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SEHS Reading Recovery program awarded $4M grant

Monday, September 27, 2010
SEHS Reading Recovery program awarded $4M grant
By Katie Land, news editor

Oakland University has joined a select group of research institutions chosen to receive a robust U.S. Department of Education grant as part of its broad sweeping Investing in Innovation (i3) initiative, designed to improve achievement for high-need students throughout America.

OU’s School of Education and Human Services will be receiving a $4,011,688 over the course of five years to support the Reading Recovery program, a short-term early literacy intervention program designed to assist first grade children who have extreme difficulties learning to read.

“I am thrilled that the U.S. Department of Education has chosen to fund this national scale-up of Reading Recovery,” said Dr. Mary Lose, associate professor and director of the Reading Recovery Center of Michigan. “The award represents a wonderful opportunity for OU Reading Recovery to build on the 19-year history of our work in Michigan in this important early prevention effort and to expand our services to struggling young literacy learners, their teachers, and their schools.”

The reading program itself involves individual tutoring for high need students, provided daily for 30 minutes per day over a 12 to 20 week period by a trained Reading Recovery teacher.

OU’s program seeks to arm Reading Recovery certified teachers with the tools they need to succeed in the lowest performing schools in the country.

“Reading Recovery has a strong track record of preventing literacy failure for many first graders,” Dr. Lose continued. “By intervening early to prevent later literacy learning failure, we help children become successful readers and writers now to ensure their full participation in Michigan’s future. I find this the most professionally rewarding work of all.”

OU’s program was selected from a highly competitive applicant pool, open to school districts as well as nonprofit organizations, including institutions of higher education working in partnership with public schools.

This grant will make an enormous impact on the reading program at OU, according to Dr. Robert Schwartz, professor and trainer at the Reading Recovery center.

“In addition to the opportunities this grant provides for Michigan teachers and children, it is a strong validation of the research on the effectiveness of Reading Recovery,” said Dr. Schwartz, who is an internationally known researcher into the effectiveness of the Reading Recovery program. “This scale-up grant required the highest level of research evidence based on clinical trials. Oakland faculty played a leading role in conducting this research.”

The i3 fund, which is part of the historic $10 billion investment in school reform in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is designed to support local efforts to start or expand research-based programs like Reading Recovery that help close the achievement gap and improve outcomes for high-need students.

The success of the Reading Recovery program brings recognition to the university and stands to benefit the surrounding community by creating focused, positive teachers who often go on to work as literacy coaches, curriculum directors and professional developers in their school districts.

“This grant is further evidence of the outstanding reputation of the reading program at Oakland, which has been a cornerstone program for decades at SEHS with an outstanding faculty,” said Louis Gallien, Ph.D and dean of the SEHS. “Professors Lose and Schwartz have worked diligently by providing programs, like Reading Recovery, to low-achieving students. The grant will enable us to educate fifty new teachers per year in order to concentrate our efforts on the lowest performing schools in Michigan. This is a signal event in the history of SEHS.”

For more information about OU’s Reading Recovery Program, view the website.