UConn plays central role in $1.77 million child literacy program
Published: Sunday, October 28, 2012
Updated: Sunday, October 28, 2012 23:10
A UConn team is guiding a $1.77 million initiative launched by Gov. Dan Malloy this fall to increase literacy among Connecticut children from kindergarten to third grade.
The K-3 Literacy Initiative was created as part of comprehensive education reform bill approved earlier this year. The program is being overseen by two of UConn’s Neag School of Education professors, Michael Coyne and George Sugai. The professors are working in conjunction with Hill for Literacy, a team of literacy experts that has already implemented hundreds of reading programs in schools nationwide.
The Literacy Initiative places five specialized reading educators at five elementary schools across the state that have been selected to pilot the program. At each school, the literacy team will help implement new instructional practices, develop individualized lesson plans based on student needs, and meet regularly to assess progress.
Malloy and the State Department of Education have dubbed the year 2012 as the “Year for Education Reform,” in response to stagnating overall performance among students and a widening achievement gap between high and low income peers.
“With our public schools in this condition, we cannot fulfill our moral obligation to provide our children with the opportunity to succeed,” Malloy said in a statement. “Nor can we ensure they have the skills necessary to match the needs of Connecticut’s employers, which means we can’t sustain an economy in an era in which fielding a globally competitive workforce is increasingly paramount.
“By improving literacy in kindergarten through third grade, we’re helping Connecticut’s young people set a foundation they will build on throughout their lives.”
The five schools selected to participate this year—Ann E. Norris Elementary School in East Hartford, Latino Studies Academy at Burns School in Hartford, John Barry Elementary School in Meriden, Truman Elementary School in New Haven, and Windham Center Elementary School in Windham—were chosen from 10 education reform districts in the state in a competitive selection process.
The work this fall aims to lay the groundwork to expand the project to more schools across the state in years to come. Coyne said the present goal is to get the current programs on track and develop an affective approach, but he is optimistic the initiative will give Connecticut kids the opportunities they need to succeed.
“It’s so exciting that there’s real commitment to this initiative at the state level,” Coyne told UConn Today. “This is going to enable us to focus resources and intervention efforts on those kids who need them the most.”