Can You Teach Reading On Zoom

1-on-1 online sessions with trained teachers can narrow the achievement gap

After spending years in the classroom, Jessica Reid Sliwerski decided to tap into her experience as an elementary school teacher and principal to teach as many kids as possible to read using a science-based methodology.

When the coronavirus struck, upending education as we know it, she pivoted to Zoom tutorials led by Ignite! Reading, an initiative of her nonprofit Open Up Resources. Ignite is part of an emerging trend of high-tech literacy projects coming out of the pandemic.

“The literacy crisis in our country is not because kids can’t learn to read but because they don’t have access to the kind of instruction they need,” she said.

Sliwerski launched a nine-week summer pilot, serving about 100 Bay Area K-three students, that was so successful she has since embarked upon a yearlong project at West Oakland’s KIPP Bridge Academy. Principal Michael Burks said it’s been a game-changer for a school where many students urgently need one-on-one attention to learn to read.

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