Bring Me A Book: Digital for Literacy Pilot
Bring Me A Book is a non-profit organization based down the street from me in Mountain View, California. I got hooked up with them through a friend (thanks, Chiara!) of a friend who happened to be Peter Hero, who is working with Bring Me A Book and was also a past CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, along with a lot of other impressive philanthropic work. Bring Me A Book has been providing high-quality books to families in California and around the world since 1997, and is now expanding their programs into digital literacy as well.
Here is a description of the Digital For Literacy pilot program:
We have officially launched our pilot in Santa Clara, where we now have 42 families with four year olds using our tablets to read eBooks using Copia or Footsteps2Brilliance. We initially trained these parents on the importance of literacy and read-aloud routines in our First Teachers Workshop in early October. In late October we met again to provide an introduction to Digital Literacy and goals of our pilot program. In this training we covered a variety of introductory topics: Why digital literacy is important, goals of our pilot project, overview of tablet device, overview and demonstration of eBook application, how to care for the tablet and manage it in the home, how to celebrate reading and create read-aloud routines using eBooks. Each parent left our training with their own “eBook Bag” provided by Bring Me A Book. Since the launch in Santa Clara we have seen some super users dive right in while other parents are having a more sluggish start- all issues we anticipated and will address with the teachers in the coming weeks. We will be on site at least once a week to address technical issues and/or implementation challenges with the teachers and parents for the next few months.
In October we also had a half day training with the teachers where we reviewed the pilot objectives and trained them on the tablet and eBook applications. We brainstormed ideas for how to implement the program in their specific classrooms and thought about ways to bridge the eBook program between the classrooms and home. Our Santa Clara teachers will be having children/parents bring the tablets to class every Wednesday and Friday for small group reading activities. We also agreed to make sure that we purchased hard-copies of the eBooks (where available) so they could have larger read-alouds with students during the day and then ask them to read that same book at home on their tablet with their family that night. Finally, we will be working with the teachers to identify eBooks or general topics that are relevant to what they are covering in class for our subsequent purchase of digital titles. For example, if the class is learning about Dinosaurs in December, we will do our best to identify high quality eBooks about Dinosaurs, etc.
Our next steps for fully launching this pilot program is to train our 44 additional families on Digital Literacy in Los Angeles in November. They too will walk away from that training with their tablets and we will have officially have 96 four year olds and their families using eBooks to help support their literacy and language development.
Below are the training decks we used for parents in Santa Clara, one of which was general, and one of which included specifics about the eBooks service. They trainings took about 1.5 hrs to complete with simultaneous translation in Spanish and one parent who spoke Vietnamese had a personal translator.