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Faculty research undergirds new Minneapolis/Target literacy program

Matthew BurnsUniversity of Minnesota Center for Reading Research (MCRR) Co-Directors Lori Helman and Matthew Burns and Educational Psychology Professor Jennifer McComas have developed the comprehensive Path to Reading Excellence in School Sites (PRESS) that will be implemented in Minneapolis Public Schools. Aimed at preparing all Minneapolis students to read by the third grade, PRESS is based on a research-based approach to literacy. The district announced its partnership with Target Foundation, which is donating $6 million to district literacy programs over the next three years, in a press conference May 2.

Lori Helman Helman, Burns, and McComas, in partnership with The Minnesota Reading Corps, helped develop data-driven instructional strategies and interventions for students of all skill levels in grades K through 3 to assure each student receives needed teaching and interventions. This includes expanded support for English Language Learners. The partners have also established a professional development program to support literacy teachers as they make this systemic change.

Jennifer McComasThrough the ongoing partnership with The Minnesota Reading Corps, MCRR faculty and graduate students will provide ongoing coaching and support over the next three years of PRESS. University researchers will also investigate the effectiveness of these strategies to influence literacy objectives nationwide.

Target will fund the expansion of one to three additional tutors in all Minneapolis K-3 schools. Through a competitive application process, other select schools will receive intensive PRESS intervention strategies. These schools will be announced at a later date.

Read the Minneapolis Public Schools' official announcement.

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