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Could Text Messages to Parents Help Close the ‘Word Gap’?

Ed Central
It works with diabetes patients, smokers trying to quit, and others: a text message reminding you to take your medication or resist the urge to light up. There’s even a Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University devoted to the idea. So what if we could put that same idea to work boosting literacy in very young children in low-income families? That’s the premise of Parent University, a six-week program originally designed by Chris Drew, now Director of Educator Initiatives at Digital Promise. The program gives parents a digital tap on the shoulder via text messages reminding them to interact with their kids to boost literacy — and close that ever-widening word gap. And it’s working, according to a recent, not-yet-published study that compared parents who received the program to those who didn’t.

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"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables