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Evaluations and Awards

We know that the early reading gap is a persistent problem which, increases the risk of students ultimately dropping out of school. We also know that our early literacy intervention program has been instrumental in reducing those odds for thousands of students, who have the opportunity to realize their full potential.

Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, the American Institutes for Research partnered with Literacy First to conduct an independent evaluation of the impact of the Literacy First program on student outcomes. The evaluation used a multi-site randomized controlled trial design across 22 schools in the Austin Independent School District. Overall, the study showed that students who received Literacy First tutoring outperformed students who did not receive Literacy First tutoring on all of the outcome measures included in the evaluation. Read the full report here.

Beginning in 2013-2014 through the 2016-2017 school year, local program analysis pros Agile Analytics tracked the progress of students in the Literacy First program and that of their peers not in the program. The study found that Literacy First students are less likely to be retained, more likely to perform better on reading exams in the future, and other significantly positive results. For an overview, click here. For in-depth analysis and methodology, view the Executive Summary or Full Report.

A 2012-2013 comparison group analysis by the Meadows Center for Educational Risk and follow-up evaluations from the University of Texas Dana Center showed unequivocally that without literacy intervention from a Literacy First tutor, the children we served would not have progressed in reading.

We are also nationally recognized. In 2015, the White House recognized us as a ‘Bright Spot in Hispanic Education.’ In 2016, we received the Governor’s Volunteer Award for Partners in Education and the Latino Excellence in Advocacy Award from Austin ISD. We were finalists in 2013-14 for the America’s Service Commissions Innovation and Leadership Awards, and were featured in their “Most Innovative AmeriCorps Programs” publication.

Literacy First staff have also garnered recognition for their expertise and leadership. Director Dr. Mary Ellen Isaacs was announced as the recipient of America’s Service Commissions Outstanding Service Program Staff Award at the ASC Innovation & Leadership Awards in September 2021.