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Comprehensive Support for Science of Reading Initiatives in Utah

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Updated on
Modified on February 23, 2024

During the previous decade, less than 50 percent of Utah’s students were reading on grade level by the end of third grade.

When Utah legislators passed Senate Bill 127, Early Literacy Outcomes Improvement (S.B. 127) during the 2022 General Session, Utah’s educators committed to improving reading achievement in grades K–3.  

S.B. 127 intends to significantly increase the number of students reading at grade level by providing comprehensive support to literacy educators through professional development, diagnostic assessments, interventions, curriculum guidance, and creating science of reading specialist positions in schools to improve literacy instruction and student outcomes. 

State Initiatives

To date, state initiatives have included:

  • Having more than 6,000 educators complete LETRS® professional literacy learning sessions based on the science of reading with another 4,000 educators in progress
  • Releasing kindergarten through third grade Literacy Block Recommendations to assist educators in designing instructional time that maximizes literacy learning
  • Graduating the first cohort of districts that worked with professional learning consultants to design and facilitate professional learning focused on early literacy
  • Hiring 32 state literacy coaches to serve 34 schools in 12 LEAs in the lowest performing schools for the 2023-2024 school year
  • Recognizing 13 teachers, coaches, school, and district leaders who are excelling in providing instruction aligned with the science of reading and the science of reading instruction with awards of excellence
  • Distributing the first round of books through a partnership with Kids Read Now to provide personal, age-appropriate books for home use for K–3 students and families in low-income schools
  • Developing a digital repository of science of reading resources for educators on the Utah Educational Network

Decodable Readers

Curriculum Support

LETRS-trained literacy educators understand the importance of early practice in reading skills to create a strong foundation for reading. Power Readers is a series of 28 decodable stories for beginning readers that focuses on foundational skill-building activities. The stories can be used alongside any core reading program for K–1 students or strategic or intensive reading reinforcement in lower-elementary grades. These readers help students feel successful and confident in their reading abilities.

Supercharged Readers are decodable and controlled text chapter books for the next phase of reading development in grades 1–4. Building on the alphabetic code students learned in Power Readers, this series of 37 decodable and controlled text chapter books helps students access increasingly challenging text. Pre- and post-reading activities provide teachers with strategies to supercharge their readers and help them reach grade-level reading goals.

These science of learning-based readers follow effective teaching principles including explicit instruction, sequential skills development, and guided practice. Students develop an interest in reading as they build skills through these engaging and culturally relevant readers.

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