Lilly Endowment awards $21.5M in grants to boost instruction of reading

  • Comments
  • Print
Inside a classroom at an IPS school. (Photo courtesy Alan Petersime for Chalkbeat)

Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. plans to make more than $21.5 million in grants to help 28 colleges and universities in Indiana instruct new teachers in Science of Reading methods.

The endowment is making the grants through its Advancing the Science of Reading in Indiana initiative, seeking to improve reading among Indiana K-12 students. The recipient schools will help teachers strengthen their use of methods aligned with the Science of Reading, a vast body of research related to how children learn to read. It includes phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

The endowment noted in a press release on Tuesday that only 33 percent of Indiana fourth graders scored proficient in reading comprehension in the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress, often called “The Nation’s Report Card.”

“It is imperative that more of Indiana’s elementary students learn to read proficiently, and it is essential that current teachers and the next generation of teachers are prepared to use proven methods to teach reading in their classrooms,” said Ted Maple, the endowment’s vice president for education. “We are pleased therefore to help Indiana colleges and universities strengthen the use of these research-based methods to teach reading in their teacher preparation programs.”

The amounts of the grants range from $325,400 to $1.5 million and are based on the number of Indiana teaching licenses granted to graduates of the college or university in early childhood, elementary and/or special education.

Earlier this year, Indiana enacted a law requiring Indiana school districts to adopt curricula that are aligned with Science of Reading methods. The law also requires that teacher preparation programs ensure that their curricula align with Science of Reading principles.

In addition, teachers first licensed after June 2025 in the areas of early childhood, elementary generalist and special education will be required to earn a new literacy endorsement to demonstrate that they are proficient in Science of Reading principles.

The endowment is one of the largest private philanthropic foundations in the United States, with net assets of $40.8 billion as of Dec. 31. Last year, it paid grants of $1.3 billion to arts, education, religious and community development organizations around the nation.

The grants will go to:

Anderson University, $750,000
Ball State University Foundation, $1,500,000
Bethel University, $499,375
Butler University, $748,616
Calumet College of St. Joseph, $500,000
Franklin College of Indiana, $500,000
Goshen College, $489,915
Grace College, $750,000
Hanover College, $485,681
Holy Cross College, $496,148
Huntington University, $500,000
Indiana State University, $968,080
Indiana University Foundation, $1,497,351
Ivy Tech Foundation, $1,499,990
Manchester University, $500,000
Marian University, $749,857
Purdue University, $1,500,000
St. Mary’s College, $749,140
St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, $346,307
Taylor University, $749,261
University of Evansville, $499,080
University of Indianapolis, $749,984
University of Notre Dame, $496,900
University of Saint Francis, $325,400
University of Southern Indiana, $1,000,000
Valparaiso University, $750,000
Vincennes University Foundation, $500,000
Western Governors University, $1,457,890

The schools will take a variety of approaches to integrate Science of Reading-aligned methods into how they prepare teachers to teach young children to read. These include:

— Redesigning courses to align with Science of Reading methods, including courses in special education;

— Integrating Science of Reading principles into existing student teaching experiences and other field work and establishing new opportunities to practice using Science of Reading-aligned methods, such as tutoring local elementary-age students;

— Establishing Science of Reading-aligned resource libraries to support faculty, student teachers and current K-12 educators in local communities;

— Providing robust professional development for faculty in teacher preparation programs so they are well-versed in Science of Reading principles;

—Pursuing Science of Reading-aligned accreditation from the International Dyslexia Association.

ASRI complements a statewide effort undertaken in 2022 by the Indiana Department of Education to improve reading achievement in K-12 schools by helping current teachers implement Science of Reading-aligned methods in their classrooms. In 2022, Lilly Endowment made a $60 million grant to the IDOE to support that work with school districts and teachers across the Indiana.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

3 thoughts on “Lilly Endowment awards $21.5M in grants to boost instruction of reading

    1. Imagine how much better metro Indy could be with that hometown, global company investing so much more here.

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In