THE LITERACY PROJECT
Andrew’s Gift has been using Educational Improvement Tax Credit program funds to enhance autism support programs through our Literacy Project to public school systems within Dauphin, Cumberland, and Perry counties. These grants provide funding to purchase curricular resources and technological tools for the classroom to enable staff to deliver evidence-based instruction and to capture student motivation. This project provides opportunities for public educational systems to further the development of literacy-focused programs for some of our most challenged and vulnerable students. We partner with the classroom staff to focus on student improvement in the core competencies of reading, writing, and spelling.
Since the 2016-17 school year, our Literacy Project has proudly partnered with
6 public school entities in
17 classrooms serving over
within Dauphin, Cumberland, and Perry counties…
This is just another way we’re enriching the lives of those living with autism.
The importance of literacy
Literacy is fundamental to learning; it is an essential foundation of education. The ultimate goal of literacy instruction is to build a student’s comprehension, writing skills, and overall skills in communication. Helping someone learn to read and write provides them with the ability to improve their standard and quality of life.
The research around literacy and disabilities is just emerging, but there is a growing body of evidence that indicates that with early and systematic literacy instruction individuals with autism can acquire the literacy skills that enable them to participate more fully in our community. The Center for Early Literacy Learning (2007) suggested that instruction in literacy for children with autism should focus on both literacy skills and oral language skills. There is evidence in the literature that when technology is accessible, the frequency and quality of student engagement in literacy activities increase.
How we support schools
Our Literacy Project grants support public educational systems and their autism support programs in bringing evidence-based practices to the development of literacy skills through the use of innovative instruction and 21st century learning tools. We partner with schools to identify curriculum for a diverse range of learners, to support effective instructional practices in a variety of settings, and to introduce technology-based learning tools into these specialized instructional settings.
Participation in the Literacy Project is a 3-year commitment that provides classroom staff with on-site support that will progress from more intensive support in year one to minimal support in year three. On-site consultation will focus on implementation of educational practices that will improve literacy
development, identification of evidence-based curricular resources, and support the intentional use of technology to enhance instruction and individualize learning experiences for students.
Through the use of technology, we seek to improve
student motivation for learning, to ease their ability to fully participate in learning environments, and to demonstrate growth across the components of skilled reading and additional foundational literacy skills.
Grant performance is reviewed on an annual basis to ensure achievement for every student. We believe that the use of data to support student learning is crucial to evaluate the effectiveness of instruction and to foster continuous improvement for individual students. Participating schools report on student progress using assessments that are in place as well as newly identified assessments that track student learning. Progress monitoring of participating schools has shown demonstrated growth in student motivation and ability to participated in instruction, the introduction of formal literacy curriculum for students previously
identified as "not ready" or “too cognitively impaired” for formal literacy instruction, and an increase in literacy skills for all students across all literacy domains (oral language, decoding and comprehension, written expression, and spelling).
How to participate
Andrew’s Gift is seeking partners to address the literacy needs of their students with autism spectrum disorders. If you are a public school operating in Dauphin, Cumberland, or Perry counties, you are eligible to apply for a grant that provides curricular resources, technology, and onsite professional development to support literacy development.
How to apply:
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org expressing interest in our Literacy Project and requesting an application.
Applications for the 2022-2023 school year are being accepted. School districts will be notified of results after May 2022.
Grant recipients will be required to complete twice-yearly self-assessments to guide action steps as well as end-of-the-year reports outlining progress, challenges and overall success for each of the 3 years they are participating in the project.