Reed Recognized by University of Iowa for Communicating Reading Research to the Public

Deborah K. Reed TV news interview

Dr. Deborah K. Reed, director of the Iowa Reading Research Center, is interviewed by CBS 2 (Cedar Rapids) following the release of results of the Intensive Summer Reading Program.

April 19, 2018

Dr. Deborah K. Reed, director of the Iowa Reading Research Center, was recently named recipient of the 2018 Faculty Communicating Ideas Award from the University of Iowa Office of Research and Economic Development.

The honor is given each year to a faculty member who demonstrates “excellence in communication about research and scholarship” regarding their area of expertise to a general audience. The award recognizes work over the nominating year that is accessible, clear, creative, original, and accurate, and communicates topics that have an impact on society.

An associate professor with the UI College of Education, Reed was recognized for her efforts surrounding the release of a report on the Intensive Summer Reading Program (ISRP) study. The study findings showed summer reading programs designed and conducted by the Iowa Reading Research Center in 2016 helped students who were struggling with reading maintain their reading skills during the summer months. The first-of-its-kind study also found that under the conditions in which they were implemented, the three types of programs did not accelerate reading improvement on average.

Reed led the effort to disseminate the findings to a broad, general audience, including families, educators, and others across the state and beyond. Reed executed the communications plan by way of website news articles, social media, interviews with news media, email communications, and presentations during the 2017 Iowa Legislative Session. This led to 27 news articles via print, radio, television, and the web, as well as almost 8,000 social media impressions about the findings.

In his letter nominating Reed for the award, Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise said the ISRP study and the communication of its findings “have significantly and positively impacted Iowa’s approach to ensuring all students become strong readers.” The study was groundbreaking, Wise said, in its ability to help the public understand the challenges and opportunities involved with intensive summer reading programs.

“Dr. Reed was able to develop a sophisticated research design, effectively execute it, and clearly communicate the results in a way that changed policy and practice,” Wise said. “I cannot think of any researcher in my twenty years in education that has done this more effectively.”

Reed is the third faculty member to receive this annual award and the first from the UI College of Education.