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Reading With Rhea

Reading with Rhea – Read alongs that bridge the literacy gap by turning screen time into story time

Reading with Rhea, an online, read along video library, is aimed at closing the literacy gap faced by primary school students which was worsened by COVID-19 lockdowns. The videos, which support visual and language processing, are a cost-free, simple and practical solution to support students and teachers in and out of the classroom with ‘local student focus’ and ‘global scalability’ in mind.

Overview

Information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been evaluated by HundrED.

Web presence

2023

Established

150

Children

2

Countries
Target group
Students early
Updated
April 2023
By turning screen time into story time, I hope to reach as many young readers as possible to enhance their literacy skills. The videos are meant to support students as they catch up from the learning losses suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope Reading with Rhea reminds children that reading is meant to be enjoyed while building a strong foundation for their futures.

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

COVID-19 lockdowns and the loss of face-to-face learning widened an already existing literacy gap amongst primary school children. Reading is a strong predictor of social mobility and though children often aren’t the first demographic considered when assessing the long-term effects of COVID, this particular learning loss will have a profound impact on their future productivity and earnings.

What does your innovation look like in practice?

Reading With Rhea works by providing children and teachers with a cost-free, easily accessible resource (all videos are on YouTube) that they can use to supplement in class learning. I select books which are in the public domain (to ensure that there will be no copyright issues which interrupt access), record myself reading them aloud, and edit the videos so that the words appear on the screen and are highlighted as I read them aloud. The videos allow for simultaneous visual and auditory processing of words, so even ‘ear-readers’ can benefit.
Teachers can recommend a specific book or chapter to a student so that ‘they have someone to read with’, increasing their confidence and competency in reading.

How has it been spreading?

Since going live two months ago, the programme has started to come into use in schools in three London boroughs, has been launched by a local library and recommended to its partner schools and is being trialed in three hospital schools (as a resource for children who aren’t well enough to attend regular classes). Immediate goals are to onboard additional volunteers as readers and editors, to meet the demand for additional videos in the UK and now the US. Content is currently created for emerging readers, with a goal of recording videos for more confident readers in the near future. I am attempting to secure permission from a variety of publishing houses to obtain access to more current materials for recording.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

The programme has been designed to be as user-friendly as possible. All videos are available on a public YouTube channel, and all content is public domain, to avoid copyright issues for the organization implementing the programme. Organizations may contact me directly if they wish for specific content to be created, otherwise the programme can simply be shared with parents / educators / students.

Implementation steps

Locate the Resource
Look up 'Reading With Rhea' on YouTube.
Explore the Content
Identify which videos would suit your child's / student's specific needs.
Share the Resource
Share the resource with parents / educators / students.

Spread of the innovation

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