Program

Reading So Lit

Strengths-based reading identity exploration and assessment platform

Theoretical Framework

Culturally Responsive

Integrates interests, knowledge and lived experiences of diverse kids and communities.

Social-emotional Learning

Invites kids to explore their personal reading preferences and those of their peers.

Imaginative Play

Uses modeling and imaginative play to support equitable and inclusive learning experiences.


Student Outcomes

  • Expands Vocabulary and World Knowledge
  • Supports Reading Identity Development
  • Increases Reading Self-efficacy
  • Increases Reading Engagement
  • Increases Reading Motivation

An Innovative Reading Assessment

Reading So Lit is a reading identity exploration and assessment tool for grades preK-5. It leverages whole group, multimedia teaching modules and strengths-based student assessments. This culturally responsive platform supports in-person and virtual learning that can be facilitated by classroom teachers, other child-serving professionals, or trained teenagers. Reading So Lit has been implemented successfully during the school day, after school, and summer.

This innovative exploration and assessment tool integrates Science of Reading research outlined in the Advanced Education Research and Development Fund’s 2022 concept paper, “Reading Reimagined: A New Inclusive Research and Development Initiative,” which highlights the key role traditionally overlooked elements of reading (i.e. reading identity, self-efficacy, engagement, motivation) play in accelerating reading achievement among low performing student populations.

Helping preK-5 students explore, understand, and express their reading preferences increases self-awareness and social-awareness – two pillars of social-emotional learning. Knowledge and awareness of the reading content and conditions that students prefer helps educators, administrators, and caregivers curate culturally responsive content, personalize reading instruction/experiences, and accelerate reading achievement – especially for students who lack reading supports outside of school.


Reading So Lit Programs

A 3-week virtual literacy program administered by Barbershop Books during July. Our two-generation program model pairs male high school students of color ages 16-18 with small cohorts of Black and Brown boys ages 6-8. We hire and train youth instructors to lead one-hour virtual reading explorations twice a week. Each participating teenager receives weekly coaching from a certified teacher who observes and assists with each live program session.

This strengths-based summer reading program uses a curated set of culturally relevant children’s books, fun read alouds, whole group explorations, and independent activities. Youth instructors serve as male reading role models, helping participating boys better understand and communicate their reading preferences (and those of their peers). Caregiver surveys reveal that Reading So Lit Summer inspires young boys of color to identify as readers and to read for fun during the summer and beyond.

Contact our program team

A 24-lesson reading identity exploration and assessment program for grades preK-5. This innovative resource helps students explore, discover, and articulate their reading preferences. Every student possesses interests, knowledge, and lived experiences that can be leveraged to improve content curation, personalize learning, and accelerate reading success.

Over 4 units, students gain new vocabulary, world knowledge, and self-awareness about the reading content and reading conditions that they prefer. This strengths-based approach empowers students to seek out relevant and engaging reading experiences and equips educators, caregivers, and administers with with reading data that transforms reading instruction, learning environments, parent involvement, and accelerates reading achievement.

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