Investing in Innovation: A Technology-Based Solution to Improving Early Literacy Skills
Abstract: UPSTART is an adaptive program that provides pre-kindergarten children with an individualized reading, math, and science curriculum that is tailored to each individual rate of growth coupled with parents training and support. Pre-kindergarten students were randomly assigned to use the Early Reading program or the Early Math and Science program at home in 18 rural school districts in Utah. The Waterford Assessment of Core Skills (WACS) was administered at the beginning and end of the program to assess students’ early literacy. At the conclusion of the program year, analysis revealed a significant difference between groups due to higher gains for students that used the Waterford Early Reading program, indicating that the Waterford Early Reading program improves students’ early literacy skills after one year in the program while preparing them for kindergarten. The improvement was seen across demographics such as ethnicity, SES, language, preschool attendance and household income.