Indiana, Lilly Endowment Partner to Support Early Literacy for Hoosier Students

The state goal is to have 95 percent of Indiana’s students pass IREAD-3 by 2027.

INDIANAPOLIS - Today, Governor Eric Holcomb and Indiana Secretary of Education Dr. Katie Jenner joined Lilly Endowment Inc. to announce the state’s largest-ever financial investment in literacy.

The combined investment from the state and Lilly Endowment of up to $111 million will support early literacy development using proven teaching strategies aligned with the Science of Reading.

The state will: 

  • Support the deployment of instructional coaches to schools throughout Indiana; 
  • Offer stipends to teachers who participate in professional development focused on the Science of Reading; 
  • Provide targeted support for students who need the most help in improving their reading skills; and 
  • Create a literacy center focused on Science of Reading strategies.

Lilly Endowment has approved a grant of up to $60 million for this effort. These efforts will support the state’s goal of having 95 percent of Indiana’s students pass IREAD-3 by 2027.

Last week, the Indiana Department of Education released results from the 2021-22 IREAD-3 assessment. The results show that one in five Hoosier third graders (18.4 percent) are not yet reading proficient.

“Lilly Endowment’s incredible investment today represents a long-term commitment to Indiana’s long-term success,” said Governor Holcomb. “Reading is fundamental to each student’s lifelong opportunities, and it’s foundational to the core of our state’s future. This immense investment will make an enduring impact on our youngest generation of Hoosiers, empowering them with fundamental skills that they will carry with them throughout their lives.”

The funding will also:

  • Provide support to educators through instructional coaching in the Science of Reading – Through funding from IDOE, 54 schools across the state are piloting the Science of Reading instructional coaching this fall, with recruitment, oversight and training provided by CELL. With the additional financial support from Lilly Endowment, IDOE expects to expand the reach of this effort to about 60 percent of elementary schools by the end of the 2025-2026 school year. Schools can opt-in to instructional coaching based on student need and school interest. 
  • Provide targeted support for Indiana students experiencing the greatest reading challenges – Many students experience reading challenges, including students in special education, students of color, students whose primary language is not English and students from low-income households.
  • Establish a literacy center at IDOE focused on the Science of Reading – IDOE will recruit additional staff to provide Science of Reading technical assistance to schools, including resources through the Indiana Learning Lab. The literacy center will serve as a one-stop-shop to oversee literacy efforts, manage research and evaluation efforts and maintain quality technical assistance for educators.
  • Provide stipends for teachers who participate in professional development regarding the Science of Reading – As Indiana’s early elementary school educators work to implement the Science of Reading in classrooms across the state, IDOE will provide financial incentives of up to $1,200 per teacher to allow them to opt in to additional training.

“We know that students first learn to read, and then they read to learn,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “This shift typically occurs after a student’s third grade year. However, in Indiana, too many of our students are concluding third grade without foundational reading skills. Fewer still have the reading skills necessary for long-term academic success. As a state, including our schools and community partners, we must lean-in to urgently and intentionally address this challenge. In partnership with Lilly Endowment, we have an unprecedented opportunity to provide Indiana’s educators with the support and tools they need to truly move the needle for Indiana students, ensuring all students receive the foundational reading skills that make all other learning possible, both in the classroom and beyond.”

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