San Diego — Oct. 19, 2015 — After a year of using the Whooo’s Reading online platform, elementary students at all grade levels read books with significantly higher text complexity, as determined by Lexile measures, than at the start of that year. Those were the findings of a recent analysis, conducted by Learn2Earn, the creator of Whooo’s Reading. The data came from more than 2,700 students who used the platform during the 2014-15 school year.
The data was drawn from a sample of students in grades one through five who had used Whooo’s Reading consistently from October 2014 through March 2015. The increase in text complexity was particularly pronounced for students who began the school year reading books that were below-grade level difficulty. For example, the books read by struggling third grade readers increased in text complexity by a little over 300L on average while books chosen by normal to strong readers in that grade level only increased by an average of about 120L.
“The increase in the text difficulty for struggling third grade readers is particularly important because that’s the grade where students transition from learning to read to reading to learn,” said Hayley Brooks, Learn2Earn CEO and co-founder. “We know that those below-grade readers, along with the other students on the Whooo’s Reading log, are improving their reading comprehension because the analysis showed a consistent improvement in the scores that all students received for reading comprehension assignments written within the platform throughout the year.”
After students use Whooo’s Reading to log their fiction and nonfiction books, as well as minutes spent reading, teachers can preselect a prompt for students to have the option to answer a Common Core-aligned question. The platform adds a gamification element by awarding Wisdom Coins based on the amount of minutes logged and their answer to the comprehension question. Students then use those coins to “buy” virtual accessories from the platform’s Owl Store and customize the owl avatars (called Owlvatars) assigned to them on their initial registration. Teachers grade students’ answers, provide feedback either publicly or privately, and review the reading ability progress for both individual students and the class as a whole. Whooo’s Reading includes a social aspect that allows students to share book recommendations as well as comments each other’s book reviews.
The Whooo’s Reading platform has garnered rave reviews from teachers, coordinators and parents. One example is fifth-grade teacher Lorie Barber, who on her blog “Mrs. Barber’s Class Reading Blog,” writes, “It’s the written response component that’s the strongest aspect of Whooo’s Reading for me. ... [S]tudent[s] can choose ... from a variety of prompts that allow them to respond creatively to their book, while still giving me a tool to measure their comprehension.”
“We believe that other school programs have taken the fun out of reading and have made it something students see as homework or a chore,” said Brooks. “Using social features and gamification, we motivate children to read anything they want and we make the experience fun for them and relevant to their other 21st century online experiences. ‘The kids must always win’ is our unofficial company motto.”
Learn2Earn is a young startup company focused on providing a 21st-century alternative in the school fundraising and reading program spaces. Unlike other reading or fundraising programs, their service is child-centric rather than educator-centric. That means that everything they develop is focused on benefitting the children who use it, on making reading fun, and improving specific reading and writing skills as outlined in the Common Core State Standards. In the area of fundraising, they offer something that most fundraising companies don’t: an educational platform for schools to use to raise money. Students aren’t selling; they’re improving their reading skills. For more information, visit https://www.learn2earn.org
# # #