typically use in a classroom setting—a writing handbook and reading manual. Depending on the grade level, Piqosity’s English courses generally include about 35 instructional lessons which teach core concepts in 4 primary topics:

  1. Reading like “Figures of Speech” and “Rhetorical Devices”
  2. Writing like “Transition Words” and “Citing Evidence”
  3. Language like “Punctuation” and “Subject-Verb Agreement”
  4. Speaking & Listening like “Presentation Skills”

Students can quickly reference lessons as-needed or thoroughly study them sequentially. When worked sequentially, each lesson requires about half an hour to complete when the attached check-for-understanding questions are included.

Piqosity Virtual Tutor (PVT) will automatically guide students sequentially through the lessons if students so desire.

Working Reading Passages

Piqosity ELA Reading Units including NovelsEach Piqosity English course includes four units of close reading passages categorized by genre such as short stories, informational texts, traditional tales, and argumentative texts. In a classroom setting, this collection of passages is equivalent to an anthology book.

Passages are generally between 600-1000 words in length and are followed by 10-30 questions, which test students’ ability to identify key elements like:

  • Main Idea
  • Supporting Ideas
  • Organization & Logic
  • Tone, Style, and Figurative Language
  • Inference

Students can skip around between passages according to their interest or work through each genre-specific unit sequentially. Passages generally require between 15 minutes and 45 minutes each to complete.

Reading Novels

Reading Novels - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Chapter IIn addition to close reading passages, each Piqosity English course includes 2* walk throughs of full-length, classic novels. For example, the ELA-5 course guides students through Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Secret Garden.

Students can read the entire book in the Piqosity app; they do not have to possess a paper copy. Each chapter is presented in its entirety followed by:

  • Questions on the chapter as a whole
  • 1 to 3 close reading passage excerpts followed by questions

Students should work through full-length novels sequentially, and the time it takes them to complete the unit depends primarily on their reading speed but could take from 7 hours for a shorter book like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to 17 hours for a longer book like The Secret Garden.

Monitoring Progress

Students know that they’re doing well when their percentage correct accuracy increases to as close to 100% as possible. This number is displayed at the end of each quiz and on the student’s dashboard. The “potential” or “predicted” score shows the student’s accuracy over just the last 25-questions worked in a topic and therefore provides a current snapshot of capability.

Piqosity’s ELA questions vary in difficulty, and students should be able to tackle increasingly hard questions with more practice. While practice sets are timed at 90 seconds per question, students should focus first on accuracy and later on speed.

Piqosity’s questions are peer-normed, meaning that their 9 levels of difficulty (easy 1 to hard 9) are in relation to what percentage of grade-specific students are answering them correctly; however, given how new the ELA courses are, it will take time for these statistics to accurately reflect the US student population.

Role of Parents and Educators

Students can work through the course alone but will get maximum benefit with the guidance from a parent or educator. We recommend that an adult:

  1. Read and work the same questions as the student
  2. Be prepared to discuss the passage and the correct answers

Adults need not be a certified English teacher to help their child; Piqosity provides a detailed explanation to almost every question, and the concept lessons explain key ideas such as “how to use a comma” or “understanding the author’s intent.” Piqosity also includes a Question and Answer feature where you can ask for further clarification from the Piqosity community.

Sample Study Plans

Below are sample 1-hour study plans integrating lessons, passages, and novels; note that many students will forego scheduling the lessons and only review them as-needed.

Session 1

  1. Work the ELA 5 Mini Diagnostic (60 minutes)

Session 2

  1. Study the lesson on “Main Idea,” and work questions (15)
  2. Read the short story “The Tale of Brownie Beaver,” and work questions (30)
  3. Read the informational text “The Science of Sneezing,” and work questions (15)

Session 3

  1. Study the lesson on “Supporting Ideas,” and work questions (15)
  2. Read the short story “The Tale of the Miley Cow,” and work questions (30)
  3. Read the informational text “Why do Old People Hate New Music,” and work questions (15)

Session 10

  1. Study the lesson on “Structure and Development,” and work questions (15)
  2. Read chapter 1 of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and work questions (45)