Educational research shows that the most effective methods for struggling readers is 1:1 or small group tutoring. High-dosage tutoring in particular, i.e. tutoring that links skilled and supported tutors to research-based curricula for sustained dosages, is a promising, well-studied method of achieving significant gains for struggling readers in grades K-3. 

Districts, schools, and CBOs alike look to Springboard’s program to help young readers build systematic, explicit, and targeted skills (i.e. phonemic awareness, phonological awareness, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary) that lead to reading, spelling, and writing success. Springboard’s solution is unique because we pair this direct instruction with our proven framework for family engagement in order to increase instructional time at home. Through our family workshops, families learn to become at-home literacy coaches. This increases the amount of time children spend reading both on their own and with a knowledgeable adult in and out of school. This multifaceted tutoring program is articulated in an offering we call the Springboard Learning Accelerator

The Springboard Learning Accelerator (SLA) is a starter kit that provides the structure, support, and resources that educators and families need to set and achieve reading goals in 5 to 10 week cycles. The SLA tutoring program improves academic outcomes by providing students with systematic, explicit instruction using Springboard’s curriculum and resources while simultaneously strengthening family-educator relationships via pre-programming “huddles,” family workshops, and our family app, Connect. SLA can easily be implemented as a during-school or OST tutoring program.

High-dosage tutoring at Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting school closures have caused unprecedented learning loss for students across the country, with a compounding impact for students from historically marginalized communities. The transition to virtual learning has been challenging for educators, students, and families alike–but it’s been particularly difficult for students who are just learning to read.

Research shows that achieving reading proficiency by grade 3 is considered a milestone for long-term academic success. To ensure students in grades K-3 remain on-track to meet this milestone, Massachusetts Governor, Charles Baker, allocated up to $10 million for early literacy programs aimed at remediating learning loss for children in high-need communities. The funds, available through the GEER Fund (Governor’s Emergency Education Relief), would be distributed through the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to support early literacy across the Commonwealth.

DESE needed to select an organization equipped to not only develop student reading habits and provide families with the tools they need to support learning at home, but also accomplish this at scale across Massachusetts. Among several other supplemental early-literacy organizations, DESE chose Springboard Collaborative to provide flexible and personalized solutions to their districts’ needs, which included a program centered on high-dosage tutoring. 

Springboard’s high-dosage tutoring program allows each student to receive up to 900 minutes of additional 1:1 tutoring or small-group instruction. In addition to the time per session, students are incentivized to read at home independently (using provided decodable e-book access) and with their families. During the five family workshops we host throughout the program, families also learn reading strategies they can use while reading with their children at home.

Across DESE, Springboard served 1010 students during our 10-week winter/spring session. Tutoring took place 2-3 times per week after school for about 30-45 minutes per session, resulting in over 500,000 tutoring minutes in total across districts. Tutors formed relationships with the children they worked with in 1:5 small groups, using evidence-based reading curriculum with scripted manuals and materials that were supported by effective professional development. Our tutors also built strong relationships with family members through team-building huddles at the beginning of programming and through our family workshops. This helped families quickly become at-home literacy coaches, increasing the amount of time children spent reading both on their own and with a knowledgeable adult in and out of school. 

Springboard programs are designed to be flexible to meet each partner’s unique needs. For more information on how to bring Springboard’s high-dosage tutoring to your school, contact our Vice President of Partnerships, Jeff Feinman at j.feinman@springboardcollaborative.org.