Grant extends reach of literacy-development approach for use by subject-area teachers with middle and high school students

The Strategic Literacy Initiative at WestEd has been awarded an $11.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to improve subject-area literacy at the secondary level in high-need schools.

The three-year grant, from the department’s Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) program, enables WestEd to extend its award-winning Reading Apprenticeship framework to an additional 4,500 secondary-school teachers in subjects across the curriculum, from language arts, science, and history, to art, technology, math, and music.

Reading Apprenticeship is a professional learning framework that prepares educators in all academic subject areas to teach their students academic reading and writing by mentoring students in effective reading strategies, developing classroom environments that support collaboration, and fostering students’ persistence with complex academic materials.

“We’re honored to be able to work with so many educators to deepen teachers’ literacy-related practices,” says Cynthia Greenleaf, SLI Co-Director and Principal Investigator on this project. “This work, including moderated online learning communities, will build on what we have been learning through our other large dissemination grants about taking successful programs to scale. ”

Under the grant, WestEd will work both directly with teachers and through established local partners with the aim of building local capacity and sustainability. The work will take place in two large high-needs urban districts — Chicago and New York City — and in district consortia in Texas and Michigan.

“Reading Apprenticeship has proven to be a very effective literacy-development approach,” says Glen Harvey, CEO of WestEd. “We’re excited to share it with thousands more teachers across the country and, through them, with their students.”

Reading Apprenticeship previously won a SEED award and two prestigious and competitive Investing in Innovation (i3) grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

The program improves teachers’ knowledge and instructional practices for teaching academic reading and writing in all academic subject areas. In turn, these improvements increase students’ ability to meet the reading, writing, and learning proficiencies described in the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.

Reading Apprenticeship has helped more than one million students from middle school through college to become better readers and thinkers. Nearly 20 years of research, including three randomized control trials, have documented the positive effects of Reading Apprenticeship.

Visit the Reading Apprenticeship website to learn more.