“Teachers talk about how it has enabled students who would otherwise not get intensive one-on-one instruction they need,” Sliwerski says. While students improve their literacy comprehension, she says, they also feel socially and emotionally supported and can better understand what the teacher is teaching in other subjects. “Imagine being a third grader who can’t read the word ‘mug’ and go from not reading a word to reading paragraphs of text and how that fundamentally shifts their ideas of learning and feelings about themselves,” she says.
In January, the nonprofit Ignite! Reading extended to 325 students in six schools in three states. April marked the next phase of expansion, adding another seven schools, now with 13 schools serving 630 students across California, New York, Massachusetts, Oregon, North Carolina and Indiana. This fall, it will expand to approximately 20 schools, focused on young learners, especially first grade.