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Partnership launched to train literacy tutors in ‘Science of Reading’ curriculum

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Amid a backdrop of ongoing COVID-related learning disruptions, Ignite! Reading, a Zoom-powered K-5 literacy tutoring program, announced today a new partnership with Eastern Oregon University’s College of Education to train teachers how to teach literacy. Ignite! Reading, which offset pandemic-related learning losses in its recent summer and fall pilot programs, provides foundational skills reading instruction through high-dosage, 1:1, 15-minute daily virtual tutoring delivered during the school day.

Oregon’s Morrow County School District is also partnering with the new program to help develop a pipeline of well-trained teachers from EOU that will unlock the learning potential of students in local schools. 

Using the Ignite! Reading model, the partnership will launch with a ten-week program that begins with intensive teacher training rooted in the science of reading and an evidence-based reading foundational skills curriculum, followed by the implementation of daily tutoring with K-5 students locally, as well as remotely across the country. Ignite! Reading will train EOU’s teachers, and provide a practicum experience through the context of virtual tutoring as well as  real-time coaching and support to ensure tutors become highly proficient in implementing a Science of Reading-aligned curriculum. 

“EOU’s College of Education is very excited about the opportunity to partner with Ignite! Reading to improve literacy outcomes for kids by providing equitable access to high-quality reading instruction,” said Dr. Ronda Fritz, Associate Professor at Eastern Oregon University’s College of Education. “Embedding hands-on experience tutoring struggling readers using evidence-based practices for intervention will be extremely beneficial to our pre-service teachers and the future students in their classrooms!”

“The evidence shows that high-dosage literacy tutoring rooted in the Science of Reading improves outcomes for kids in profound ways. We’re thrilled to partner with Eastern Oregon University to train teachers how to put these concepts into practice so that the next generation of students will have the ability to read on time,” said Jessica Reid Sliwerski, Founder of Ignite! Reading and CEO of Open Up Resources. “This innovative partnership will equip teachers with the tools they need to bring effective literacy instruction into their own classrooms and communities.”

“We are very excited to partner with both EOU and Ignite! Reading to maximize the benefits of this program for our students. Coming out of Covid and navigating through a much needed ELA adoption year, we were searching for innovative ways to better support our students. Based on the science of reading, Ignite’s targeted, evidence-based approach will be a great fit for the next generation of students and teachers,” said Erin Stocker, Executive Director of Elementary Education & Human Resources.

Ignite! Reading teaches foundational reading skills targeted to where a student falls on the continuum of learning to read, and includes students and tutors reading together to build oral language, vocabulary, and comprehension. Ignite! Reading was incubated by Open Up Resources to develop new approaches to addressing the nation’s early reading challenges. Designed by some of the nation’s top practitioners and educators, Ignite!’s tutoring program has shown remarkable results in student achievement, including helping kids make three weeks of reading progress per week.  

Results from Ignite! Reading’s fall pilot at KIPP Bridge Academy in West Oakland showed that:

  • Students made three weeks of reading progress for every week of tutoring they received.
  • 100% of IEP students passed their first progress monitoring assessment.
  • 85% of English Learner students passed their first progress monitoring assessment.
  • 93% of Latinx and 89% of Black students passed their first progress monitoring assessment.

About Ignite! Reading 

Ignite! Reading’s mission is to ensure that every student is an independent reader by the start of second grade. The organization was founded by Jessica Reid Sliwerski, CEO of Open Up Resources, a national nonprofit whose mission is to increase equity in education by making excellent curricula openly accessible to schools and districts; and Evan Marwell, CEO of EducationSuperHighway, an organization focused on closing the digital divide in America’s K-12 schools.

Ignite! Reading is unique in its focus on high-fidelity implementation of a high-dosage, foundational reading skills program. Tutors are recruited with the expectation that their primary job is to deliver the curriculum with fidelity and the Zoom-powered tutoring format allows every tutor to be continually assessed and mentored on their faithfulness to the curriculum. Ignite! Reading employs a top-quality foundational skills intervention designed by researchers Sharon Walpole and Mike McKenna. Its professional development component includes hours of upfront training in the curriculum and group professional learning and differentiated coaching, enabling each of the tutors to deliver the intervention with precision and fidelity.

About Eastern Oregon University

Eastern Oregon University was founded in 1929 as a teacher’s college and today serves as a public center for education, culture, and scholarship. Officially designated Oregon’s Rural University, EOU cultivates innovative partnerships with communities across the region to expand economic and educational opportunities for all. Students receive personal attention from professors while building strong relationships with peers and mentors. With four colleges, students can choose from more than 30 academic programs, including sciences, humanities, teaching, and business. EOU has small class sizes with dedicated faculty, whose focus is on student success. Discover the Eastern Edge at eou.edu.

About Morrow County School District

Morrow County Schools serve almost 2,300 K-12 students in the Boardman, Heppner and Irrigon communities with three elementary schools, two intermediate schools, three junior/senior high schools, and one alternative school including a full service-online school.

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