Future Forward Literacy
|Grade Levels||Group Size||Tutor Type||Qualifying Studies||Average Effect Size|
|Free and Reduced Lunch|
Future Forward is a research-based early literacy intervention that provides a support system for kindergarten through third-grade students struggling with reading with integrated one-on-one tutoring and family engagement. Future Forward tutors are supervised by a certified teacher or youth-serving professional, and the program is freestanding, using customized curriculum and dedicated staff, yet has the full collaboration of school administrators and classroom teachers. We work with a child’s home and learning community toward the ultimate goal for all students to read at grade level by the end of third grade, with a special focus on decoding text.
Future Forward tutors are paid, professional team members extensively trained in our proven curriculum, with prior experience working successfully with young children. Tutors are trained and supervised by Program Managers, who are state-certified educators or youth-serving professionals who support high-quality lesson planning and program implementation through observation, data collection, and regular ongoing professional development. Additionally, Family Engagement Coordinators work with every child enrolled in the program and are a coequal part of our program model, aligned with research indicating increased caregiver engagement in children’s schooling is connected to early literacy gains and significant decreases in chronic absenteeism. Family Engagement Coordinators promote literacy in the home and in the community, providing a safe, supportive space for students to develop confidence and self-esteem. They are in regular contact with caregivers through events, home visits, social media, written communication, phone calls, and any other method of outreach a family prefers.
Future Forward was designed for students from kindergarten through 3rd grade who are reading below grade level. Students work one-on-one with a dedicated, trained tutor for 30 minutes three times per week. Families are also connected with a trained Family Engagement Coordinator who provides supplemental support material, conducts monthly family literacy events, and assists and supports the school/ family relationship.
Future Forward is not technology dependent. We have a variety of technology resources to support student learning, however, and are able to serve students virtually if that is preferred for a school community. Program management and data tracking occurs through a customized online administrative platform that allows prompt access for administrators to monitor learning throughout a student’s engagement with the program.
Future Forward’s curriculum is aligned with the science of reading, and focuses on building phonological awareness in our earliest emerging readers. Our program model introduces and reinforces each of the essential components of reading through a systematic, explicit, engaging scope and sequence based on each child’s individual mastery and need for reinforcement with each skill. This direct instruction is reinforced through family engagement, which bridges learning with natural, fun, home-based activities.
Students in Future Forward begin their engagement with the program with a brief literacy survey (Renaissance Learning’s STAR Early Literacy screener) to benchmark their growth. Throughout their engagement with the program, tutoring sessions regularly assess student fluency and comprehension through natural, embedded formative evaluations including regular running records, “spell checks” that verify alignment to and mastery of material, writing activities, and tracking of skills.
Future Forward is embedded in the school learning community, requiring a dedicated learning space for tutors to work one-on-one with their students. The Future Forward classroom is a fun, exciting, special place for students to meet with “their” tutor, with whom they quickly build strong relationships. All lessons are designed to promote growth mindset, and tutor engagement with students focuses on the child’s skills, mastery, ability, and progress without highlighting deficits. This emphasis is also a key part of our family engagement, where caregivers are explicitly given support in various social-emotional skills they can promote naturally in their homes. All engagement with families emphasizes our core values that parents are a child’s first, best teacher and all families fundamentally want what’s best for their children. Our team is trained to look for success and lift up good practice even if families may not have identified their own actions as explicitly supporting their child’s literacy.
Professional Development, Progress Monitoring, and Follow-up
All Program Managers and Family Engagement Coordinators receive 40 hours of initial training from national staff, either in-person or virtually. Regional Coordinators help hire, train, and provide ongoing management, professional development, and programmatic support for Program Managers, Family Engagement Coordinators, and Tutors as needed. Local team members can be hired directly by schools/ districts, in partnership with a community partner of the school/ district’s preference, or directly by the national Future Forward team. Throughout the program, lessons and student progress are tracked through the online management platform and used to monitor progress and appropriate curriculum delivery. Regular observations are conducted and used along with student engagement and implementation monitoring data to provide ongoing support and professional development for tutors.
Annual School Site Costs
Total Cost Per School: Approximately $115,000
|Future Forward Team |
.5 FTE Program Manager
.5 FTE Family Engagement Coordinator
.4 FTE Tutors (five)
|Approximately $70,000 |
*Assumes part-time positions
*Varies greatly based on prevailing wages in a community and school staffing model
|Supply and Material Costs (per school) |
Staff computers/technology, books, subscriptions, family engagement events, incentives, supplies
|Training, Management, Professional Development |
Regional and national support infrastructure, training, ongoing professional development, online management platform, implementation manual and resources, and all other site support
*If district assumes responsibility for program staffing, then program costs will be limited to the cost of supplies and training, management and professional development.
Research on Program Outcomes
One study of Future Forward met ProvenTutoring standards for low-achieving students. This randomized study, which took place in schools mostly serving Black students in Milwaukee in grades K-2, found an effect size of +0.51 for reading achievement.
- Jones, C. J. (2015). The results of a randomized control trial evaluation of the SPARK literacy program.