Exciting innovations in technology have wildly evolved over the last decade. You can hold the universe in the palm of your hand, view high-definition videos with lightning speed, and connect with people all over the world with a simple tap on a screen. Pretty cool, right?
But what do these technological innovations mean for old-fashioned reading? Is technology taking over?
The answer is yes, but the benefits of reading do not decrease as technology booms. In fact, the benefits of reading become more important than ever before.
Screen time use by children, tweens, and teens has doubled in the last five years and continues to grow. Teens are connected to screens for videos, TV shows, movies, social media, video games, and more. Phones, tablets, laptops, and televisions are a huge part of their daily lives—so let’s use them for good, and fun.
Technology + Reading = Win
Did you know that 8 to 12-year-olds use around five hours of screen time per day while teens average around 7.5 hours per day? These averages don’t account for homework or learning time. Reading for fun decreases the older a child gets, especially if reading isn’t established as a daily habit.
Technology is an excellent way to enhance learning by increasing the brain’s ability to assimilate and decode information. This juxtaposition between increases in screen time and decreases in reading time is cited as one reason for the literacy crisis in America, where less than 35% of students are proficient readers.
There is a way to reverse both disparate trends. Make screen time reading time by simply turning on the closed captions. Every 30 minutes of screen time equals reading 30 pages of a book!
So how does Kids Read Now help?
When most people think of summer, they easily envision backyard barbecues, swimming pools, vacation, and long lazy days in the sun. When we think about summer, we think about the dreaded summer slide and how it disproportionately affects disadvantaged students.
Over summer, a divide plagues those from lower income families and places them at a sharp disadvantage in obtaining books or accessing online learning tools. Our reading programs are the easiest way to deliver high-quality, reading-range-ready books to kids at their home address—no technology needed! So, crack open that book to create a healthy, lifelong habit and turn on closed captions whenever you can!
TROY, Ohio (WDTN) – Every summer since 2012, the Kids Read Now organization sends books to 130 different school districts to combat “summer slide” or learning loss.
This year, as the coronavirus shut down could potentially keep kids out of school for at least 5 months, there are tens of thousands of students facing new challenges.
Leib Lurie, the founder of Kids Read Now based in Troy, says economically disadvantaged students are more vulnerable when it comes to learning loss especially during the shutdown.
“Just over half of poor households have no highspeed internet connection and only 30 [to] 40 percent only have a phone,” said Lurie. “We have a lot of parents struggling just to keep their kids fed…”
In response, the nonprofit is ramping up its program early for “Spring Fling.” Schools can enroll in the program and help their students pick a wishlist of books for the summer.
The books each come with Discovery Sheets to help students with reading comprehension. When a student is finished with a book, they text a code to a number and the next book in the queue is sent.
Lurie says more than 10,000 students are already signed up.
“We’re going to ship probably close to 600,000 books in the next eight or ten-weeks. Typically nine books reduce the summer reading slide by 27 days or 2 1/2 months of school days. Six hundred thousand books are going to get a lot of kids doing a whole lot of reading,” said Lurie.
Sending books on such a large scale does come at a cost, but it’s a price that Lurie is prepared to pay to see students succeed.
“Our mission is to improve literacy outcomes for children. So if we have to put another $1 million of cost into this to keep it going we’re going to do that,” said Lurie.
Kids Read Now is looking for volunteers as well as donations to keep their program afloat.
For more information on how you could help out click here.
A University of Wisconsin-Madison study has found that the Kids Read Now program decreases or eliminates the reading losses associated with summer break
(TROY, Ohio) Sept. 10,2019 — According to a new study of the program’s efficacy, Kids Read Now (KRN), a leading supplemental reading program designed to combat summer slide, completely negates summer reading losses for low-income students when fully implemented. Estimated at two months of learning each summer, those losses accumulate over time.
Designed for K–3 students, Kids Read Now allows students to create a list of nine books they want to read over the summer from a vast library of educator-approved titles. In the spring, participating schools host a Family Reading Night to encourage parental involvement. Each student receives three books from their list, with a new book to be delivered to their home throughout the summer each time they report completing a previous title. Each book comes with a set of questions to assist students with comprehension and help parents connect with their child’s reading. Students who complete all nine books receive a certificate of completion, a reward, and a celebration in the fall.
The new study, led by Geoffrey D. Borman, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, found that “when students and parents take advantage of the full complement of 9 books delivered by KRN, the results are…equivalent to approximately 2.5 months of learning, or nearly 28% of the learning that takes place over a typical school year.”
“Our results indicate that the impact of Kids Read Now can more than eradicate the entire two months of summer learning loss experienced by low-income students,” said Borman.
Other key findings of the report include the following:
The average impact of KRN among all participating students is equivalent to 1.7 months of learning, or almost 20% of a full school year;
With full implementation [reporting 9 books read] outcomes showing an impact of 0.18 standard deviations, KRN has “essentially the same” impact as more intensive and expensive school-based programs, which have an average impact of 0.19 standard deviations.
“At a cost of 50 cents per day, which can be fully reimbursable with title funds, KRN is 98% as effective as summer school reading programs,” said Leib Lurie, the CEO of Kids Read Now, “making it an economical and effective supplement to summer learning initiatives that is available to all students, augmenting targeted summer programs where significant RTI is required, and where transportation challenges impact those who cannot attend traditional summer programs.”
About Kids Read Now Kids Read Now (KRN) is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization on a mission to help all students become proficient readers as they enter fourth grade. KRN’s in-home summer reading program was pedagogically designed to prevent summer learning loss, which is responsible for 65% of the learning gap between economically disadvantaged students and their peers. The program has provided more than 800,000 books to 60,000 students in grades K–3 across the United States at no cost to the students or their families. To learn more, visit KidsReadNow.org.