News Releases

State of Indiana and Lilly Endowment Inc. invest $111 million in early literacy

Submitted for use on Aug. 22, 2022
Word Count: 377

State of Indiana and Lilly Endowment Inc.
invest $111 million in early literacy

By State Sen. Jeff Raatz (R-Richmond)

In the past few years, Indiana Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network (ILEARN) test scores have shown Hoosier students are struggling in retaining the reading skills needed for future success.

According to the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE), the statewide percentage of students meeting English proficiency expectations for their grade level in spring 2022 was 41.2%. This number indicates the majority of our students are not reading at the proficiency expected of their grade level.

To combat this, the State of Indiana and Lilly Endowment Inc. have invested $111 million to support early literacy development using proven teaching techniques that align with the Science of Reading, a research-based strategy that uses practices such as phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

Of the $111 million, Lilly Endowment has supplied a grant of up to $60 million to support literacy development in schools, as well as $25 million to support Indiana's colleges and universities in incorporating Science of Reading methods into their undergraduate elementary teacher preparation programs.

The funds will be used to reach four main goals:

  • Supporting educators through instructional coaching in the Science of Reading;
  • Providing targeted support for Indiana students facing the greatest reading challenges;
  • Establishing a literacy center at the IDOE focusing on the Science of Reading; and
  • Providing stipends for teachers who participate in professional development regarding the Science of Reading.

Through IDOE funding, 54 schools across the state are piloting the Science of Reading instructional coaching this fall with hopes to have 60% of Indiana elementary schools using this technique by the end of the 2025-26 school year.

This incredibly generous investment made by the Lilly Endowment, coupled with additional state funding, will set Indiana apart when it comes to preparing our greatest asset – Hoosier children – for tomorrow.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development, I am pleased to see this partnership invest in children's literacy. I believe this funding will not only better prepare our students for a successful life, but will benefit the teaching profession by offering stipends to those who choose to participate in professional development and providing future educators additional instruction on Science of Reading methods.

If you have any questions or concerns on these or other topics, feel free to contact me at or 317-233-0930.


Click here for a high-resolution photo of Sen. Raatz.