State Education Officials Introduce a New Reading Research Center and Concentrate on Literacy Instruction throughout Kentucky
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On June 3, at Bourbon Central Elementary School, Kentucky State Senator Stephen West and Representative James Tipton joined Interim Commissioner of Education Robin Fields Kinney and Incoming Commissioner of Education Robbie Fletcher to talk about literacy instruction throughout the Commonwealth and to officially open a new statewide reading research center.

“A child’s reading proficiency is a key indicator of success in school and in life. In order to effectively help their children, instructors must be prepared and empowered to teach reading, and students must be given every opportunity to develop and hone this skill,” stated Kinney.

“The General Assembly’s funding, along with the efforts of Senator West and Representative Tipton’s education committees, support Kentucky’s students’ and teachers’ efforts to improve literacy teaching and learning,” the spokesperson stated.

Kinney outlined some of the literacy-related projects that the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) is supporting in the surrounding school districts. In an effort to encourage families to read during the summer, 29 districts are receiving approximately 1,000 books from the Summer Boost Reading and Mathematics Program, a collaboration between KDE, the Summer Food Service Program, and the Children’s Reading Foundation. The books will be given out at the districts’ summer feeding sites.

The Summer Boost participants for this year are the beneficiaries of a kind contribution of books from Age of Learning Inc. Age of Learning Inc., the company that created ABCmouse, contributed 40,000 books to the summer program in order to aid with educational efforts and the growth of literacy among Kentucky students.

The Read Aloud Series is another tool for Summer Boost. KDE has posted a number of movies on its website with guest readings, including KDE staff members, high school grads, and authors from Kentucky. There are links to resources on the KDE Summer Support website.
Following the press briefing, Summer Boost participants’ children were read books by Fletcher and Tipton. According to Kinney, “Kentucky is raising the bar in literacy and mathematics education.”

Senate Bill 9 (2022), which is often referred to as the Read to Succeed Act, outlined KDE’s responsibility to support local school districts with reading interventions, instruction, and support. It also mandated that KDE work in conjunction with approved entities to develop reading programs, resources, and activities. West and Tipton co-sponsored the Read to Succeed Act. Tipton is the chair of the Kentucky House Education Committee. In order to hasten the transition of students and families throughout the state to more advanced reading abilities, Tipton stressed the significance of offering support.

“The Read to Succeed Act invests in teachers to increase student success in reading by supporting evidence-based early literacy instruction throughout the Commonwealth,” he stated. “In response, the Kentucky General Assembly appropriated $22 million in funding to support the comprehensive implementation efforts of the act. This was an appeal to the education sector to band together and improve Kentucky’s standards for reading instruction.

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