Governor Eric Holcomb and Indiana Secretary of Education Dr. Katie Jenner Thursday joined Lilly Endowment Inc. to announce the state’s largest-ever financial investment in literacy, expanding Indiana’s commitment to support literacy development for Hoosier students.

This combined investment from the state and Lilly Endowment of up to $111 million will support early literacy development using proven teaching strategies aligned with the Science of Reading.

The state will: 

-Support the deployment of instructional coaches to schools throughout Indiana; 

-Offer stipends to teachers who participate in professional development focused on the Science of Reading; 

-Provide targeted support for students who need the most help in improving their reading skills; and 

-Create a literacy center focused on Science of Reading strategies.

Lilly Endowment has approved a grant of up to $60 million for this effort. These efforts will support the state’s goal of having 95 percent of Indiana’s students pass IREAD-3 by 2027.

Lilly Endowment’s grant, in addition to the Indiana Department of Education’s (IDOE’s) investment of approximately $26 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) II funds, aims to provide Science of Reading focused instructional support for educators in partnership with the University of Indianapolis’ Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) and the Hunt Institute.

The Science of Reading is a research-based strategy that integrates instructional practices with efforts focused around phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Decades of child development and brain research emphasize the need for all of these components to be taught to students to ensure they have the reading skills necessary for future academic and life success.

The state’s team will work with the Hunt Institute, which has nationally recognized expertise in the Science of Reading, to provide training and content for teachers. In addition, an advisory panel of national experts in the Science of Reading will regularly advise IDOE on all of these efforts.

Holcomb’s office says future teachers entering the state’s elementary school system should be prepared to use Science of Reading instruction in their classrooms as well. In addition to the $60 million grant to IDOE, Lilly Endowment will make available up to $25 million to support Indiana’s colleges and universities to incorporate or enhance Science of Reading methods into their undergraduate elementary teacher preparation programs.