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The South Carolina Reading Initiative

NCTE’s Reading Initiative as a Statewide Staff Development Project

Diane Stephens, University of South Carolina; Denise N. Morgan, Kent State University; Amy Donnelly, Diane DeFord, Jennifer Young, Michael Seaman, Karen Crowder,  Erin Hamel, and Rebecca Cibic, University of South Carolina


Dorinda Gallant, Ohio State University; Shiqi Hao, South Carolina State Department of Education; Robert Johnson, University of South Carolina; Patrick Meyer, James Madison University; and SCRI K-5 Phase 1 Literacy Coaches

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The South Carolina Reading Initiative (SCRI), a collaborative endeavor with the National Council of Teachers of English, is a multiyear, site-based, statewide staff development effort. The design of SCRI is grounded in research on teacher quality, staff development, and best practices.

Survey and case study research studies were conducted to understand the impact of SCRI on teachers’ beliefs and practices. Findings across all three surveys (est. 800 to 1,400 responses per survey) and thirty-nine case studies indicate that the beliefs and practices of participating teachers became increasingly consistent with SCRI Belief Statements and, therefore, with state and national standards.

Three studies examined the reading levels or standard test scores of students in the classrooms of SCRI teachers compared to those of students in the classrooms of non-SCRI teachers. The number of students in these studies ranged from 145 to 27,000. Struggling readers in SCRI classrooms were able to read more difficult texts and had higher standardized test scores. In addition, the number of students receiving individualized education programs (IEPs) decreased for students in SCRI classrooms.

This research suggests that research-based, statewide staff development programs can have a considerable impact on the beliefs and practices of teachers and on the students who learn from them.

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NCTE - The National Council of Teachers Of English

A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts