EarlyBird Will Screen Over 1,000 Kindergarten and First Graders for Learning Differences in NYC Next School Year


Heckscher is supporting the implementation of EarlyBird – an app that detects learning differences early (kindergarten and 1st grades) – in 9 NYC charter schools this upcoming school year.

The diagnosis of developmental dyslexia in underserved children is primarily based on a “wait to fail” approach. Dyslexia diagnoses are usually not made before the third grade even though studies show that intensive interventions are most effective in kindergarten or first grade, and other studies show that a majority of at-risk beginning readers achieve average reading ability levels when provided with intensive instruction.

Heckscher catalyzed a solution to this problem – we supported the development of EarlyBird’s screening app (created by Dr. Nadine Gaab currently at Harvard University Graduate School of Education), the most promising development in the early detection and treatment of learning differences in early childhood.

EarlyBird is now in use in 17 states and 170 schools nationwide. Heckscher first supported the implementation of it in NYC charter schools with a cohort of kindergarten students for the 2021-2022 school year and, after advertising the ap in a charter school newsletter, received extensive interest for the 2022-2023 school year where it will reach over 1,000 students.

In 2022, the NYC Public Schools announced a new emphasis on dyslexia screening and we expect that EarlyBird will be among the tools used in NYC public schools.