$111 million investment to help Hoosier students read better

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

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

  • Support the deployment of instructional coaches in schools across Indiana
  • Offer scholarships to teachers who participate in professional development focused on the Science of Reading
  • Provide targeted support to students who need more help to improve their reading skills
  • Create a literacy center focused on Science of Reading strategies.

The Lilly Endowment will contribute up to $60 million to help with the effort.

The goal is for 95% of Indiana students to 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 critical to every student’s lifelong opportunities and is critical to the core of our state’s future. This immense investment will have a lasting impact on our youngest generation of Hoosiers, equipping them with skills fundamentals that they will carry with them throughout their lives.”

The state’s scores for the third-grade reading assessment found that one in five students has 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 scored at or above par.

Here’s more information on what the funds will help do:

  • Provide support to educators through instructional training in the Science of Reading – Through IDOE funding, 54 schools across the state are rolling out Science of Reading training this fall, with recruitment, oversight and training provided by CELL. With additional financial support from the Lilly Endowment, IDOE hopes to expand the reach of this effort to nearly 60 percent of elementary schools by the end of the 2025-2026 school year. Schools can opt for educational coaching depending on the needs of the student and the interest of the school.
  • Provide targeted support to Indiana students who experience the greatest reading challenges – Many students experience reading challenges, including special education students, 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 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 to oversee literacy efforts, manage research and evaluation efforts, and maintain quality technical assistance for educators.
  • Provide scholarships to teachers who participate in the professional development of the Science of Reading – As Indiana’s first 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 enable them to qualify for additional training.

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

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

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