Reading Gone Viral – Early Literacy in Duval County Public Schools
- Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville, Florida learned of a free early literacy resource, WORD Force, that was having a positive impact on young readers in the after-school program run by the Communities in Schools team.
- Usage of EVERFI’s free literacy resource, WORD Force, quickly spread throughout the district’s 46 elementary schools thanks to enthusiastic teachers and students.
- While learning gains were made in all skillsets taught in WORD Force, the largest gains were made in vocabulary, phonological awareness, and phonics.
Each year, school districts spend thousands of dollars on resources to strengthen early literacy. While many of them help students become better readers, they aren’t always fun and engaging for students. At least that was the case for one of Florida’s largest school districts, Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville, Florida.
Always keeping an eye out for new and impactful resources, Duval administrators learned of a free early literacy resource being used by teachers in some after-school programs that strengthened the skills of young readers through gamified activities. Aligned to state standards with the ability to engage students across different grade levels, WORD Force was easy to implement and completely free thanks to the generosity of Truist Bank.
Preventing Summer Learning Loss
After hearing from EVERFI’s literacy expert, Dr. Jaumeiko Coleman, and District Support team, Duval County administrators decided to introduce WORD Force to all early elementary teachers to use for their summer school literacy component. Through both in-person and asynchronous events, EVERFI’s District Support Team trained teachers in 46 schools. By the end of each professional learning session teachers were able to:
- Quickly create student accounts via Duval’s SSO platform
- Easily pull reports identifying student growth and areas in need of improvement
- Access EVERFI’s library of supplemental offline lessons
- Blend WORD Force into their lessons plans thanks to EVERFI’s alignment to district curriculum maps
Usage of WORD Force spread across the district as elementary teachers began to rave about how easily it was able to engage and strengthen student literacy in their classroom centers. (It also didn’t hurt that the sponsor of WORD Force, Truist Bank, was so passionate about early literacy that they hosted classroom events and awarded one Duval teacher with a new classroom library last year.) Thanks to teacher feedback and strong learning gains, Duval County expanded the use of WORD Force throughout its after school and summer school programs.
Compared to the previous school year, 54% more Duval County students became better readers thanks to WORD Force. While learning gains were made in all skillsets taught in WORD Force, the largest gains were made in vocabulary, phonological awareness, and phonics.
Strengthen Early Literacy in Your District with EVERFI
The same resources and support that EVERFI provides Duval County Public Schools is available to all North American school districts at no cost. This is due to EVERFI’s network of local and national organizations passionate about providing schools with the resources they need to teach life skills. EVERFI’s partners cover all the costs, so districts don’t have to.
Meet with your district’s support team to learn how EVERFI can support you in achieving your district’s goals.
Mike Oliver supports EVERFI’s Districts Partnerships team as the Principal, K-12 Marketer. With a rich background spanning nearly a decade as a social studies teacher, Mike’s journey led him to EVERFI. His focus is on extending nationwide the very resources that empowered his students’ during his teaching career.
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