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HomeScience of ReadingIndiana Invests $111M in Science of Reading

Indiana Invests $111M in Science of Reading

Indiana’s literacy rate is on the decline. Just a decade ago, students taking the state’s third-grade reading exam, IREAD-3, passed at a rate of 91.4%. This year, the pass rate was just about ten percentage points lower, at 81.6%.

As with other areas across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic spurred some of this decline—scores are about 6% lower than they were during the 2018–2019 school year. To combat the state’s shrinking literacy rate, Indiana governor Eric Holcomb announced in August that the state will be investing $111 million as part of an initiative to improve and further develop reading and literacy programs in Indiana schools.

“It couldn’t be a more timely response to the last couple years,” Holcomb said in his announcement of the investment. “I am just so exhilarated—quite frankly, excited—to see from kindergarten to fourth grade the impact this is going to have over just the next five years.”
With the $111 million investment of state and philanthropic funds, Holcomb has his eyes set on attaining a 95% pass rate on the IREAD-3 by 2027.

To do this, the initiative will focus on teaching literacy with a more scientific approach—beginning in the coming school year, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) will launch a pilot program to employ instructional coaches who specialize in the science of reading to support reading teachers at 54 different schools throughout the state.

By 2026, Holcomb’s administration hopes to expand the program to cover 60% of the state’s schools.

A little more than 20% of the $111 million in funding will go toward the development of higher education programs, to better prepare new reading teachers. To encourage reading teachers who are already working in the state’s education system to incorporate scientific principles into their teaching methods, the IDOE will provide teachers a stipend of $1,200 to undergo training in the science of reading. The state also plans to develop special support systems for students from marginalized backgrounds, who tend to score lower on IREAD-3 than their peers—this includes students of color, students with learning disabilities, and multilingual learners.
Andrew Warner

Language Magazine
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