Hofmeister announces $13 million science of reading initiative

Mike Seals - August 5, 2021 11:38 pm

Will be available for 10,000 teachers


OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 5, 2021) – New Oklahoma Science of Reading Academies will be available at no cost to 10,000 kindergarten through third-grade teachers over the next three years. This announcement by the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) today comes in the wake of new research indicating academic progress for many students has been negatively impacted by the pandemic.

The OSDE is using approximately $13 million in federal relief to fund comprehensive professional development for four groups of teachers. They will spend two years on research-based Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) training on the science of reading starting this month through December 2024. 

“This initiative has the potential to foster reading and writing proficiency for literally millions of children,” said Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “We have known for the past decade that instruction strategies grounded in brain science are the best way to ensure our youngest learners attain the critical literacy skills needed for future academic success. Oklahoma Science of Reading Academies offer extensive professional learning for our early-grade teachers. The foundation for literacy built from these academies will reap rewards not only for students who have faced disrupted learning due to the pandemic but for every learner in a participating teacher’s classrooms for the entirety of their careers.” 

The training focuses on the science of reading, which uses evidence-based research on how students learn to read, why they struggle and how to make individualized interventions. The academies will result in educators more effectively teaching students to read.

Two hundred Enid Public Schools teachers and administrators have completed LETRS training in the past year. An additional 75 plan to participate this school year.  

“This training has given our teachers the ‘why’ behind what they do every day and has demystified one of the most difficult tasks students are learning – how to read,” said Enid Public Schools curriculum director Kristen Jones. “Our teachers have reported that they are more confident in their literacy instruction, we’ve seen growth in our students and we have a more effective intervention program. We are excited to see continued growth and improvement in the years to come.” 

Registration for the Oklahoma Science of Reading Academies, an initiative under Ready Together Oklahoma: An Action Plan for Supporting Students Through the Pandemic and Beyondis available now. The OSDE launched the plan in May with online resources to support schools and communities with federal relief funds. Learn more on the Science of Reading Academies web page and in this FAQ document.


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