Looking forward to 2017
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I hope this update finds you well rested after a winter break and prepared to embrace all that 2017 has to offer. After a busy 2016 for the IRRC involving school district support, numerous presentations at conferences, work on literacy professional development for educators, and the Intensive Summer Reading Program study, I am excited to share updates on a few of our projects for these early days of the new year.

IRRC at the Capitol for Reception

On January 11, representatives from the Iowa Reading Research Center will welcome state senators, representatives, and others to our annual Legislative Reception at the Iowa State Capitol. This event gives us an opportunity to speak one-on-one with legislators about the importance of and need for the type of literacy research and technical support that the IRRC continues to provide for our state. With displays and handouts, we will be highlighting our progress and showing how we will continue to impact literacy for Iowa students and support Iowa educators in that effort. We will be joined by several of our collaborators and other friends of the IRRC who can elaborate on the current state of literacy education in classrooms across Iowa and can illustrate how researchers and practitioners are working together to find the best possible solutions to the literacy education challenges they face.

Overcoming Literacy Problems with PROPeL

In October, I shared with you news of our new initiative called “Practitioners and Researchers Overcoming Problems of Literacy” (PROPeL). Through this initiative, the IRRC is providing customized assistance to schools in order to address a specific literacy challenge. For the current cohort, PROPeL is focused on alternative schools and juvenile justice facilities. After the application window closed on December 1, the following schools/facilities/districts were selected as our inaugural partners for this important initiative:
These facilities represent different regions and demographics in Iowa. Each applicant identified a data-supported literacy problem as part of their application, and we will be releasing more information on each of the four efforts as we progress through the two-year process. In May, we will conduct a conference for the four PROPeL partners’ teams that will include customized professional development. Following the conference, we will support schools in carrying out a literacy improvement plan during the school year. Student-and teacher-outcomes will be measured throughout the initiative. I look forward to going more in-depth about PROPeL in an upcoming monthly email update.

New Year, New Website for IRRC

Later this month, we will be launching our redesigned website—thanks to the efforts of our Communications Specialist, Sean Thompson. The web address will remain the same (, but the site will have a new look and feel that we think you will like. The new site will be more user friendly and accessible, and will still contain popular content like our literacy blog and materials for download for parents and teachers. Make sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook where we will announce when the new website is live.

Literacy Consultant Jen Knight joining IRRC team

Finally, we are expanding our research and technical support capacities with the hiring of our new Literacy Consultant Jennifer Knight, Ph.D. Jen comes to us from Utah State University where she taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Prior to earning her doctorate in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education with a specialization in Literacy and Language Development from Michigan State University and becoming a researcher and professor, she was a residential school and early classroom teacher for 15 years. We are thrilled to add Jen and the literacy expertise she to the IRRC team.
I look forward to working with many of you on these and other exciting literacy initiatives throughout 2017 and wish you all a happy and healthy new year.

Thank you for reading!

Deborah K. Reed, Ph.D.

Director, Iowa Reading Research Center

IRRC Website
Copyright © 2017 Iowa Reading Research Center, All rights reserved.

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