A $111 million investment to help Hoosier students read better

The goal is to have 95% of Indiana students pass IREAD-3 by 2027.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana, along with the Lilly Endowment, is investing $111 million in early literacy for Hoosier students.

  • Support the placement of Educator Coaches in schools throughout Indiana
  • Offer scholarships to teachers who participate in professional development focused on the science of reading
  • Provide targeted support for students who need the most help improving their reading skills
  • Create a literacy center focused on reading science strategies.

The Lilly Endowment will provide up to $60 million to support the effort.

The goal is to have 95% of Indiana students pass IREAD-3 by 2027.

“The Lilly Endowment’s incredible investment today represents a long-term commitment to Indiana’s long-term success,” said Governor Eric Holcomb. “Reading is fundamental to every student’s lifelong opportunity and is fundamental to the foundation of our state’s future. This huge investment will have a lasting impact on our youngest generation of Hoosiers, giving them essential skills they will carry with them throughout their lives.”

The state’s third-grade reading assessment results show that one in five students have not mastered basic reading skills.

Only 40% of Indiana third graders passed the English/Language Arts portion of ILEARN in 2022. The 2019 NAEP found that only 17% of black students, 24% of Hispanic students, and 24% of students from low-income households income have a score or better score.

Here’s more about what the funds will help with:

  • Providing teacher support through instructional instruction in the science of reading – Through funding from IDOE, 54 schools across the state are piloting reading science instruction this fall, with recruitment, supervision and training provided by CELL. With additional financial support from the 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 for instructional learning based on student needs and school interests.
  • 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.
  • Create a literacy center at IDOE focused on the science of reading – IDOE will hire 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 for monitoring literacy efforts, managing research and evaluation efforts, and maintaining quality technical assistance for educators.
  • Provide scholarships for teachers who engage in professional development related to the science of reading – As Indiana early elementary 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 engage in additional instruction.

“We know that students learn to read first and then read to learn,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “This change usually occurs after a student’s third year. However, in Indiana, too many of our students are graduating third grade without basic reading skills.”

To view the state press conference on the reading initiative, click here.

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