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In Focus...
$900 Million in Reading First Grants to Go to States

from: No Child Left Behind

Contact: Melinda Malico or Dan Langan

U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige today announced 72 Reading First review panelists who will be tasked with reviewing state applications for $900 million in new Reading First grants. The Reading First program will help states and school districts improve K-3 reading instruction and student achievement based on methods proven by rigorous scientific reading research.

"This group represents the most experienced and expert reading researchers and education practitioners from around the country," said Secretary Paige. "Members of this panel will help ensure that states have comprehensive reading programs in place, using instructional methods guided by the best available research, so that we can make certain every child is receiving a quality education."

State applications will undergo a thorough review by the panel, which was chosen by the secretary of education, the National Institute for Literacy, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health. Those reviews will be used to make funding recommendations to the secretary and to provide comments and technical assistance to the states.

The panelists include those with expertise in acquisition of reading skills; the cognitive science of language and reading process; prevention of reading failure; scientifically based reading research; professional development; school leadership; classroom teaching; curriculum development; early intervention; psychology; assessment, measurement and evaluation; reading and learning disabilities; special education; management and accountability.

President Bush has made improving children's reading achievement central to his education reform agenda and has committed to helping every child learn to read by the end of grade three, Paige said. The president designed Reading First as the solution to poor reading achievement among U.S. students, based on proven research. Through Early Reading First, President Bush has also made acquisition of early language skills a focus of his administration's efforts to retool early childhood education and specifically Head Start programs for disadvantaged children.

The program was made law this year by a bipartisan majority of Congress under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. President Bush has asked Congress for even more funding in his FY 2003 budget request--$1 billion--to fund the second year of the program.

Panelists will ensure that state applications reflect the statutory requirements including those based on the National Reading Panel's comprehensive findings that effective reading instruction must include a combination of instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension and vocabulary. The Reading First program centers on:

  • improving the quality of classroom instruction;
  • building instruction on scientific research proven to work in the teaching of reading;
  • providing professional development in reading instruction for educators; and
  • ensuring that educators have the resources and research to support the extraordinary initiative.

States with approved applications will begin to receive grants based on formula funding beginning July 1. Once funded, states will open competitions for subgrants to eligible school districts. A list of estimated state grants is available at:

To help states prepare to implement Reading First, Paige hosted state teams of policymakers and key education leaders at three Reading Leadership Academies earlier this year.

The application for Reading First state grants is available online at:

Fact Sheet on Reading First

Reading First REVIEW PANEL

  • Maria Elena Arguelles, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, University of Miami
  • Janet Sloand-Armstrong, Ed.D. Managing Director, Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network
  • Rebecca Barr, Ph.D., Professor of Education, National Louis University
  • Donald Bear, Ph.D., Professor of Curriculum & Instruction, College of Education; Director, E.L. Cord Foundation Center for Learning and Literacy, University of Nevada-Reno
  • Marsha Berger, Former Deputy Director of the Educational Issues Department at the American Federation of Teachers
  • Muriel Berkeley, President, Baltimore Curriculum Project
  • Frances Bessellieu, M.Ed., Director of Reading and Reading Excellence Act Coordinator, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS)
  • Pauline Bigby-Jenkins, Ph.D., Title I and ESL coordinator for Ann Arbor Public Schools, Michigan Reading Association Board of Directors
  • Carmel Borders, M.A., President, Tapestry Foundation; Presidential Nominee, National Institute for Literacy,
  • Susan Brady, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, University of Rhode Island
  • Kathleen Brown, Ph.D., Director and Clinical Assistant Professor at the Reading Center in the Graduate School of Education, University of Utah
  • Joanne Carlisle, Ph.D., Professor, Educational Studies, Research Scientist, Communicative Disorders Clinic, University of Michigan
  • Margaret Carnes, R.N., Managing Director, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Education Foundation
  • Mary Cirillo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of OPCENTER, L.L.C, Hudson Ventures
  • Carl Cole, Ph.D., Director of Special Services, Bethel School District
  • Anne Cunningham, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education and Director, Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education, University of California-Berkeley
  • Shirley Dickson, Director, Statewide Curriculum Initiatives and Director of Reading, Texas Education Agency
  • Jan Dole, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, University of Utah
  • Rebecca Felton, Ph.D., Educational Consultant
  • Jack Fletcher, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Associate Director of the Center for Academic and Reading Skills at the University of Texas, Houston Health Science Center
  • Barbara Foorman, Ph.D., Professor and Director of the Center for Academic and Reading Skills
  • Anne Fowler, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Haskins Laboratories
  • Catherine Froggatt, R.N., Michigan State Director, The National Right to Read Foundation
  • Alice Furry, Ph.D., Chief Administrative Officer; Project Director, UCLA Extension/Los Angeles Unified School District, Governor's Reading Initiative PreK-6, California Professional Development Reading Institutes
  • Norma Garza, Director, United Way of Southern Cameron County "Success by Six" Initiative; Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans Commission
  • Russell Gersten, Ph.D., Professor, College of Education and Director, Eugene Research Institute, University of Oregon
  • Diane Haager, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Special Education, California State University, Los Angeles
  • Susan Hall, M.B.A., Consultant, International Dyslexia Association; Member, State of Illinois Reading Committees
  • Karen Harris, Ed.D., Professor, Department of Special Education, University of Maryland
  • Marlene Henriques, Ed.D., Teacher in Residence in Assessment Development, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
  • Janie Hodge, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Special Education, Clemson University
  • Estella Holliday, Director, South Carolina Reading Initiative and Assistant Director, Office of Early Childhood Education, South Carolina Department of Education
  • Stephen Hooper, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Departments. of Psychiatry and Psychology, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
  • Mark Hopper, Ph.D., Vice President, Accountability Initiatives; Partner and Vice-President, Henderson, Hjermstad, Hopper, L.L.C
  • Kathy Howe, Academic Collaborative Planner, St. Croix River Education District (Minnesota)
  • Dawn Hubbard-Miller, Ph.D., Educational Trainer and Consultant, Northeast Kansas Education Service Center
  • Joseph Jenkins, Ph.D., Professor, Special Education, College of Education, University of Washington
  • Linda Jenkins, Assistant Superintendent for K-12 Curriculum Development and Implementation, Bremerton School District (Washington)
  • Ellin Keene, M.A., Director of Literacy and Professional Development, University of Pennsylvania
  • Martin Kozloff, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Specialty Studies, University of North Carolina-Wilmington
  • Sharon Kurns, Supervisor Instructional Services, Special Education Division, Heartland Area Educational Agency (Iowa)
  • Zoee Larose, M.A., Reading Connections Specialist, Alabama State Department of Education
  • John Lloyd, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education and Chief Technology Officer at the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
  • Marie Mancuso, Director, Arizona Reading Initiative, Arizona Department of Education; Co-chair, Arizona Reading Initiative Leadership Advisory Board
  • Robert Marino, Baltimore City Public Schools
  • Patricia Mathes, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Medical School, Principal Investigator, Center for Academic and Reading Skills, University of Texas-Houston
  • Michael McKenna, Ph.D., Professor of Education and Coordinator of Graduate Reading Programs, Georgia Southern University
  • Leslie McPeak, M.Ed., Director of Literacy and School Support, Stanislaus County Office of Education, Modesto, California
  • Katherine Mitchell, Ph.D., Director, Alabama Reading Initiative, Alabama Department of Education
  • Darryl Morris, Ph.D., Professor of Language and Reading and Reading Clinic Director, Appalachian State University
  • Kelly Mueller, M.Ed., Teacher, Jackson Park Elementary School, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Laura Murphy, Teacher and Consultant
  • Caroline Novak, Co-founder and President, A+ Education Foundation
  • Jean Osborn, M.Ed., Consultant, Center for the Study of Reading, University of Illinois (retired)
  • Stan Paine, Ph.D., Elementary School Principal, Springfield School District (Oregon)
  • Charles Perfetti, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Linguistics and Director of the Laboratory for Reading and Language, University of Pittsburgh
  • Kristen Powell, Ed.D., Administrator for School and Community Services, Orange County Department of Education, California
  • Craig Ramey, Ph.D., Professor and Co-director, School of Nursing and Health Studies, Georgetown University
  • Sally Shaywitz, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Yale Center for Learning and Attention, Yale University
  • Mary Siano, M.A., Certified ETS Trainer and Associate Developer, Educational Testing Service
  • Tim Slocum, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department. of Special Education, Utah State University
  • Susan Smartt, Ph.D., Reading Specialist and Consultant, Smartt Johnson and Associates
  • Janet Spector, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, College of Education and Human Development, University of Maine-Orono
  • Pam Stecker, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Education and Acting Director of the Learning with Disabilities Program, Clemson University
  • John Stevens, Texas Business and Education Coalition
  • Joseph Torgesen, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Psychology, Florida State University
  • Lucia Townsend, Human Resource Development Specialist, Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resource System
  • Fran Warkomski, Director, Bureau of Special Education, Pennsylvania Department of Education
  • Ann Watanabe, M.S., State Reading Resource Teacher, Pihana na Mamo Project, Maui District Office, Hawaii Department of Education
  • Joanna Williams, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Rhonda Wolter, Title I Reading Specialist and Reading Coordinator, Bethel School District (Eugene, Oregon)
  • Elaine Zimmerman, Executive Director, Connecticut Commission on Children