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The Boon Pledge Literacy Interventions 

Boon’s Pledge Literacy Interventions program was established to provide the finest free instruction to minority and low-income students who are failing to read effectively. We raise funds to connect students and families to expert teacher/tutors that are generally unavailable and too costly.

Before the pandemic closed American schools, students’ reading scores were profoundly negative. They ranked well below the competitive norm of developed countries in the world. Prior to the coronavirus, 50% of White, 70% Latino, and 85% of African-American students failed to reach grade proficiency. These students fail unnecessarily because there is a shortage of teachers trained in instruction methods based on the science of reading – an issue that our Donor-Funded Scholarship Program addresses.

Quality First, Scaling Second: America is awash in post–pandemic tutoring programs, staffed by teachers with limited exposure to the science of reading instruction, or by volunteers that require strict adherence to scripted lessons. Boon’s Pledge Literacy Interventions Program only employs reading experts, and is operating in 12 states, with plans and a directly connected teacher network, ready to become nationwide.

Boon instruction is delivered by highly trained reading specialists that hold Wilson Language Training Level 1 Certification. Their level of training requires hundreds of hours of coursework and actual supervised instruction hours, allowing them to successfully teach even students with language-based disabilities.

Boon teachers can ensure that all students achieve reading success in a fraction of the time typically dedicated to such instruction in a general classroom setting. In most circumstances, research shows that these tutors applying structured language methods can deliver at least 1 year of grade-level improvement or more in 40 hours of instruction, compared to a disappointing and ineffective 330 hours dedicated to reading instruction each year in a typical public school classroom.

Student Identification: Our Pledge Literacy Interventions operates independently with families, in addition to collaborations with schools, after school programs, and community organizations. It can operate outside the school calendar. Our teachers work independently, and often assist us to identify students to receive free instruction. Boon has the capacity to hire hundreds, even thousands of expert teachers with greater philanthropic dollars, deploying them to work with minority and low-income students from Title 1 schools where the need is greatest, and where highly qualified reading experts are in short supply. Dr. Lori Severino, Program Director and tutors thoroughly assess and pair students. Assessments are selected from the Word Identification Spelling Test (WIST), the Woodcock Johnson Reading Mastery III, or the Woodcock Johnson IV subtests.

Scaling: In the near term, Boon aims to employ 400 teachers working with 800 children—two pupils per teacher. Since Boon has access to 11,000 teachers working in almost all U.S. states, our program can scale rapidly with funding. 

Outcomes: By exclusively employing teachers with hundreds of hours of expert training and practice, all students to date have greatly improved their reading performance and are on their way to becoming strong readers.