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UIndy receives $750,000 grant to help Hoosier students read faster and better

Drone shot of Smith Mall

The University of Indianapolis has received a grant of $750,000 from Lilly
Endowment Inc. through its initiative, Advancing the Science of Reading in Indiana. The grant
will support curriculum changes in UIndy’s College of Education and Behavioral Sciences to meet changing statewide requirements for both education majors and current teachers.

The UIndy grant has two parts to it–both connected to Indiana’s new statewide requirements for teaching reading which go into effect on July 1, 2024. Current education majors will become familiar with the Science of Reading method which uses phonemic awareness as one of the key strategies to help students learn to read. Current teachers will be able to get credentialed in this literacy method through UIndy.

“It is incredibly important that the Indiana literacy rate improves,” said Dr. John Kuykendall, UIndy’s School of Education Dean. “By better equipping Hoosier teachers and education majors with the tools they need to help students learn to read faster and better, this grant can truly lead to a transformational change and a lifetime of difference for our youngest readers.”

UIndy is one of 28 Indiana colleges and universities that received grants from Lilly Endowment to support efforts that integrate Science of Reading-aligned principles into teacher preparation programs.

“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 principles to teach reading in their classrooms,” said Ted Maple, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education. “We are pleased therefore to help Indiana colleges and universities
strengthen the use of these research-based principles to teach reading in their teacher preparation programs.”

Lilly Endowment launched the Advancing the Science of Reading in Indiana initiative in 2022. It 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 principles 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.