| Jul 30, 2011
The Rowland Reading Foundation, founded by American Girl creator Pleasant L. Rowland, has awarded the Pawtucket School Department a grant worth over $650,000 through to support the superior reading instruction in the primary grades of their schools.
With this grant money, Pawtucket will be able to create a new reading program for their kindergarten through second grade classrooms, while offering support for teachers in the process.
Rowland, Founder and Chairman of the Foundation, couldn’t be more pleased. “There are many districts seeking such grants,” she said. “There are few that have shown the determination Pawtucket has to improve reading in the grades where it matters most.”
One of the things that attracted The Rowland Reading Foundation to Pawtucket was the careful training of their teachers in a professional development program called LETRS. “We think very highly of the LETRS curriculum,” Rowland said. “Teachers who are trained in LETRS know solid, scientifically based reading instruction.”
The Rowland Reading Foundation of Madison, Wisconsin, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the improvement of reading instruction in the primary grades. To help children read fluently by the end of second grade, the Foundation publishes a literacy program called Superkids, which is a broad based reading curriculum that integrates reading with writing, spelling, and other language arts. Schools that have participated in this program have reported great success.
Deborah Cylke, Pawtucket’s superintendent of schools, is thrilled to work with Rowland Reading Foundation. “I was very impressed with not only the research presented, but also the way in which the reading program and story characters related to young readers,” she said. And with school budgets tightening, the grant provides an especially rare opportunity for the district. “You can imagine how delighted we were.”
Pawtucket is one of many school districts that have been supported by Ms. Rowland over the years. After working as a primary grade teacher herself, Rowland quickly became a leader in the literacy field, creating reading and language arts programs for schools across the United States for over 35 years.
In 1985, she founded The American Girl Collection, featuring historically accurate books, dolls, and accessories designed to make American history exciting and accessible for young girls. Fifteen years as President and Chairperson of American Girl earned Rowland numerous awards for her outstanding success as an entrepreneur.
Since then, Rowland has created two Foundations in her name dedicated to literacy education and has helped school districts like Pawtucket nationwide.
“We’re excited to partner with the Pawtucket School Department staff to show how much Pawtucket’s children can achieve with a solid foundation in reading,” Rowland said.
For more information, visit the Rowland Reading Foundation's website at http://www.rowlandreading.org.