Ignite Reading, a nationally recognized high-dosage tutoring program, teaches 1st–8th grade students to read at more than twice the rate expected in traditional classrooms with no achievement gaps. Here in Revere, Ignite’s national results are now being repeated in classrooms across the city.
Last spring, Revere Public Schools (RPS) introduced Ignite as a pilot program at two elementary schools, where 42% of first graders had reading skill gaps that placed them at kindergarten reading levels.
“What we are seeing nationally with first graders is that 80% of the students that are completing our program are reading at grade level by the end of first grade,” said Ignite Reading CEO Jessica Reid Sliwerski. “First grade is really the vision because you can close those achievement gaps between kindergarten and first grade, cover first grade reading content and keep students on this successful trajectory as they head into second grade.”
Ignite Reading pairs students with expert tutors who deliver daily, 15-minute Science of Reading-based instruction to target specific literacy decoding gaps and teach students to become confident, independent readers. In addition to Massachusetts, Ignite Reading is partnering with schools and districts in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Indiana, Mississippi, New York and Oregon.
Earlier this month, Ignite Reading hosted a showcase and demonstration of its one-to-one, virtual-powered literacy tutoring program at A.C. Whelan Elementary School. At the event, Sliwerski announced details about student reading progress since the partnership began.
“We launched a partnership with Revere Schools last spring,” said Sliwerski. “When we first began implementing Ignite, we had 50 students across two schools here in Revere. We had students in grades one and three participating and an average program attendance of 90%.”
Over the course of the spring pilot, students had an average of approximately eight instructional hours, according to Sliwerski. In that short pilot, the students at the two Revere schools made over three weeks of progress in reading skills for every week in the Ignite program.
“What this data is showing is the power of that individualized instruction and the students that participated in the pilot were outpacing their peers who were not participating in Ignite,” said Sliwerski. “So, when we think about achievement gaps, they start really early and the sooner we can catch them and address them, the better.”
Sliwerski said first graders participating in the pilot last spring had achievement gaps that were placing them all over the reading skills continuum, and nearly half were at kindergarten-level foundational skills.
“The beauty of a program like ignite reading is that each child is going to get that instruction precisely targeted to their own gaps,” he said.
In Revere, Ignite Reading has gone from serving 50 students at two schools during the pilot to now serving 375 students in six schools across the district.
“We are so excited to see the expansion across Revere,” said Sliwerski. “And what we have seen with the implementation so far this school year is that, on average, students have had just under four hours of total instruction. Students have been progress monitored at this point, and we have seen an 89% progress monitoring pass rate. What this 89% pass rate represents is that 89% of the kids who pass their progress monitoring assessment have already completed a quarter of a school year of foundational skills acquisition. So, these students, who had only basic alphabet knowledge, are now moving, in less than four hours of instruction, to tackle the next piece of the reading code. That is really important growth for the kids that we're serving.”
RPS’s Assistant Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Title I Director Briana Tsoupas, said after witnessing the improvements at the two Revere schools during the pilot, Ignite Reading should be a district-wide tool.
“The data was pretty compelling,” said Tsoupas. “We're really excited about the opportunity to bring this program to more students across the district and create a more equitable learning experience.”
Rachel Shanley, principal of the Whelan School, said Ignite has brought ‘joyful’ learning to the classroom.
“I see a lot of joy in the kids’ faces and lots of smiles,” said Shanley. “They're engaged with their tutors. It's not often that we can find another platform, initiative, or program that is so impactful. I'm just so excited to see how the data improves.”
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