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LRSD Doubles Enrollment in Successful Ignite Reading/Tutoring Program

male student wiearing headphones and hand on keyboard

High-Dosage Tutoring Program Teaches 1st-8th Grade Students To Read At Twice The Rate Expected In Traditional Classrooms
With No Achievement Gaps


Nine months after the launch of Ignite Reading’s partnership with the Little Rock School District, the organization announced that students participating in the virtual, one-to-one literacy tutoring program have recorded an average of 2.4 weeks of reading progress per week, with no achievement gap for students of color, students with IEPs, multilingual learners, or students receiving free or reduced-price lunches. The District also announced that enrollment in Ignite Reading at Little Rock schools will double to serve 2,000 students this fall. 

Ignite Reading’s Founder and CEO Jessica Reid Sliwerski and national literacy advocate Kareem Weaver joined leaders and students at Washington Elementary today to showcase the nationally recognized program. The demonstration was followed by a Q&A session.

“We are committed to seeking out innovative approaches that enhance academic achievement and elevate educational standards. That’s why we’re excited to announce our partnership with Ignite Reading is growing, with enrollment in the tutoring program doubling to 2,000 students this fall. In just a matter of months, we’ve seen remarkable reading progress. Through this collaboration, we will continue to provide tailored, one-to-one tutoring in foundational reading skills, ensuring that every Little Rock student establishes a solid literacy base - the cornerstone for future success in life,” said Dr. Jermall Wright, Superintendent of the Little Rock School District.

Ignite Reading pairs developing readers with expert tutors who deliver daily, 15-minute, Science of Reading-based instruction to target specific literacy decoding gaps. In addition to Arkansas, Ignite Reading is partnering with schools and districts in California, Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts, New York, and Oregon this fall.

Ignite Reading’s program is seamlessly integrated into the school day and takes the burden off teachers by providing individualized instruction for every student. By focusing on the foundational skills of phonological awareness, decoding, and word recognition, Ignite Reading helps students master the key foundational skills that equip them to become independent readers. The company is now teaching students to read in over 35 schools and districts across seven states, with further plans to expand nationwide. 

"We are honored to announce the expansion of our partnership with the Little Rock School District. With Ignite Reading's high-impact, one-to-one tutoring model, participating students are mastering reading skills at a rate double what's expected in a traditional classroom setting. In addition to propelling students' reading progress and reversing pandemic-induced learning losses, we’re also seeing a significant positive impact on students’ social-emotional development. We are absolutely delighted to continue serving the incredible students, families, and educational institutions of Little Rock," said Jessica Reid Sliwerski, Founder & CEO of Ignite Reading.

A month after the showcase, Little Rock School District will host the early literacy documentary, The Right to Read, at an exclusive community screening for educators, parents, and community partners. This event will include Executive Producer LeVar Burton, Emmy award-winning Director Jenny Mackenzie, national literacy advocate Kareem Weaver, and education policy expert Dr. Kymyona Burk. The event will be on Wednesday, October 11. Additional details on time and location will be forthcoming. 

“In order to ensure our kids are competitive in the information age, they have to be able to access information. That means we’ve got to focus on literacy,” said Kareem Weaver, national literacy advocate and Executive Director of Fulcrum, who attended today’s showcase. “I am extremely impressed with Ignite Reading's science of reading-based approach to addressing the literacy crisis head-on. It's an innovative program that is demonstrating positive results in Little Rock and schools across the country and giving our kids the tools they need to get ahead and stay ahead.”

About Ignite Reading 
Ignite Reading’s mission is to ensure that every student is an independent reader by the end of first grade. The organization was co-founded by CEO Jessica Reid Sliwerski and Evan Marwell, Executive Chairman of Ignite and CEO of EducationSuperHighway. Ignite Reading pairs schools with a dedicated literacy specialist and a team of virtual reading tutors, all highly trained in the Science of Reading, who deliver 1:1 daily instruction to students focused on their specific decoding gaps. Ignite’s data-driven approach, provided by caring and skilled tutors, gives kids the know-how and confidence they need to thrive as fluent readers. The Ignite Reading program, delivered 15 minutes per day during a school’s literacy block, takes the burden of differentiated instruction off of teachers and has an impact immediately. For more information about Ignite Reading, visit:

About the Little Rock School District
The Little Rock School District is the state’s second-largest district, serving more than 21,000 students. LRSD added the new 400,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Little Rock Southwest Magnet High School to its educational fleet in 2020 with a capacity of 2,200 students. Continuing to build on that momentum, the District will soon welcome a new K-8 and new high school. LRSD has the distinction of having three national Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence, nearly 200 teachers with National Board Certification, and historically, within the past decade, the most National Merit Semifinalists in the state, a record 30 in 2021. LRSD is also home to the 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year and consistently ranks among the top award recipients in STEM-related competitions and the performing/creative arts.