2022 Annual Report:

In 2022, Lilly Endowment launched in coordination with the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) complementary efforts to improve reading instruction for children in kindergarten through second grade in Indiana schools through the use of evidence-based teaching practices aligned with the Science of Reading (SoR). The Endowment is allocating up to $85 million to fund these efforts.

According to the Reading League, SoR is “a vast interdisciplinary body of scientifically based research about reading and issues related to reading and writing.” It provides a research-based strategy that integrates instructional practices with efforts focused around phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

Learning to read in the early years of elementary school is the foundation upon which all subsequent learning builds. Unfortunately, only 33 percent of Indiana fourth graders in 2022 were proficient readers according to the National Assessment of Education Progress. Students from economically disadvantaged households fared even worse. The assessment also revealed significant equity gaps in reading achievement between Black and Hispanic students and their white peers.

Kareem Weaver, a Science of Reading expert from Oakland, Calif., and Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education.

Because SoR-aligned teaching practices have been shown to significantly improve students’ reading abilities, the Endowment is providing:

  • Up to $60 million to expand IDOE’s efforts to provide coaching and professional development in SoR teaching practices for a majority of Indiana’s current kindergarten, first and second grade teachers.
  • Up to $25 million for the Advancing Science of Reading Initiative (ASRI) to help Indiana colleges and universities that prepare future educators align the instructional methods and curricula used in their teacher preparation programs to those demonstrated to lead to early reading success based on SoR. Planning grants are helping 31 Indiana colleges and universities learn more about SoR, examine how they could enhance and expand the teaching of SoR practices and prepare proposals for implementation grants from the Endowment. The Endowment expects to award implementation grants in 2023 ranging from $500,000 to up to $1.5 million to support compelling strategies focused on the use of SoR in teacher preparation.

In October 2022, the Endowment invited Indiana higher education leaders to a convening to learn more about SoR and ASRI’s grant opportunities (photo below). More than 150 college and university presidents, provosts, and deans, department chairs and faculty in teacher preparation programs heard from national SoR experts. Presentations addressed how reading achievement is improving in communities whose schools have adopted SoR practices and how the teaching of such practices can be strengthened in teacher preparation programs.