The Iowa Reading Research Center is founded with the intention of becoming a hub for literacy research focused on improving literacy outcomes for all children in Iowa. The first formal Advisory Council meeting is held, the first director is appointed, and the IRRC begins its scope of work.
The center partners with 43 school districts, one community partner, all nine Area Education Agencies, and over a thousand students to study intensive summer reading programs for third-grade students who were not reading proficiently.
This is the first of several more studies conducted by the IRRC to investigate summer reading efficacy. We have gathered evidence that suggests “summer learning loss” is a myth on average, and we have learned how to use summer programs as an extension of school-year interventions and an opportunity to gather information on how teachers might be better supported. Our findings have influenced state policy and informed a broader audience.
The IRRC takes an important step toward sharing evidence-based literacy instructional approaches with educators in the state by creating a set of Effective Literacy Strategy Instruction professional development (PD) modules.
More than 50 leaders in literacy education from Area Education Agencies and school districts in the Urban Education Network of Iowa meet for training so that information can become more widely available, and each region will have better access to support from the local experts on the content.
The IRRC launches its new IRRC eLearning Dyslexia Overview module that provides a basic understanding of how the most common learning disability affects literacy development. It is meant to help teachers recognize when students might be exhibiting signs of dyslexia, as well as instruction on providing a supportive learning environment for such students.
The module facilitates that same base of knowledge for college students before entering the teaching profession, and college instructors are encouraged to make the module part of their course curricula. Finally, families can become better equipped to understand the disability and advocate for their children.
Families are able to make an appointment to come to our center and receive consultation and instruction on how to use assistive technology. AT includes devices, software, or equipment purposefully chosen to help children with reading disabilities complete academic and everyday tasks. This facilitates students’ full participation in academic instruction and allows them to demonstrate their learning in equitable ways.
Applications open for the first cohort of the IRRC-coordinated Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement program. The endorsement builds educators’ knowledge of the literacy development of students with characteristics of dyslexia. It also provides educators practical experiences assessing and teaching. The program focuses on the scientific principles of dyslexia, typical and atypical development of reading, interventions for students with dyslexia, and more.
In the summer of 2023, the IRRC holds its first large, in-person professional development event for educators here on the University of Iowa campus.
Attendees take part in high-quality, advanced-level professional development related to evidence-based instructional practices that are grounded in the science of reading. Summit keynote presenters are renowned experts in the literacy field, including reading specialists and authors Jan Hasbrouck and Stephanie Stollar. Attendees participate in a series of breakout sessions dedicated to different aspects of literacy instruction.
2023 Iowa Reading Research Center Reach and Impact Handout
Read more about the IRRC's efforts to improve literacy in the State of Iowa. Our Annual Handout focuses on projects, research, and involvement with a focus on 2023. Please download or view our handout here.