In a small school on the South Side of Chicago, 40 children between the ages of five and six sit quietly learning in a classroom, The Economist reports. In front of each of them is a computer running software called Reading Eggs. Some are reading a short story, others building sentences with words they are learning. The least advanced are capturing all the upper- and lower-case Bs that fly past in the sky. As they complete each task they move through a cartoon map that shows how far they have progressed in reading and writing. Along the way they collect...

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