Indiana Senator Stacey Donato released information on state funding and a Lilly Endowment for assistance with students’ reading and comprehension. 

Lilly Endowment Inc. recently announced the largest ever investment in literacy development in Indiana, joining with the state to provide up to $111 million in funding to use teaching strategies aligned with the Science of Reading.

Senator Donato said in the release, “The Science of Reading is a research-based strategy that emphasizes the need for instructional practices with efforts focused on phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension”.

The state will support the deployment of instructional coaches to schools throughout Indiana, offer stipends to teachers who participate in professional development focused on the Science of Reading, provide targeted support for students who need the most help in improving their reading skills and create a literacy center focused on Science of Reading strategies.

The senator said, “These efforts will support the goal of having 95 percent of Indiana’s students achieve a passage rate on IREAD-3 by 2027.”

The state’s team will work with nationally recognized experts in the Science of Reading at the Hunt Institute to provide training for teachers, as well as an advisory panel of national experts to regularly assist the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) in all efforts.

Senator Donato said, “As a member of the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development, I know how important it is to ensure our Hoosier children are provided with the resources they need to improve literacy so we can support their long-term academic success. The ability to read is a fundamental life skill, and unfortunately, many students struggle to become proficient.”

Research has shown that Indiana students need additional support in order to comprehend increasingly complex reading materials, as well as conduct research and write in an effective manner. Only 40.7% of Hoosier third graders and 41.1% of fourth graders passed the English/Language Arts portion of the Indiana Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network (ILEARN) in 2022.

Fifty-four schools across the state are already piloting the Science of Reading instructional coaching this fall with training provided by the University of Indianapolis’ Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL).

The senator commented, “This funding from Lilly Endowment, combined with investment from the IDOE, will be a huge step forward in the development of more effective teaching strategies and setting the groundwork for the future of reading comprehension in Indiana.”

She closed her comments saying, “As your state senator, making sure our children receive a great education is one of my top priorities and I’m excited to see these funds being put to such good use.  As always, it you have questions or comments on these or other issues, contact my office by email at or 800-382-9467.”