ReadOhio: New Initiative Launches to Improve Reading Proficiency

“With 40% of Ohio third graders not proficient in reading, we need to seriously look at how we are teaching reading in the state because reading is fundamental to future success,” Governor Mike DeWine said in a press release. Dewine’s new initiative, ReadOhio, aims to improve reading proficiency through a return to Science of Reading teaching approach and resources for educators.

Jo Ingles of the Statehouse News Bureau writes that ReadOhio, a new statewide reading program designed to improve reading skills for all ages uses the Science of Reading. This is an approach to literacy based on scientific testing that includes phonics and phonetical awareness but taught in a more dynamic way. The approach was largely replaced by “whole language” teaching, “balanced literacy,” and other reading techniques that involve recognition of words themselves and their placement in context. However, recent research has shown that Science of Reading is the most effective way to improve literacy. 

Parts of the ReadOhio initiative include:

  • A free digital resource called “Read It Again!” for early childhood educators
  • An online resource that’ll be available this fall that gives caregivers and parents tips on how to help grow children’s literacy skills
  • Focus on expanding the Dolly Parton Imagination Library of Ohio, a program that gives a free book to children in Ohio from when they’re born to age 5

The new state budget includes $26 million to pay for materials associated with the Science of Reading. Some schools are already using that program. The state will pay for literacy coaches who will train teachers in the method. There will also be programming online for families and adults who need to improve their literacy skills.

Chris Woolard, interim superintendent of public instruction, said in a press release, “Ohio is committed to raising literacy achievement for all learners,” said “Whether a district or school is just getting started or already implementing the science of reading, we have developed multiple resources that school leaders, teachers, and families can use as they start the new school year.”


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