Sirius Thinking, Ltd., in collaboration with the WGBH Education Foundation, proposes to make a significant improvement in the reading skills of young children by creating, implementing, and scientifically testing the educational impact of a cost-effective, interactive multimedia literacy platform of materials based on the award-winning children's literacy education television program Between the Lions. This multimedia package, called the """"""""Digital Reading Den,"""""""" will ultimately be commercialized for use both as a supplement to current school literacy curricula and after school programs. The Digital Reading Den will enhance early literacy skills by offering children integrated literacy material from a rich variety of sources including television episodes, songs, skits, interactive storybooks, and an animated dictionary on one engaging and easily accessible software platform. The multimedia components of each unique module of the Digital Den are carefully selected to reinforce clear and specific curriculum goals, ensuring that children receive just the right instruction at just the right time. In addition to its value in the elementary classroom, the Digital Den offers parents, caregivers and after school staff a tool for optimal literacy learning without the necessity of prior training in literacy instructional practices. In Phase I, Sirius Thinking will test the feasibility of the Digital Reading Den through a mixed-design study of focus group interviews and assessments to gauge the Digital Den's usability and appeal for children, its promise for literacy and vocabulary learning, and its potential as a classroom-based supplement or addition to an after school program. Once feasibility is established, Sirius Thinking will further refine the components of the Den in a Phase II production stage, produce multiple modules of the Digital Den, and embark on a large- scale experimental research study in after school programs at three underperforming elementary schools. Phase II research will aim to establish the effectiveness of the Digital Den as an educational tool by comparing growth in vocabulary and early literacy skills between children who engage with the complete Digital Den, children who engage only with the interactive storybook and animated dictionary, and children who engage only with print versions of the storybook.
Sirius Thinking, Ltd.'s proposed Digital Reading Den is aimed at increasing the early literacy skills and vocabulary of low-income native English speaking and Spanish speaking kindergartners and first graders. Using a computer-based platform, the Digital Den features a plethora of multimedia material - video clips, interactive storybooks, an animated dictionary, Spanish translations of words and content, music, etc. - that systematically and synergistically reinforce early literacy curricula. The Digital Den is designed for use in after school programs, as well as in classrooms, as a motivating and entertaining supplement to traditional literacy instruction.