The Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University's Graduate School of Education (HGSE), and Florida State University (FSU) have announced a joint effort to help improve early childhood literacy in the United States.
Funded by a $30 million grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Reach Every Reader project is aimed at ensuring that every child learns to read at grade level by the end of third grade. To that end, the grant will fund research at the three universities on how personalized learning can improve early childhood literacy, the development of diagnostic tools and interventions that help at-risk children before they fail, and efforts to advance conversations and instructional strategies around personalized learning among educators, caregivers, and policy makers. In addition to MITili, HGSE, and FSU's College of Communication and Information and Florida Center for Reading Research, the initiative will partner with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District in North Carolina.
Research has shown that students who fail to read adequately in first grade face a 90 percent likelihood of reading poorly in fourth grade and a 75 percent likelihood of reading poorly in high school. Reach Every Reader will examine which interventions work for which students and will work with schools to deliver those interventions to kindergarteners in summer programs and, over the longer term, integrate those tools into the school curriculum.
"This new collaboration between MITili and HGSE synergizes MIT's strengths in science and engineering with HGSE's expertise in the education of children," said MITili director John Gabrieli, whose team is developing a Web-based tool for the early identification of reading challenges based on his research on the neural and cognitive development of learning in children. "In addition, working with researchers in the Florida Center for Reading Research and College of Communication and Information at FSU will help us gain expertise in early literacy screening and assessment. We need all this knowledge to improve education, especially for children most vulnerable to falling behind."
"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," said CZI co-founder Priscilla Chan, who also is the founder and CEO of The Primary School, a community partnership school dedicated to improving health and educational outcomes for underserved children. "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."
(Photo credit: Massachusetts Institute of Technology)