Kentucky Reading Project impacts literacy outcomes
- Aurelia Spaulding
- Friday, August 6th, 2021
“Data from the Collaborative Center for Literacy Development indicates that students with teachers who participated in the Kentucky Reading Project have higher literacy outcomes, and that amplifies if a student has multiple teachers in a row who have participated in the program,” said Dr. Nancy Franklin Hulan, Associate Professor of Literacy Education, Director of WKU Kentucky Reading Project (KRP), and Director of WKU Literacy Clinic.
The Kentucky Reading Project is a state-funded professional development initiative with eight sites among the Kentucky public universities that offer this program. Hulan said, “KRP builds teacher capacity, enabling participants to become leaders in their schools and communities.” It provides tuition for a graduate class or a stipend, materials for classroom instruction, and a coaching visit which Hulan conducts in their classrooms based on their interests and needs.
Kentucky elementary school teachers apply to participate in KRP, and those selected for the summer institute focus on high leverage practices in literacy instruction based on the most current research available.
“We typically meet for two weeks at a local elementary school, but this year had a modified schedule to allow for more flexibility among teachers after this very challenging school year,” Hulan said. “Teachers work together during the summer institute to identify gaps in their own instruction or their specific schools’ needs and develop a Literacy Action Plan that they implement in the upcoming school year.”
Hulan knew the Kentucky Reading Project well before becoming its director. She has been part of the programs’ 20 years of success.
“As a new teacher in Lexington, Kentucky, I participated in the Kentucky Reading Project myself. It was such an amazing experience that I jumped at the opportunity to help in the initiative at WKU," Hulan expressed.
“Each year I have the opportunity to visit so many amazing classrooms through this project and have the chance to build strong relationships with area teachers. I learn so much from them, as well,” Hulan explained. “Education is like other professions, in that on-going education is critical.”
In addition to Hulan, Dr. Sue Keesey and Mrs. Stephanie Young are co-director and teacher leader in the Kentucky Reading Project. They help plan, teach, and facilitate the project. Several presenters came throughout the program to discuss topics such as small group reading instruction, phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, writing development, and more.
Hulan said that they modify the topics and texts used each year to meet the needs of the teacher and to reflect on-going changes in society and found in research.
“KRP helps teachers to focus on important areas for growth. What they choose to focus on as their Literacy Action Plan is completely the teacher’s choice, which means it is powerful for the individual and meaningful for that specific classroom,” Hulan said.
For more information on the Kentucky Reading Project, visit kentuckyliteracy.org