KU part of a $27M grant program to boost literacy for struggling readers

photo by: Mike Yoder

Joseph R. Pearson Hall, home of KU's School of Education, near 11th Street and West Campus Road, is pictured in this file photo from 2008.

The Center for Research on Learning at the University of Kansas will be part of a $27 million federal grant program to boost literacy for struggling Kansas readers.

The Kansas State Department of Education awarded the grant as part of the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

The project is designed to improve literacy skills for students from birth through grade 12, with a focus on English learners, students with disabilities and students from low-income households, said Suzanne Myers, a researcher at KU’s Center for Research on Learning.

The state education department and the KU team have identified eight “subgrantees” made up of 32 school districts across the state. Each subgrantee will receive more than $3 million to implement the Striving Readers program.

Researchers will help schools build models that meet the specific challenges of their communities and students, said Michael Hock, the director of the Center for Research on Learning, in a news release from KU.

“The initiative has the potential to impact literacy outcomes for large numbers of Kansas children who are currently not reaching their potential to be college- and career-ready graduates of Kansas schools,” Hock said.

Seventy-seven school districts across the state applied at the federal level to participate in the program.

“It was very competitive,” Myers said. To help make the process fair, smaller districts with fewer than 5,000 students were able to apply as a consortium.

Researchers at KU are currently working with teachers in the selected schools to help them set goals for student learning and develop action plans for meeting their goals.

The grant will last three years, Myers said.


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