University of Texas at Austin Vaughn Gross Center gets multimillion dollar award to study struggling adolescent readers

May 17, 2006

AUSTIN, Texas—The Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts at The University of Texas at Austin has received $4 million to develop and investigate intervention tools for struggling middle school readers.

The multimillion dollar contract was awarded by the Texas Education Agency and was given to UT’s College of Education and the University of Houston to create the Texas Adolescent Literacy Project.

“With the Texas Adolescent Literacy Project, we want to create new ways to identify and monitor the progress of older readers who are facing problems, and to provide instruction that will enable them to be successful,” says Dr. Carolyn Denton, assistant professor in the center and principal investigator for the project. “There is a strong emphasis nationwide, right now, on adolescent literacy and it’s an area about which we need more information.

“The majority of the previous decade’s reading research and programs have explored literacy instruction in the primary grades and we’re hoping to develop an effective tiered intervention model that will specifically target middle school students. The project will result in the creation of a set of professional development materials that will be made available to Texas middle schools under subsequent funding.”

According to the Carnegie Corporation of New York report “Reading Next: A Vision for Action and Research in Middle and High School Literacy,” about 70 percent of older readers require some form of remediation, and older students’ reading difficulties often lead to a host of economic and psychological problems.

To learn more about the award-winning work being done in the Vaughn Gross Center, visit the Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts online.

For more information contact: Dr. Carolyn Denton, 512-475-6555, or Matthew Slater, 512-232-6028.