Highlights

Wayne State University College of Education awarded grant to evaluate effectiveness of 313Reads literacy initiatives and support networks

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An interdisciplinary team of researchers in the Wayne State University College of Education received a $20,000 grant from 313Reads, a coalition dedicated to collective impact with regards to improving student literacy in Detroit.

Four faculty members — Ben Pogodzinski, Ph.D., associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies; Poonam Arya, Ph.D., professor of reading, language and literature; Christina DeNicolo, Ph.D., associate professor of bilingual and bicultural education; and Kathryn Roberts, Ph.D., associate professor of reading, language and literature — served as co-principal investigators and collaborated on the evaluation of 313Reads.

As the Detroit chapter of the National Campaign for Grade Level Reading, the coalition’s goal is to ensure that all children are reading at their grade level by the time they are in third grade. The purpose of the 313Reads evaluation was to support the coalition in evidence-based continuous improvement to grow collective impact and population level change for grade level reading and literacy equity in Detroit. The project was designed to inform continuous improvement efforts for both 313Reads and the literacy partners that they support, with the ultimate goal of improving networks of support and the effectiveness of literacy interventions across Detroit.

Numerous organizations employ diverse strategies for improving student literacy in Detroit, but information about the successes and barriers these organizations face in implementing these approaches is lacking. The evaluation sought to provide 313Reads with a deeper understanding of how these initiatives impact student literacy, with emphasis on expanding knowledge of the context within which these programs operate and how they may facilitate program effectiveness.

The four-month project was a collaboration between the Detroit Education Research Project (DERP) and faculty members in teacher education who have expertise in student literacy. Associate Professor Sarah Lenhoff, Ph.D., directs DERP, and Pogodzinski and Assistant Professor Erica Edwards, Ph.D., serve as faculty research associates. Investigators hope this project will lead to an ongoing partnership between DERP and 313Reads.