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Investee Update: Traveling Stories

Young readers gathered for a Story Tent // PHOTO COURTESY OF TRAVELING STORIES

Traveling Stories has been hard at work, striving to deepen their impact and update their programs to be at their best. Here is the newest update from Executive Director Emily Moberly:

Digital Program Evaluation Tool

In October 2017 Traveling Stories started working with Tablecloth to transform our method of program evaluation from a pen and paper system to a digital one.

The old system tracked each child who visited the StoryTent and allowed us to track how often a child visited the program. It required manual data entry, which often took hours.

The new system is digital and captures pertinent program data in real time. Kids who regularly attend the StoryTent receive a membership card which they scan on an iPad when they check-in and out of the StoryTent. The card is designed to pre-populate data like the child’s name, birthday, and age. Kids then pick an emoji that represents how they feel about reading at that moment. This check-in tool allows us to track kids’ feelings about reading before and after every StoryTent visit. We programmed the system to automatically record the date and time the child signs in and signs out. Using the new system we’re able to track the following: number of children visiting the StoryTent, number of visits (total and for each child), duration of each visit, and changes in attitudes toward reading.

This summer our team took program evaluation one-step further and introduced our Sight Word Spin Wheel as a fun, game-like way to track changes in kids’ reading levels. Kids spin the giant wheel and then read sight words on an iPad that correspond to variance grade levels. Every child starts at a Pre-K level. When a child can read all 5 sight words from a level they “pass” that level, earn a badge, and progress to the next level. This tool is currently tracking kids’ reading levels at our City Heights location and will be rolled out to all San Diego StoryTents in 2019.

Using these digital tools we’re able to make improvements to the program to better reach kids. Plus, the data we collect makes us more appealing to funders. We saw immediate benefits in our grant revenue in 2018, which increased 2500% from 2017.

These new developments make us even more excited to jump in to 2019 with Traveling Stories to make powerful change in our communities! More exciting news to come! Happy New Year, SVP!

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