Literacy for Adolescents: Applying Academic Principles to Foster Real Change in Online Education

September 25, 2023
Michael Horn


Literacy for adolescents in the United States needs to play catch up. Can online education help fill the gap?

In recent years, the digital age has significantly shifted how education is delivered, especially in literacy. With the rise of online education, there’s an increasing need to address the literacy crisis affecting adolescents worldwide. A staggering 68% of fourth graders, as per the NAEP report card, are not proficient in reading. This alarming statistic underscores the urgency of the situation. But what can be done to bridge this gap and ensure that every student, regardless of their background, has access to quality reading materials tailored to their needs?

How can we effectively leverage online platforms to foster genuine literacy among adolescents, especially those who have moved past the foundational stages of learning to read?

Welcome to The Future of Education with host Michael B. Horn. In this episode, Horn looks at literacy for adolescents and ways to apply academic principles to foster real change in online education. Louise Baigelman, Founder and CEO of Storyshares, joined Horn for the discussion, where they focused on several topics, including the following:

  • The challenges faced by middle school students who are beginning readers, often due to migration or learning disabilities
  • The lack of age-appropriate reading materials for these students leading to disinterest and further stagnation in their reading skills
  • The innovative solution offered by Storyshares, which curates engaging stories tailored to the reading level of the student, fostering both interest and skill development

Louise Baigelman, a passionate reader and writer, began her journey in education as an English major. She later joined Teach for America, teaching middle school English to language learners in Lynn, north of Boston. Her experiences in the classroom, coupled with her work at a family foundation focused on learning disabilities, laid the foundation for Storyshares. Recognizing the immense gap in reading materials for adolescents reading below their grade level, Louise embarked on a mission to create engaging, relevant, and readable content for these students. Through Storyshares, she has addressed the literacy crisis and empowered countless students to rediscover the joy of reading.

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