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Case Study: Just Right Reader Donates 1.5 Million Decodables to Keep Kids Reading

Case Study: Just Right Reader Donates 1.5 Million Decodables to Keep Kids Reading

Abstract

The majority of states have adopted legislation and instructional practices grounded in the Science of Reading, decades of research identifying how students learn to read, and best practices for effective instruction. Developed by award-winning educators and literacy experts, Just Right Reader Decodables are high-quality instructional materials that provide authentic reading experiences that align with these principles. This approach has shown significant effectiveness in teaching reading through explicit instruction and guided repetition. In addition to the critical findings of the Science of Reading research, extensive studies also indicate that greater access to books, especially in homes, correlates with higher academic performance, boosts students' reading motivation, and fosters more positive attitudes toward reading (Allington, 2014; Gambrell, 2011). The following program initiative demonstrates the power of free reading materials to expand students’ at-home libraries and high-quality instructional materials for small-group instruction.

Summary

Just Right Reader is dedicated to advancing early literacy through high-quality instructional materials. To further our outreach and maintain our commitment to accelerating reading achievement, we established the Science of Reading Take-Home Pilot, an initiative to provide Take-Everywhere Decodable Packs to districts we had yet to partner with. 

Over four months, Just Right Reader delivered over 1.5 Million books to students nationwide!! It took immense dedication and attention to detail to get each pack of decodables into the hands of students. These packs were customized to meet each student’s unique needs. The result is more students reading and accelerating in the literacy journey. 

In crafting this pilot program, we undertook several critical steps to ensure its success.

Initial Development

  • Our leadership team evaluated various approaches to expand the accessibility of our decodables to more districts nationwide.
  • We defined the parameters determining eligibility criteria for participation in the pilot. 
  • Once the parameters were established, we proactively contacted eligible districts, extending invitations to participate in the pilot and highlighting its academic advantages.

Implementation

We provided comprehensive support to participating districts and educators to ensure seamless implementation of our decodables as supplemental instructional materials to the existing curriculum. 

  • The Just Right Reader Partnerships and Customer Support teams collaborated with district leaders and educators to conduct a thorough onboarding meeting to answer logistical questions and establish implementation goals and metrics to monitor success.
  • Virtual meetings and implementation emails assisted educators in uploading student data to Virtru, a secure and encrypted data portal.
  • Our algorithm then provided a list of decodables aligned to each student’s specific reading needs.

Participating districts received three rounds of Take-Home Decodable Packs throughout the pilot. Each pack contained ten decodable books. Educators engaged in success meetings following the second distribution of decodables to receive support, refine implementation strategies, and provide feedback before receiving the final shipment.

Quantitative Data Collection 

After the completion of the pilot, further success meetings were held to evaluate the effectiveness of Just Right Reader decodables during that time frame, gather additional feedback, and strategize the next steps for ongoing implementation within the core literacy curriculum and at-home practice. 

Alongside virtual meetings, we encouraged participants to fill out surveys evaluating the effectiveness and implementation of our Take-Home Pilot. Surveys were designed with a numerical rating scale and opportunities for open-ended feedback.

Administrator Survey
Administrators offered insights on implementation, including smoothness, alignment with student literacy needs, observable improvements in student literacy, value for teachers, and further recommendations.

Teacher Survey
Teachers rated their experiences with the pilot program, covering ease of use, implementation smoothness, alignment with student needs, observed improvements in literacy, impact on student engagement, and effectiveness of our online supplemental resources and materials, including Getting Started Guides and lesson plans.

Parent Survey
Parents provided feedback on their child's experience with the decodable books, including ease of use, alignment with reading level, observed improvements in literacy, and impact on student engagement and enjoyment of reading.

Participant Success Stories

Huntsville Elementary, Huntsville, TX

Selection
Huntsville selected Just Right Reader decodables for:

  • Ease of use for teachers
  • Access to high-quality decodables across grade levels, particularly 1st and 2nd-grade 

Objective
Huntsville Elementary’s primary goal was to use Just Right Reader’s decodables to supplement their core literacy curriculum and increase book accessibility for 1st-grade students. 

Implementation

  • Teacher-led small group instruction
  • Partner and independent literacy centers
  • Partner fluency practice

Results

  • First-grade students at Huntsville Elementary showed the highest gains in foundational skills district-wide, as shown by their mid-year TPRI scores compared to the beginning-of-year assessment. TPRI, an early reading assessment, is used to identify students’ foundational literacy skills in Kindergarten-3rd grade. 
  • Students expanded their at-home libraries.


Warren ISD, Warren, TX

Selection 
Warren ISD selected Just Right Reader decodables for:

  • Access to high-quality decodables for small group instruction. 
  • Access to high-quality decodables to expand students’ at-home libraries.

Objective
Warren ISD’s primary goal was to use Just Right Reader’s decodables to increase both book accessibility and student engagement in 1st & 2nd grade. 

Implementation

  • Teacher-led small group instruction
  • Independent literacy centers

After completing small group and independent reading practice in class, students took their decodables home for additional practice.

Results

  • Students engaged in independent reading and took ownership of their learning by choosing to practice with their decodable during literacy centers.
  • Students demonstrated increased confidence and eagerness to share their learning with family members.
  • Students expanded their at-home libraries. 
“It has been really great! The kids love their blue backpacks and we are really excited to get more books into the hands of our kids.”
Tyra Storie, Assistant Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer

 

Mitchell Elementary, Houston ISD, Houston, TX

Mitchell Elementary quote

Selection
Mitchell Elementary selected Just Right Reader decodables for:

  • Access to high-quality decodables for foundational skills practice.
  • Ability to efficiently differentiate instruction for each student.
  • School-family partnership opportunities using the video phonics lessons.
  • Access to high-quality decodables to expand students’ at-home libraries.

Objective
Mitchell Elementary’s primary goal was to use Just Right Reader’s decodables in intervention groups targeting 3rd-5th graders reading two or more years below grade level.

Implementation

  • Daily teacher-led small group instruction through pull-out intervention groups

After completing small group lessons with the interventionist, students took their decodables home for additional practice.

Results

  • Students demonstrated significant gains in reading skills on their mid-year district assessment compared to the beginning-of-year assessment. 
  • Students demonstrated increased confidence and eagerness to participate in small group lessons. 
  • Students expanded their at-home libraries. 

 

Sinton ISD, Sinton, TX

Sinton ISD quote

Selection
Sinton ISD selected Just Right Reader decodables for:

  • School-family partnership opportunities using the video phonics lessons.
  • Relatable storylines.
  • Targeted phonics practice and engaging activities in the back of each decodable.
  • Access to high-quality decodables to expand students’ at-home libraries.

Objective
Sinton ISD’s primary goal was to increase at-home reading practice and family engagement for 28 first-grade students.

Implementation

  • Students were introduced to their personalized Just Right Reader Take-Home Packs in an exciting assembly setting. 
  • Students practiced with their decodables at school, independently and in groups, and then took them home for additional practice. 

Results

  • Students showed improvements in reading skills on their mid-year TPRI assessment in comparison to the beginning-of-year assessment.
  • Educators observed increased confidence in how students approach decoding unfamiliar words. 
  • Students expanded their at-home libraries. 

 

Through the implementation of the Science of Reading Take-Home Pilot, Just Right Reader partnered with 369 districts and schools, resulting in the distribution of over 1.5 million decodable books to students nationwide. This achievement signifies 1.5 million opportunities to accelerate reading proficiency and cultivate a love of reading among students.

 

Sara Rich, CEO, Just Right Reader

Sara Rich is the CEO and founder of Just Right Reader. As a former principal with over twenty years of educational experience, she is passionate about kids, books, teaching, and making reading fun and accessible for all. As an expert in turning around schools, she had years of observations at her fingertips. Sara specialized in reading and literacy development. She traveled to more than 35 states to train teachers and principals in reading and writing skills. She induced so much change as a principal in her school that she became an agent in many other schools. Her daughter struggled with reading, and after failing to find decodables that were phonics-focused and enjoyable, she developed Just Right Reader Decodables. Since the inception of Just Right Reader, Sara has placed millions of books in the hands of students nationwide. Her passion for creating fun and appropriate reading materials has driven her unmatched success. Sara enjoys ensuring all students can access high-quality instructional materials they love and want to keep reading. Her newest pilot program featuring Just Right Reader Winter Break Decodable Packs delivered over one million free books to schools and districts! Sara attended Harvard Kennedy School, where she studied public policy. 




References

     Allington, R. L. (2014). How reading volume affects both reading fluency and reading achievement. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 7(1), 13–26

     Gambrell, L. B. (2011). Seven rules of engagement: What’s most important to know about motivation to read. The Reading Teacher, 65, 172–178.

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