Reading Education in the Era of Literacy Legislation
Posted on June 14, 2022 by Zoe Blair
Dr. Lauren Brannan, assistant professor of reading education, was awarded an internal research grant from the University of South Alabama College of Education and Professional Studies for a project titled “Reading Education in the Era of Literacy Legislation.”
A team of faculty supporting the grant includes Dr. Karen Morrison, assistant professor of elementary education, co-principal investigator; Dr. Hannah Szatkowski, assistant professor of reading education, co-principal investigator; and Dr. Marissa J. Filderman, assistant professor of collaborative special education at the University of Alabama, who serves as an external collaborator. The team received $3,000 to measure the language and reading instruction knowledge, skills and pedagogy of Alabama’s elementary public school teachers.
Following the implementation of the Alabama Literacy Act, this research will assess how the professional development offered to teachers, which flowed from this act, impacted teacher knowledge, skills and pedagogy.
According to the team’s research, the majority of American elementary students are reading below grade level, and Alabama is below the national average. Teachers’ knowledge of the language constructs is low and may be what is causing the students to fall behind.
“The science of reading training has been geared toward teachers in grades PreK-3,” Brannan said. “This leaves out the upper elementary grade levels, where teachers often still encounter struggling readers who are in need of instructional intervention.”
Brannan’s team plans to research and highlight the gaps in knowledge. Ultimately, they plan to provide information about the effectiveness of the science of reading through professional development opportunities throughout the state. The research will shed light on any possible gaps in knowledge, skill and pedagogy.
“I am immensely passionate about the impact of the science of reading on teachers’ confidence and implementation of reading instruction,” Szatkowski said. “I look forward to finding out more about how the science of reading translates into classrooms throughout the state of Alabama.”
Internal research grant recipients will make presentations to the college in spring 2023 regarding the findings and impact of their research as well as future external funding proposals that may result from these seed grants.