These Phone Notifications Could Actually Change Your Kid's Life

July 16, 2015

Here's one genuinely brilliant use for text messages.

 A little tech goes a long way.

An initiative out of Stanford University has found success in boosting preschoolers’ test scores by sending basic text messages to their parents. The texts, which are sent three times a week during the school year, suggest simple literacy-boosting activities for parents to do with their kids at home.

A pilot of the text message program, called READY4K!, was conducted among mostly low-income families at 31 San Francisco schools during the 2013 – 2014 school year. It was such a success that researchers now plan to roll it out to 50,000 families in 16 states next year. The Clinton Global Initiative will help the researchers maintain dialogue with some school systems once the program is implemented.

But that may just be the beginning.

"We feel like this has opportunities around the world,” Susanna Loeb, a professor of education at Stanford who helped develop the program, told HuffPost.

The reasoning behind using text messages is pretty simple. The overwhelming majority of adults in the United States have some sort of cell phone, and York says 80 percent of the parents who participated in the first phase of READY4K! had unlimited texting plans, even those in economically disadvantaged situations.