Reach Every Reader Aims to End Early Literacy Crisis








Faculty members at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili) announced they are launching Reach Every Reader, a five-year initiative combining the institutions’ expertise in cognitive science, reading, learning technologies, and evaluation to assist children in thriving and succeeding as readers.

While reading is essential for learning, students in the United States often complete elementary school with inadequate reading abilities, which can lead to difficulties throughout their academic careers. A student who fails to read in first grade has a 90% probability of reading poorly in fourth grade, and a 75% probability of reading poorly in high school, which has implication for success in life.

“Reading enables achievement in every dimension of life, and we have an extraordinary opportunity to combine knowledge of how individuals learn with technologies that will put remarkable interventions within reach for students across the country,” Harvard President Drew Faust says.

Reach Every Reader involves collaborators and researchers from the Florida Center for Reading Research and College of Communication and Information at Florida State University, as well as the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is supported by a $30 million grant from Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg, Co-Founders of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Dr. Priscilla Chan, Co-Founder of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Founder and CEO of The Primary School, says, “We are excited to support the launch of Reach Every Reader, a unique combination of cutting-edge education and neuroscience research to better understand how we can help every kid stay on track to reading on grade level by the end of third grade. I know from my work at The Primary School how important it is to identify learning barriers students face early and provide them with the right supports to succeed. This new program represents the type of bold, innovative thinking that we believe will help build a future for everyone and enable transformative learning experiences.”

The Reach Every Reader team will utilize a scientific approach to personalize diagnosis and intervention, and will develop and test a scalable, Web-based screening tool for reading difficulties that diagnoses underlying causes. They will also create a set of targeted home-school interventions that change the approach to intervention for young children with reading difficulties. The collaboration has five principal projects: Diagnostic Screener, Personalized Intervention, PreK Home and Family Engagement, Capacity Building for Educators and Families, and Integration and Building for the Future.

“For a young child, struggling to read can be a crushing blow with lifelong consequences. Multiply that experience by millions of children, and it’s a crisis for our society,” says MIT President L. Rafael Reif. “At MIT, we approach the problem as scientists and engineers: by seeking to understand the brain science of how learning happens, and by building innovative technologies and solutions to help. We are delighted to be able to contribute in these ways to the exciting collaboration behind Reach Every Reader.”

For additional information on the Reach Every Reader, visit their Web site.

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