18:00 PM

$46 million grant will help Ohio State expand Reading Recovery

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State University has received a $46 million federal grant to dramatically expand an early intervention program for first-graders who struggle with reading.

The grant will allow Ohio State’s College of Education and Human Ecology and its 14 university partners around the country to build on the success of the Reading Recovery program.

Combined with an additional $10 million in matching funds raised by the university, the grant will enable training for 3,750 teachers over the next five years to become Reading Recovery teachers.

As a result, about 90,000 first-graders will receive Reading Recovery’s intensive one-to-one daily tutoring.

The grant to Ohio State from the U.S. Department of Education is part of a $650 million grant initiative called Investing in Innovation. The $10 million dollar matching funds component of the gift is comprised of a combination of gifts from private donors, foundations, and corporations.

“We’re taking a literacy intervention that has proven to be effective, and more than doubling the number of students it serves,” said Jerome D’Agostino, the project director of the new effort and associate professor of educational policy and leadership at Ohio State.

“We’ll be reaching out to students at some of the most needy schools in the country.”

D’Agostino is leading the project, and Emily Rodgers, associate professor, and Patricia Scharer, professor, both in the Department of Teaching and Learning, are project co-directors.

In addition to the students who receive the one-to-one training, another 405,000 first-graders will get small group or classroom reading instruction from these specially trained teachers, D’Agostino said, further enhancing the effectiveness of the grant.

Reading Recovery is tailored for the lowest-performing first-grade students in literacy skills. Teachers are trained to give individualized 30-minute lessons each day for about 12 to 20 weeks.

Research suggests that about 75 percent of these lowest-performing students reach grade level standard by the end of the program.

Ohio State was the first university in the United States to adopt Reading Recovery, which was developed in New Zealand in the 1970s. Ohio State remains one of the leaders of the program.

“We have a 25-year history of Reading Recovery in the United States and there has been a lot of evidence of its success,” D’Agostino said.

“That evidence was what convinced the Department of Education that the program should be scaled up so more children can have access to it.”

D’Agostino said the grant leaders are currently in the process of identifying schools that are eligible to participate in the project. Leaders are particularly interested in finding schools that are ranked in the bottom 5 percent of schools, those that serve large populations of English language learners and those located in rural areas.

In Ohio, about 25 teachers will be trained each year for the next five years, for a total of 125 new Reading Recovery teachers.

Ohio State’s partner universities are Clemson, Georgia State, Lesley University, National-Louis University, New York University, Oakland University (Michigan), Saint Mary’s College, Texas Women’s University, University of Arkansas—Little Rock, University of Connecticut, University of Kentucky, University of Maine, University of Northern Iowa, and the University of South Dakota. The University of Pennsylvania is the external evaluator.

Including the Reading Recovery grant, Ohio State’s College of Education and Human Ecology has received $72 million of federal funding for three large education projects in the last four months.

The college also received a $20 million grant to improve reading skills in children from prekindergarten to grade three, and $6 million to improve professional development for preschool teachers.