Funding, Grants & Awards

U California Davis Wins Grant To Help Struggling Readers

The education school at the University of California Davis has landed a $3.5 million grant to deliver instruction to students struggling with early reading in 100 first-grade classrooms.

Using the grant money, from the Department of Education's Institute of Education Science, teachers in Sacramento and Yolo, CA and Houston, TX "will be taught specific skills to work with children who have difficulty reading — typically about one of every five students in a first-grade classroom, said Emily Solari, assistant professor of education at UC Davis," according to a news release.

"Data suggests that students who have trouble reading in first grade will struggle their whole academic career," Solari said in a prepared statement. "It is very difficult, beyond second and third grade, to catch up."

Solari currently directs a UC Davis reading clinic for students with high-functioning autism and previously, at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, Children's Learning Institute, developed academic interventions and teaching methods for students struggling with reading.

Solari said that reading comprehension is key to the methods.

"Sometimes we do a very good job teaching struggling readers to read single words and paragraphs, and they can read out loud to you, but they don't capture the meaning of what they have read," she said in a news release.

Specific schools will be chosen over the summer to participate in the 20-week-long program and participating students will be assessed in grade 2 to find out how well their skills were maintained.

"We have preliminary data to show this approach works for struggling readers," Solari said in a prepared statement. "With this larger grant, we will be able to make a larger impact, touching more teachers and students."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at jbolkan@gmail.com.

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