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A game changing solution for Oakland’s early literacy crisis?

A game changing solution for Oakland’s early literacy crisis?

A tablet-like device, developed in London to help children around the world learn to read and build literacy skills, is now in the hands of Oakland public school students thanks to the Oakland NAACP and FULCRUM. It’s called the onetab.

Could it be a game changer in helping young Black and Brown students learn to read? And as powerful as that would be to accomplish, could the onetab do even more?

Easy to use, and getting results

“It’s a safety net right now,” said Kareem Weaver of FULCRUM, which supports the Oakland NAACP’s literacy initiative and has distributed the devices to eight public schools in Oakland, six in Oakland Unified and two from Aspire. “But we didn’t want to just focus on COVID, we wanted to find something that could help beyond that. We targeted schools with large African-American populations and high numbers of special needs students.”

The onetab is simple and easy to use. A user doesn’t need WiFi, and there is no logging in. The only action a user really has to take to get started is to simply turn it on. Then, the device does a quick diagnostic and directs the user to the right learning activity which, research shows, will lead to students making gains: 5.3 months beyond normal gains.

“Parents are so relieved that this does not require WiFi or supervision,” FULCRUM’s Liza Finkelstein said, “as long as they know where the “on” button is, which kids intuitively already do because of other devices. One session per day, five days per week and you will make gains.”

Our country is in the midst of a literacy crisis; According to 2019 national data, Black students had an average reading score that was 37 points lower than White students. Latino/a students had an average score that was 27 points lower than White students. Even more troubling, the data notes these numbers have not improved in over 20 years.