December 12, 2023
Contact: Judith Cebula
317.916.7327 |

Grants Will Help Strengthen Reading Instruction
for Indiana Students


INDIANAPOLIS – Lilly Endowment Inc. has approved more than $21.5 million in implementation grants to help 28 colleges and universities in Indiana prepare the next generation of teachers in methods aligned with the Science of Reading.

The Endowment made the grants through its initiative, Advancing the Science of Reading in Indiana (ASRI). The initiative’s aim is to improve significantly the reading abilities of Indiana K-12 students by helping teachers strengthen their use of methods aligned with the Science of Reading, a vast body of research related to how children learn to read. Methods aligned with the research include explicit, systematic and cumulative instruction focused on phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

The Endowment, which has long supported efforts to improve educational outcomes for students in Indiana’s K-12 schools, launched ASRI in 2022 to help address low reading achievement among Indiana students. Only 33 percent of Indiana fourth graders scored proficient in reading comprehension in the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress, often called ‘The Nation’s Report Card.’

The Endowment through ASRI allocated up to $25 million to provide Indiana colleges and universities that prepare K-12 teachers with planning and implementation grants to enhance or expand the use of Science of Reading in teacher preparation. Planning grants to 31 colleges and universities awarded in 2022 enabled the schools to learn more about Science of Reading and prepare proposals for implementation grants to help strengthen the use of Science of Reading in their programs.

The amounts of the implementation grants range from $325,400 to $1.5 million  and are based on the number of Indiana teaching licenses granted to graduates of the college or university in early childhood, elementary and/or special education. The schools will take a variety of approaches to integrate Science of Reading-aligned methods into how they prepare teachers to teach young children to read. These include:

  • Redesigning courses to align with Science of Reading methods, including courses in special education.
  • Integrating Science of Reading principles into existing student teaching experiences and other field work and establishing new opportunities to practice using Science of Reading-aligned methods, such as tutoring local elementary-age students.
  • Establishing Science of Reading-aligned resource libraries to support faculty, student teachers and current K-12 educators in local communities.
  • Providing robust professional development for faculty in teacher preparation programs so they are well-versed in Science of Reading principles.
  • Pursuing Science of Reading-aligned accreditation from the International Dyslexia Association.

Read the list of schools receiving grants here. The Endowment anticipates approving additional grants in 2024 to support other teacher preparation programs in Indiana.

“It is imperative that more of Indiana’s elementary students learn to read proficiently, and it is essential that current teachers and the next generation of teachers are prepared to use proven methods to teach reading in their classrooms,” said Ted Maple, the Endowment’s vice president for education. “We are pleased therefore to help Indiana colleges and universities strengthen the use of these research-based methods to teach reading in their teacher preparation programs.”

Earlier this year, Indiana enacted a law requiring Indiana school districts to adopt curricula that are aligned with Science of Reading methods. The law also requires that teacher preparation programs ensure that their curricula align with Science of Reading principles. Additionally, teachers first licensed after June 2025 in the areas of early childhood, elementary generalist and special education will be required to earn a new literacy endorsement to demonstrate that they are proficient in Science of Reading principles.

ASRI complements a statewide effort undertaken in 2022 by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) to improve reading achievement in K-12 schools by helping current teachers implement Science of Reading-aligned methods in their classrooms. In 2022, the Endowment made a $60 million grant to the IDOE to support that work with school districts and teachers across the Indiana.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private foundation created in 1937 by J. K. Lilly and his sons, Eli and J.K. Jr., through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with its founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education, and religion, and it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.