Expanding Literacy Development in Under-Served Communities: Personalized Instruction in After-School Settings
After-school programs have the potential to positively influence student academic outcomes, particularly in under-served communities. However, such benefits depend on the extent to which programs include a clear instructional focus. The Consortium for Policy Research in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University (CPRE-TC) is proposing a mixed-methods study to examine the implementation of BookNook, a personalized, tech-enabled literacy platform, in 19 Boys and Girls Clubs in Greater Houston. More specifically, we will explore the following research questions: Is literacy learning accelerated among students who engage BookNook in an after-school setting, compared to their peers in the same setting who receive an alternate program? How do contextual and student characteristics and implementation factors moderate or mediate the program’s effectiveness? The study’s first analytic strand will entail a within-site randomized controlled trial to establish the impact of BookNook on student literacy development. We will randomly assign approximately 500 struggling readers across the 19 sites to participate in BookNook; within these sites, an equal number of students will be assigned to an alternate intervention. The second analytic strand will focus on implementation fidelity and the processes that facilitate or hinder BookNook’s effectiveness. These two analytic strands will highlight challenges and benefits associated with the use of tech-enabled literacy platforms in small group, after-school, and non-traditional instructional contexts.