Skip to content

Holman Middle School Students See Impressive Reading Improvement with DreamBox Reading

Success Stories

holman middle school

Holman Middle School

Pattonville School District, St. Ann, Missouri

The overall vision for Holman Middle School is to provide a rigorous and relevant education for all students. The vision includes meeting individual needs in academic, social and emotional areas. The main goals and priorities for the school year, according to reading specialist Trina Cornell, are to help students reach grade-level reading targets, monitor their progress, and motivate them to become lifelong readers and writers.

DreamBox Reading's Impact

Holman Middle School has made excellent strides in meeting these goals. During the first year of DreamBox Reading implementation (2017-2018), students showed significant growth in their reading across the board. Tier 2 students averaged two level 1 of 2 gains with 40 hours of work in the program, and Tier 3 students averaged 2.5 level gains with 60 hours of instruction. Holman 7th and 8th graders made average reading proficiency gains above the national average, all completing 60 or more DreamBox Reading lessons. This success continued in the 2021-22 school year with students averaging 2.7 reading level gains.

Cornell explains that DreamBox Reading is implemented for students in general reading classes, grades 6-8. Students are assessed through InSight and Measures of Academic Progress® to determine fluency. Students who don’t show proficiency are enrolled in a reading class where DreamBox Reading is a major component. Upon completion, students test again to exit the class and choose a new elective. “Students who exit the reading program at grade level maintain those levels outside of our reading classes,” says Cornell.

While the results from using DreamBox are impressive, educators’ means of motivating students to reach and exceed goals has been nothing short of inspiring. Building community among the students and setting goals are major motivators.

We spend a great deal of time gathering information on our students through various surveys and modes to create the best learning environment for each of them. We also introduce soft skills—perseverance, determination, motivation—and connect [the skills] to our goals and expectations for the class.
quote filled
Trina Cornell
Reading Specialist, Holman Middle School

Lightbulb Moments

Students thrive on setting goals for themselves and achieving them. They choose what to focus on and what steps they’ll take weekly to meet their goals. At the end of the week, students revisit the goals they set on Friday and make adjustments.  They determine whether they reached their goals. 

Students also dive into ongoing teacher-led competitions and challenges with vigor. Competitions include:

  • Reading Olympics: Students complete five combos and 20 reading lessons at 80% or higher. 
  • Ready, Set, Go! A beginner competition where students learn the DreamBox Reading basics. 
  • Movin’ On Up: A two-week window to encourage students to level up in reading or vocabulary. 
  • Crushin’ It with Your Class: Students compete for highest average in reading and number of mastered vocabulary words. 

The results are amazing, according to Cornell. Students love winning prizes. The excitement and recognition keep them engaged and moving forward. DreamBox Reading has also changed the way educators decide to teach.

We used to focus on the end goal of grade-level reading achievement, now we focus on weekly goal setting and reflection, and this is important because it's where the magic happens. It's what students do on a daily basis that makes DreamBox Reading work for them. Giving students this ownership allows them the freedom to make decisions for themselves, and truly take control of their own reading progress.
quote filled
Trina Cornell
Reading Specialist, Holman Middle School

Personalized Teaching & Learning

Being able to personalize their learning is critical, and DreamBox Reading allows students to do that seamlessly.

The DreamBox Reading dashboards are favored by teachers and students alike. Teachers can collect information that helps them personalize lessons at each student’s right level. “On the Teacher Dashboard, we use the Assignments tab and the Student Overview tab daily,” explains Cornell. “The Student Overview tab has a great deal of information about each student, updating in real time. It gives us a beautiful snapshot of our students as readers—demonstrating where they have been, where they are and where they are headed.”

Students, on the other hand, love the Student Dashboard, which updates in real time as they complete lessons. They track their progress, set goals and make decision on what they want to learn. “It gives them the big picturecurrent reading rate, words read, closeness to leveling up, words mastered and types of stories that they enjoy reading,” says Cornell. “Choosing their backgrounds and avatars allows students to make this their own personal space and allows them to take ownership of their space in the program.”

By working with students at their skill levels, teachers have seen huge gains in their reading, confidence and motivation to reach their goals. At the same time, giving students a wide range of reading materials to choose from keeps them coming back for more.

Quick Facts

District Details

  • 11 schools serving 6,000+ students 
  • Holman Middle School serves 645 students
  • Partnered with DreamBox since 2017


  • DreamBox Reading

Classroom Application

  • Supplemental

Share This Story

Embark on Your Impact Journey with Discovery Education

Learn How Discovery Education Can Help You Achieve Your Goals