Our Strategy

Our Mission: 
Building knowledge to improve outcomes for low-income children and struggling readers at scale. 

Closing literacy gaps related to children’s family background and economic circumstances is a challenging task at many levels. Many programs show promise at a small scale or in a particular context, but may not work when applied elsewhere, or are difficult to implement on a larger scale. One size does not fit all for solutions to helping our disadvantaged children. Identifying effective reforms that improve literacy outcomes for disadvantaged children and adaptively scaling them in different communities and settings is an implementation challenge as well as a program design undertaking. Leaders in education must work together with stakeholders to identify problems, solutions, and implementation strategies that result in effective and scalable literacy reforms.

The READS Lab at Harvard engages leaders in schools, school systems, community-based organizations, foundations, and government in long-term collaborations to:

  • Conduct randomized experiments of literacy reform strategies and interventions that have a solid grounding in research and theory,

  • Measure the effects of school and home environments on children's literacy behaviors, motivation, and growth,

  • Test planned variations of promising literacy innovations that are likely to be adopted and sustained by policymakers and practitioners, and

  • Partner with teachers to develop and test adaptive literacy strategies for their school and classroom contexts.

READS stands for

Research Enhances Adaptations Designed for Scale in Literacy.

The READS Lab at Harvard, led by Professor of Education, James S. Kim, is a research-based collaborative initiative designed to identify and scale adaptive solutions for enhancing children's literacy. We work with leaders in school districts, schools, non-profit organizations, foundations, and universities who are committed to applying adaptive strategies to improve children’s literacy learning opportunities.

Implementing the MORE Curriculum in Schools

The READS Lab research team created the Model of Reading Engagement (MORE), a spiral curriculum model designed to address persistent gaps in literacy and science achievement between rich and poor children. MORE introduces important concepts gradually over time, starting with simpler forms of the concepts and gradually introducing more complex forms. MORE emphasizes the synergistic effect of learning science on both reading motivation and ability in order to foster engaged readers who are motivated to read deeply in school and at widely at home. Specifically, MORE aims to accomplish this by providing students with: (1) access to complex and connected science concepts across grades 1 through 5; (2) comprehension instruction that integrates reading and writing; (3) support for wide reading at home; and (4) motivational supports. Short-term instruction focused on basic skills can support students’ reading progress in some aspects of literacy (e.g., word recognition), but a long-term systematic and coherent program of instruction is needed to foster students’ ability to read for understanding and acquire knowledge. 

To learn more about how we are implementing the MORE curriculum in schools, click HERE

Copyright © 2019 The President and Fellows of Harvard College

READS Lab, Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA  02138

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