Month: December 2019

Existing Phonics Programs Fail to Deliver

Phonics Programs Fail to Deliver

How many of the top phonics programs really get kids ready to read? ZERO. That’s right, zero. None. Nada. Not yet at least. Existing phonics programs quite simply fail to deliver the systematic education needed to build the foundation of reading skills.

This isn’t our view. These were the findings of EdReports, a company dedicated to independent validation of educational products. Their review is devastating: not a single program “meets expectations”, not in even a single category of their review.

Reviews Came Up Short. Real Short.

EdReports is a nonprofit that reviews curriculum materials against the current common core standards. Recently, they reviewed five supplemental programs designed to help children read and only three even partially met any of their standards. This new set of standards was specifically focused on children in kindergarten to second grade.

“None of these programs in and of themselves would be sufficient to get all of the foundational skills for kids.”
Eric Hirsch, Executive Director of EdReports

Of the five systems reviewed, not a single product met expectations in even a single category reviewed.

EdReports plans to continue reviewing more programs like this in order to assess their ability to develop fundamental reading ability in children. We can’t wait to get our system ready for review on this list.

Why Failing on Phonics Matters

A child’s ability to read is a simple combination of two factors, their language comprehension and their ability to decode the words printed on the page. Phonics is a powerful tool in a student’s tool belt, allowing the child to sound out words they don’t know by sight.

In the past few years, significant advances in research are proving the importance of teaching phonics in literacy education. Yet remarkably, none of the products have been able to deliver on that need.

Why We Will Do Better

While it is tragic that existing phonics programs fail to deliver the necessary training, the problem is even deeper than that. Phonics “as is”, is simply not enough.

TinyIvy has redesigned reading into something easy, so easy a child can do it. By teaching the most common sounds we use in English, and giving kids visual TIPS so that they know exactly what to say when they see a word, reading is transformed from a laborious guessing game into a simple, linear, progression from zero to literacy.

In the first five levels of our system, we teach just 30 sounds, and the TIPS™ letters that make them. With that knowledge,  your child can read 30,000 words. It’s that simple. The method for teaching a child to read hasn’t really changed for thousands of years: take one child and read to them one-on-one for 2,000 hours. This is why about 1 in 4 children (and adults) in America can’t read at a basic level of proficiency.

What if we could cut that down to 10 hours of instruction? What if those 10 hours taught skills and knowledge so that a child could then practice on their own, almost immediately? We could change the world. And that’s exactly what we are setting out to do.

How to Fix the Literacy Crisis in America

America’s Literacy Crisis

The biggest challenge with addressing literacy in the US is that it doesn’t affect you or me directly. Most folks who read this blog went to college. Most have LinkedIn accounts. Most are employed, with both parents working great jobs. You probably don’t know too many people that didn’t go to college. That get food stamps. That make less than $30k a year. Still, it’s on us. We must fix the literacy crisis in America.

The challenge is real. The bottom 10th percentile of our country is WORSE at reading now than they were 10 years ago. 20% of 15 years olds can’t read like a 10 year old should.

As I said in my post, we need to fix it, and once again we are seeing that the current strategies, policies, tools and technologies don’t work. Not nearly well enough. Not in the communities that need the most support.

How to Fix Reading? Innovation.

In six weeks, my company will be releasing our first product, based on a new system of literacy education. Our mission is to move the needle exactly where the country needs it the most, building a sustainable business that measures success in our impact. We believe that what it takes more than anything is the courage to try something new.

There are two sides to science. On one side, you need to carefully look at data and make decisions based on what is proven to work. That’s the easy part. The hard part is discovering something new. That is Galileo under house arrest territory. It takes the breaking of barriers, the breaking of assumptions, and the changing of minds. And yes, results. Early results. Which we have.

Early Results of Our Reading System

Still in it’s rawest form, our system has already shown the ability to take a child performing at the 25th percentile of a 1st Grade reader in the fall and catapult them into the 50th percentile of a 1st Grade reader in the spring, in 6 weeks, with just a handful of hours of dedicated instruction.

Change is Coming Soon

I’m really grateful to all of you who have been so instrumental in getting me and this business to the place we are in such a short time. Mom, thanks. You funded my record business and my fitness company, two priceless experiences. You clock in every day now on this one too. Rebecca, who has helped keep me focused on the mission, while crafting a gorgeous, insightful marketing campaign. Logan for adopting me into her office. And of course to Amy, my muse, my love, and best friend.

Here we go.

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