Ready to Learn Partnership, 2005–06
The U.S. Department of Education Ready to Learn Partnership (RTLP) was established to support research studies evaluating the effectiveness of newly developed and innovative early literacy materials, media products and platforms created for children, parents, educators, early childhood caregivers and service providers. The research aims to increase literacy skills in children ages two to eight. A particular focus of the research is to help children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds get a strong start as they enter school and to empower them to become lifelong learners who will have better chances to succeed.
Funding from RTLP was awarded to the Children's Studies Center as co-principal investigators, in October 2005. As a university partner in the first year of the grant, Brooklyn College selected 16 students to become researchers as a part of a campuswide recruitment campaign. The students were trained and completed a Collaborative Institutional Review Board (IRB) Training Initiative certificate course administered by the City University of New York for Human Subjects Research Computer-based Training. The students were then employed through the grant and assigned to conduct research with more than 20 preschool and kindergarten educators as a part of the first pilot formative study. They traveled throughout the New York City metropolitan area to meet with educators onsite at their schools and to conduct a closing questionnaire survey regarding educational materials that were used with the children in each classroom during the previous two weeks.
Follow-up focus groups and data collected from the student researchers contributed to the development of award-winning educational materials and numerous media platforms. One example is the children's show called Word World, which was launched in 2007 on PBS KIDS. It is the recipient of three Emmy Awards and is recognized by many critics and experts as a valuable learning tool for children.