Ohio DOE and Workforce Releases Science of Reading Survey Results

A third of school districts and community schools are using at least one of the initially approved curricula for K-5th grade core reading instruction.

Get stories like these delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for The 74 Newsletter

Starting next year, Ohio school districts and community schools will have to use core curriculum and instructional materials for English language arts and reading intervention programs from lists created by the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce as part of the state’s science of reading implementation.

ODEW recently released their list for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten through fifth grade, and about a third of the state’s school districts and community schools are already using at least one of the initially approved core reading instruction curriculum, according to ODEW survey results.

This is part of ODEW’s efforts to implement the science of reading across classrooms starting next school year.

The state’s two-year, $191 billion budget included science of reading provisions — $86 million for educator professional development, $64 million for curriculum and instructional materials, and $18 million for literacy coaches.

The science of reading is based on decades of research that shows how the human brain learns to read and incorporates phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Ohio is one of 37 states that have passed laws or implemented new policies related to evidence-based reading since 2013, according to Education Week.

“There’s nothing more important than young people knowing how to read,” Gov. Mike DeWine said back in January at ODEW. “I’m convinced that using the right curriculum and making sure all the teachers are teaching in that way based upon the science of reading is going to make a huge, huge difference in the next few years.”

It has previously been reported that 40% of Ohio’s third-graders are not proficient in reading and 33% of third graders were not proficient in reading before COVID-19.

“I think this is a great opportunity to really improve reading in the state of Ohio and it’s one thing I’m going to monitor myself very, very closely,” DeWine said.

ODEW Survey

One of the first steps in preparing to get the science of reading in every Ohio classroom was figuring out what curriculum is currently being used in schools and what professional development educators are receiving.

ODEW sent a survey in September to all public school and community school superintendents (1,007 in total) about the instructional materials they use and professional development training their educators receive. Almost all of them (995) completed the survey as of Dec. 22 and ODEW recently released the survey results.

The survey showed 789 school districts and community schools use the same core instructional materials for kindergarten through fifth grade. Of those, 93% use published curriculum while the remaining 7% use locally created instructional materials for core literacy instruction.

Professional development

Nearly 70% of school districts and community schools said their teachers previously completed science of reading professional development before this current school year, according to the survey results.

The science of reading provisions in the budget includes stipends for teachers to receive professional development in the science of reading.

K-5 teachers, English language teachers in grades 6-12, intervention specialists, English learner teachers, reading specialists and instructional coaches will receive $1,200 stipends. There will also be $400 stipends for middle and high schoolers teachers in other subject areas.

All teachers and administrators must complete their professional development by July 2025, unless they have already completed a similar course.

“It was very plain to me and to my wife, Fran as we traveled around the state last year that a lot of teachers had come out of their college without really the background in science of reading,” DeWine said. “So this is going to take a while, but I think teachers are embracing it when they really start to see the results.”

The Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor is required to create an audit process that shows how every educator training program aligns with teaching the science of reading instruction.

Literacy coaches

The budget will fund 100 literacy coaches that will help public schools with the lowest level of proficiency in literacy based on their performance in the state’s English language arts assessment.

More than 400 community schools and districts reported having no literacy coaches. 18 districts and community schools have between six and 10 literacy coaches, and 10 reported having more than 10 literacy coaches, according to the survey results.

Ohio Capital Journal is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Ohio Capital Journal maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor David Dewitt for questions: info@ohiocapitaljournal.com. Follow Ohio Capital Journal on Facebook and Twitter.

Get stories like these delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for The 74 Newsletter

Republish This Article

We want our stories to be shared as widely as possible — for free.

Please view The 74's republishing terms.

On The 74 Today