There is a reading crisis in the United States: in 2017, 66 percent of all fourth-graders scored below proficiency in reading. Most reading disabilities are identified after children have already fallen behind their peers, when the window for the most effective intervention has closed. Self-perception of reading failure and negative responses from others leave these children vulnerable to feelings of shame, depression, and low self-esteem.
To provide earlier intervention, Boston Children’s Hospital developed a comprehensive early literacy screening system. The two-part system includes a HIPAA-compliant, gamified mobile app to screen kids and a web-based platform to monitor their progress.
In this system, kids spend 20 minutes playing an engaging game on the app, which screens them for six early indicators of reading difficulties. The platform then syncs and analyzes the screening data, and creates a report outlining the child’s risk factors. The platform enables monitoring at the classroom, school-wide, and district-wide levels, so educators can review the performance of all students. It also recommends follow-up resources such as evidence-based curricula, specialist referrals, and professional development to address specific skill deficits.
Boston, MA, USA
- Professor Nadine Gaab Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Boston Children's Hospital/Harvard Medical School