The University of Iowa

Professional Learning and Technical Assistance Services

Teacher on stool talking to students

The Iowa Reading Research Center is heavily involved in providing professional learning and technical assistance services to education agencies, such as school districts, Area Education Agencies, and state departments of education. Through our expertise and experience in literacy instruction, student assessment, data analysis, and program evaluation, we help educators reexamine their practices, learn new evidence-based approaches, and delve more deeply into previously-learned techniques. 

What We Do

Comprehensive Literacy Instructional Plan Development

When an education agency comes to the Iowa Reading Research Center with an area of literacy instruction and student performance they are looking to improve, we work with agency staff to review existing student data and fully understand what they want to achieve. We then work together to develop a literacy instructional plan to meet all identified needs, which may include elements of eLearning, professional learning videos, and professional learning presentations described below. Then, we collaborate to implement the plan, which includes evaluating the effectiveness of the plan by collecting and analyzing student and teacher data.

eLearning

We have the experience, content expertise, and computer programming skills to create custom eLearning modules about literacy instructional methods and other relevant topics. Read more about module features on our eLearning page.

Professional Learning Videos

Educators learning a new literacy instructional approach benefit greatly from also seeing the approach play out with real teachers and students. Filmed with professional videographers and editors, our videos take educators into the classroom to show how an approach is implemented effectively.

Delivery of Professional Learning Presentations

Iowa Reading Research Center Director Dr. Deborah K. Reed and other staff are frequent presenters at international, national, state, and local professional development conferences and workshops for literacy educators. Staff present to educators on effective literacy instructional methods and to a variety of audiences on research findings.

Examples of Iowa Reading Research Center Professional Learning and Technical Assistance Work

Metropolitan Omaha Education Consortium and Early Literacy Instruction

From helping develop a literacy instructional plan in 2019 to providing ongoing professional learning through both eLearning and in-person presentations for school district literacy leaders, Iowa Reading Research Center Director Dr. Deborah K. Reed has provided close consultation as the Metropolitan Omaha Education Consortium looks to improve its early literacy proficiency among students. 

California’s Adolescent Literacy Initiative (Project CALI)

Funded by the federal State Personnel Development Grant (SPDG), this initiative focuses on improving middle school teachers’ abilities to address the literacy needs of students with disabilities. Iowa Reading Research Center Director Dr. Deborah K. Reed served as the lead trainer and content expert on the state’s previous five-year SPDG, Project READ, and will continue in that role for Project CALI from 2018-2023. Dr. Reed conducts training webinars with the state’s literacy coaches and the school-based leadership teams, gives presentations at regional face-to-face institutes, and creates professional learning modules with embedded videos for delivery to teachers in person or online.

Implementing a Multi-Tiered System of Supports for Literacy Instruction in Middle Schools

In collaboration with the literacy team at Grant Wood Area Education Agency, IRRC Director Dr. Deborah K. Reed provided professional learning to two cohorts of middle and high school educators on implementing a Multi-Tiered System of Supports. See the completed projects page for more information.

Sioux City Community School District Small-Group, Skills-Based Literacy Instruction Elementary School Implementation

The IRRC has been a partner form the beginning of this district’s initiative to implement small-group, skills-based instruction within the 90-minute literacy block in elementary schools. Iowa Reading Research Center Director Dr. Reed has been involved by giving professional learning presentations on this instructional approach at workshops for district staff. The success of this implementation led to the development of an eLearning module on small-group, skills-based instruction for schools everywhere to learn how to better design literacy instruction to meet the needs of their students. See the completed projects page for more information.