The ability to read is essential to success in modern life. The District grant P-3934 was a pilot test of the efficacy of using Kindle-for-Kids readers for middle school reading remediation. Because the success of that project, this grant application is intended to provide Kindle-for-Kids readers and Kindle book subscriptions students in other Larimer County middle schools whose reading ability is up to two levels below grade.
In September 2022, we provided 20 Kindle-for-Kids readers to a PSD (Poudre School District) middle school literacy coordinator. In early 2023 we gave them an additional 7 Kindle-for-Kids readers. Ursula Harrison (2022-2023 RAW President) also gave advice on their use gleaned from her earlier successful application of Kindles for reading remediation in high school. The results of less than a single semester of testing have shown that students who are significantly below grade level in reading can rapidly get up to grade level using the individualization of readings that Kindles offer.
The January 2023 results showed that the average growth in the prior semester was exceptional for those students with Kindle-for-Kids readers. For context on these numbers, the 50th percentile for 7th graders on this assessment nationwide is a 214 in the Fall and a 217 in the Winter. At 5.8 the Kindle readers nearly doubled the growth rate of the average student nationwide. The 7th grade cohort showed tremendous growth on this test this year, but the Kindle readers outperformed them as well. The 50th percentile for 7th Graders went from a 215.6 in the Fall to a 220.9 on the Winter test. The Kindle-for-Kids readers performed over half a point better than even their outstanding peers. Beyond the impressive numbers, we observed a substantial attitude and enthusiasm shift among many of the students that can only be attributed to access to these Kindle-for-Kids readers.
Reading ability is assessed from MAP assessment scores. The need for intervention is indicated by the student's MAP Growth Test Result score at the start of each semester. NWEA - which issues the MAP test - uses the Rasch Unit Scale (RIT) that simplifies interpretation of MAP results. This scale measures the value of a student's score in relation to his or her scores on previous tests. Each RIT score indicates a point on a continuous equal interval scale of learning much as a ruler measures in feet and inches. These NWEA scores cannot be interpreted as target scores, but rather as benchmarks of a student's academic skill level over a given period of time.
RAW Past President Ursula Harrison successfully introduced Kindle readers in high school. She will guide school literacy coordinators on how to optimize student benefit from Kindle-for-Kids readers. RAW members June Boon and Alicia Bono will also participate in the promotion of Kindle reading to schools and in setting up new programs.
Broadly, each student is assigned books appropriate to their reading level that are likely to be of interest to them. As the student completes each book, further books at progressively difficult reading levels are assigned. The school will assess progress in MAP reading scores at the end of each semester.
This program is sustainable in the long term. Kindle-for-Kids readers can be reassigned as students graduate from the program. The Kindle-for-Kids readers come with one year of access to a wide range of appropriate books. Yet, with this program we also will offer subscriptions for other Kindle books not included with the Kindle machine for the literacy coordinator to assign to students. This will extend the useful life of each Kindle-for-Kids reader and increase the efficacy of the program.