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Curriculum Details for
Reading Is Cool!

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Practitioner Expert
Content Expert
Reading Is Cool!
Publication Date: 2000
Grade Level: K–8
Content Focus: Literacy
Costs: $650
The costs shown were accurate at the time of the review. Please check the publisher's web site for current prices.
Developer Contact Information
School’s Out Washington
801 23rd Ave, Suite A
Seattle, WA, 98144
(206) 323-2396

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Design Summary

Reading is COOL is designed specifically for the afterschool setting. The goals of the program are to encourage students to enjoy recreational reading, increase exposure to literacy-based activities and resources, and expand access to culturally relevant literature.  The program’s mission is also to encourage students to think about reading as a part of everyday life, and help students learn to see reading in everyday life and to choose reading as a recreational activity.  Reading is COOL promotes relationships, community, pride, service, connection to school, and building students’ self-image as learners.

Materials include a curriculum guide and a kit containing 40 titles for reading, covering many genres and representing a range of cultural backgrounds.  There are blank journals for students to record their thoughts and progress, as well as prizes and other incentives to be given as awards for self-directed reading.  Various assessment tools are included within the curriculum as well. Multiple learning styles are addressed, as the curriculum emphasizes different ways to practice literacy skills, including through physical activity, reading, listening, writing, and other means of engagement.

Costs and Staff Training

The Curriculum Guide and Kit costs $650, and the guide can also be purchased separately for $29.95.  There are grants offered to local programs to supplement costs.

Training is available but not required and comes at a cost of $1,900 for a 5-hour onsite session. Programs have the option of partnering with each other for a team training at a reduced cost.  A few times per year free trainings are offered in Washington state, where the curriculum is published.

Staff Qualifications

The curriculum was created to be delivered by afterschool providers, so formal teaching experience is not needed to implement Reading is Cool. Content expert reviews support this, suggesting also that an instructor may need to think creatively and have strong buy-in to the importance of infusing a program with literacy activities.

Standards Alignment

  • National: None specified.
  • State: None specified, although they provide information to help programs align with state-specific standards.

Research Base

The Search Institute Developmental Assets serve as the foundation for Reading is COOL.

Evaluation Details

There has not been a formal evaluation of Reading is COOL, but the program has been mentioned as exemplary by the Chapin Hall Center for Children.

Overall Strengths/Overall Challenges

  • Based on great ideas with great potential.
  • The trainers and representatives from the company seemed inviting and friendly.
  • Programs of all types can use it in a way that is appropriate to them.
  • Curriculum is suited to the needs of afterschool programs.
  • Some users might feel overwhelmed by the lack of structure, and may want more concrete guidelines and scripted activities.
  • Reading is Cool may be too basic for programs already committed to teaching literacy.
  • Some may feel that more resources, ideas, and guidance are needed.

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