VU Education Department receives $75,000 Lilly Endowment planning grant

VU Education Department receives $75,000 Lilly Endowment planning grant

Two female children reading books in a library setting

January 19, 2023

VINCENNES, Ind. - Vincennes University has received a $75,000 planning grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. through its initiative, Advancing the Science of Reading in Indiana. The VU Education Department will use the grant to explore ways it prepares education majors with Science of Reading methods and to consider how it can expand and enhance those efforts.

The aim of ASRI is to improve significantly the reading abilities of Indiana K-12 students. The initiative aligns with a statewide effort recently undertaken by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) to improve reading achievement in K-12 schools by helping current teachers implement SoR-aligned methods in their classrooms. The grant to VU will support site visits to other universities and to K-12 school corporations, conferences and training, coaching and curriculum development, and SoR events hosted by the VU Education Department.

According to College of Social Science, Performing Arts, and Communication Dean Dr. Cynthia Ragle, "Learning to read is one of the most important childhood skills. Many educators will agree that early literacy is critical to student achievement. The Education Department at Vincennes University thanks Lilly Endowment for this grant, which will provide resources and training to help VU Education faculty strengthen their works with Science of Reading methods and consider how those methods can be more fully integrated into the curricula of VU’s Elementary, Early Childhood, and Special Education, Mild Intervention programs."

Research proves reading skills are crucial to student success. Graduation rates are dramatically impacted by reading level at the end of third grade, according to a report commissioned by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and authored by sociologist Dr. Donald Hernandez. The report stated that children who are not reading proficiently by the third grade fail to graduate from high school on time.

Reading helps children increase their vocabulary, improves cognitive skills, enhances social development, opens the door to a larger world, and more.

"The Education Department at Vincennes University is very honored to receive a $75,000 planning grant to consider how we can incorporate the Science of Reading into our curriculum,” VU Education Department Chair Ann Herman said. “We are so appreciative of Lilly Endowment for giving us this opportunity. Our future educators will benefit greatly from this instruction."


Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.

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