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K – 3

Future Forward Literacy — Struggling Readers

Essa Rating
No. Studies
No. Students
Average Effect Size

Program Description

Future Forward is an early literacy intervention that provides a support system for kindergarten through third grade students struggling with reading that integrates one-on-one tutoring and family engagement. FF leverages a school-community-family partnership strategy to address the literacy needs of both students and families. Within FF program sites, each building has an assigned site manager, who is typically a certified teacher, and a family engagement coordinator (FEC). The site manager manages the tutoring activities, which includes the hiring of, generally paraprofessional, tutors to conduct one-on- one tutoring and coordinates with the school and teachers to schedule sessions around core instruction classes. The FEC is responsible for family outreach and communication, which involves monthly family events and ongoing contacts to help facilitate literacy development outside of school. The individual tutoring sessions vary based on the skills and interests of the students. Areas of focus during the sessions can include a focus on letter sounds, phonological awareness, shared readings, tutor read aloud, leveled/instructional readings, and writing activities. FF sites are expected to provide students with a minimum of three 30-minute tutoring sessions per week and to communicate with families at least two times per month.

Future Forward is a freestanding program, using customized curriculum and dedicated staff, with the full collaboration of school administrators and classroom teachers. Future Forward staff 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.

Program Outcomes

In comparison to a control group, students in Future Forward (formerly SPARK) Literacy scored significantly higher than controls on MAP and PALS reading tests, with a mean effect size of +0.29. Effect sizes were much larger for students in the lower half on pretest scores (effect size=+0.51) than for students in the upper half (effect size=+0.18). Effects were also larger for students in kindergarten and first grade than for those in second grade.

Staffing Requirements

Depends on number of children served per school. Working with an average of 30 highest-need struggling readers per elementary school requires 1 Program Manager, 1 Family Engagement Coordinator, and 6.5 FTE tutors.


Computers and internet required for virtual implementation. No student technology required for in person implementation.