Personalized Texting to Parents Can Bump Reading Skills in Their Kids
There's something about texts most of us can't turn our attention away from. Researchers have glommed onto that reality as a way to produce educational benefits for children. One recent research project out of Stanford University studied the effects of a text-based program specifically for parents of kindergartners, in which general texts were tested against more differentiated and personalized messages. The study found that children in the second group read at higher levels compared to the control group. Also, parents were more engaged in reading activities with their kids.
Families received three texts a week: a "fact" text on Mondays, a "tip" text on Wednesdays and a "growth" text on Fridays. The tip and growth texts, specifically, were changed up for people in the test group.
The differentiation and personalization not only boosted parental pick-up of the program (based on parental survey responses), but it improved their students' reading abilities; those children were 63 percent more likely to move up a reading level than their peers in the control group. The impact was especially pronounced for students in both the bottom and top quartiles.
"Overall, differentiating and personalizing text message interventions based on formative assessment has the promise to produce additional education gains with relatively little additional costs" the research concludes.