$111 Million Early Literacy Investment

The state of Indiana and Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. on Thursday announced what they’re calling the largest financial investment in literacy in the state’s history. The Indiana Department of Education says the $111 million investment will support the state’s goal of having 95% of Hoosier students pass the IREAD-3 exam by 2027. Governor Eric Holcomb and Indiana Secretary of Education Dr. Katie Jenner announced the investment during an event Thursday in Anderson. The state says the investment will support the deployment of instructional coaches to Hoosier schools, offer stipends of up to $1,200 to teachers who participate in professional development focused on the Science of Reading, provide targeted support for students in need of improving their reading skills, and create a literacy center focused on Science of Reading strategies. The Science of Reading, the IDOE says, is a research-based strategy that integrates instructional practices with efforts focused around phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. As part of the effort, Lilly Endowment has committed a $60 million investment. The announcement of the investment comes about a week after the IDOE said nearly one in five students “have not yet mastered foundational reading skills by the end of grade three.” The most recent IREAD-3 results found only about 82% of students passed. The state is committing $26 million to the effort and says Lilly Endowment plans to provide an additional $25 million to support Indiana colleges and universities’ efforts to incorporate or enhance Science of Reading methods into their undergraduate elementary education teacher programs.

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The following schools took part of the Indiana Department of Education Science of Reading 2022 study on IREAD in the 2nd grade:

Emmanuel-St. Michael Lutheran School, Fort Wayne – Principal Ben Stellwagen

Immanuel Lutheran School, Valparaiso – Principal Josh Bachman

St. John-Emmanuel Lutheran School, Monroeville – Principal Ina Guenin

Trinity Lutheran School, Hobart – Principal Molly Arroyo

Woodburn Lutheran School, Woodburn – Principal Ron Kammeyer