Working With School Districts and Educators

Educators collaborating

The Iowa Reading Research Center receives multiple inquiries from school districts across the state in need of specialized assistance with gathering and analyzing reading data or expertise in literacy materials, instruction, and assessment.

Recent assistance provided to districts has included the following: analysis of extant data to help districts evaluate students’ literacy outcomes, professional development and consultation to support districts’ literacy initiatives, and evaluation studies to help districts address the effectiveness of literacy curricula.

The IRRC stands ready to help districts improve student outcomes by working with educators to find research-based solutions to literacy challenges in the classroom.IRRC stands ready to help districts improve student outcomes by working with educators to find research-based solutions to literacy challenges in the classroom.

Projects Involving Iowa Reading Research Center Direct Assistance

Council Bluffs Community School District

An established leader and innovator when it comes to summer school reading programs in Iowa, this district initially asked the Iowa Reading Research Center for assistance with analyzing student data from its 2015 summer program. The next year, Council Bluffs partnered with the Iowa Reading Research Center for the statewide Intensive Summer Reading Program study. Based on findings from that research, the district asked the Iowa Reading Research Center to assist with adjusting and improving its summer reading program for 2017, during which the Iowa Reading Research Center is serving as an external evaluator. The center’s role is to assist in collecting and analyzing teacher and student data.

Sioux City Community School District

In July of 2016, Iowa Reading Research Director Dr. Deborah K. Reed began providing literacy professional development for this district in the form of presentations and other meetings with school administrators and teachers as part of the district’s efforts to improve student reading performance. The district is implementing a new instructional approach that involves small-group, skills-based instruction within the 90-minute literacy block to better address students’ literacy needs. Five elementary schools began the work with the goal of building internal capacity. This partnership will continue during the 2017-2018 school year, as the district expands the program to 10 additional elementary schools.

Ames Community School District

The Iowa Reading Research Center served as an external evaluator for the district’s word study pilot in Grades K-2. This effort was part of the district’s ongoing efforts to support Tier 1 instruction of foundational reading skills. Three sets of phonics instructional materials were used in 11 classrooms. The Iowa Reading Research Center oversaw the collection, analysis, and interpretation of student and teacher data to help inform the appropriateness of the curricula. The IRRC collaborated with teacher preparation students from Iowa State University and Drake University, who administered reading tests to the Ames students four times over 8 months. Based on data gathered during the pilot, the Ames School Board approved the adoption of one set of materials. This partnership will continue during the 2017-2018 school year as the district implements the word study materials in all K-2 classes in Ames’ five elementary schools.

PDF iconReport of the Kindergarten-Second Grade Phonics Materials Review for the Ames Community School District

PDF iconSlides from a June 2017 presentation by IRRC Director Deborah K. Reed detailing results of the pilot