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Center for Inquiry on Literacy > Literacy Initiatives

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Literacy Initiatives

v Inside Department of Education

v Outside Department of Education

Center for Inquiry on Literacy

The Center for Inquiry on Literacy provides a vehicle for sustained and reflective examination of literacy practices in Maine.

Work of the Center includes:

* Collaborative support to public elementary schools around literacy issues

* Inventory of early literacy practices

* Provision of professional development around literacy

* Updates on current research and innovations in literacy

* Review of legislation related to literacy practic

* Drafting of Early Literacy standards consistent with the achievement of the Learning Results

* Implementing a strategic integrated communications plan to promote literacy practices

Contact:Jaci Holmes, CDS Director, 287-3272

Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA)

IASA extends for five years the authorizations of appropriations of the programs of the Elementary and Secondary Act of 1965 and includes the following titles related to literacy whose purposes are listed below.

Title I – Helping Disadvantaged Children Meet High Standards – is the largest federal aid program for our nation’s schools, bringing over $25 million to Maine annually.The goal of the program is a high-quality education for every child, providing extra help to students who need it most.These are children who are furthest from meeting the Learning Results.Title I resources are directed to schools with high poverty levels.State funds supplement Title IA support to low-achieving first-grade children to become independent readers through the Reading Recovery program.

Title IV – Innovative Education – assists local educational reform efforts which are consistent with and support statewide reform efforts under Goals 2000.In Maine, the bulk of the funds is used for staff development projects, computer software and hardware purchases, support of school libraries, and classroom projects to support the National Educational Goals.Courses for Literacy Teams (i.e. Observing Young Learners, Bridges to Learning), Assessment use training (DRA), and Web site and List Serve addresses on Early Literacy are examples.Funds are also used to support the Reading Success Network (Training Peer Literacy Coaches) and the Literacy Collaborative, a classroom based program designed to integrate literacy achievement, and provide in-house professional development and coaching around literacy practices.

Contact:Kathy Manning, IASA Consultant, 624-6705

Family Literacy

Even Start

Maine Family Literacy Initiative

The purpose of the adult and community education programs is to provide access and quality educational programs for Maine citizens to acquire knowledge and skills necessary to function effectively as a family member, a worker, and a citizen.

Goals of these programs are:

To increase the number of Maine adults who learn to read.

To identify, recruit and serve families most in need of family literacy services.

To provide high quality instructional programs that promote adult literacy, empower parents to support the educational growth of their children and provide developmentally appropriate early childhood education services that prepare children for success in regular school programs.

To coordinate family literacy services with existing community resources. 

Contact:Becky Dyer, MDOE, 624-6750Maine Family Literacy Task Force

This task force group, comprised of members representing organizations involved in family literacy initiatives across the State, works toward developing a vision for family literacy in Maine.Members help identify barriers to accessing support and literacy services and share their organization’s perspectives on literacy and how its impact affect clients, employees and outcomes.Members also advocate for policy changes and funding based on the results on needs assessments.

Contact:Karen Heck, 207-861-8131 or

The Task Force on Early Care and Education 

In existence since 1997, this task force group has researched and recommended legislation relating to strategies which support parents as children’s first teachers.Examples of the task force’s work to date includes monitoring development of home visiting services for parents with children from 0-5 years of age and of parenting education courses in public school curricula, review of early childhood education and parent support programs in other states, and investigation of funding sources.

Contact:Peter Walsh, 287-1903

Learning Results

The program provides federal funds to states on a per pupil basis to support state education reform plans.Ninety percent (90%) of the funds go directly to Maine school districts in peer reviewed, competitive grants.In Maine Goals 2000 district grants support local implementation of the state’s Learning Results, based on the district’s self-assessment of their needs.


1.  Develop and provide information, structures, processes, and materials necessary for Local Education Agencies to implement the Learning Results.

Example:Maine Assessment Portfolio (MAP) Pilot.A professional development opportunity for K-12 teachers to learn how to utilize assessment portfolios as a means of promoting and assessing student achievement of the Learning Results.

2.  Focus the Department’s staff, policies, and operating procedures on implementation of the Learning Results.

3.   Implement a statewide plan for pre-service and in-service professional development of educators to ensure that students achieve the Learning Results

Contact:Heidi McGinley, MDOE, 287-5986

Maine Educational Assessment

The Maine Education Assessment (MEA) is a student academic assessment program.Students participate in the MEA at grades 4, 8 and 11 in the following content areas:Reading, Writing; Mathematics, Science; Social Studies; and Arts and Humanities.A Health Education assessment is administered at grades 4 and 8.

Goals of the MEA are:

To assure high aspirations and high performance by all students.

To develop and implement a comprehensive state/local assessment system aligned to track student achievement and school district progress in implementing the Learning Results.

To develop a reliable and effective state/local communications system to analyze and exchange information about student achievement and school district progress in implementing the Learning Results.

Contact:Brud Maxcy, MDOE, 287-5996

Special Education

The goals of this program are to assure that all students, ages 5-20 in need of special education and supportive services are screened, evaluated, identified and provided the necessary special education and supportive services; and that parents of these students are integral partners in the delivery of special education and supportive services.

Contact:David Stockford, MDOE, 287-5950  

Child Development Services System

The Child Development Services System is established for the purpose of maintaining a coordinated service delivery system for the provision of childfind activities for children, from birth to under age 6, early intervention services for eligible children, from birth to under age 3, and free, appropriate and public education services for eligible children, from age 3 to under age 6, who have a disability.

Contact:Jaci Holmes, CDS Director, 287-3272

Born to Read  

The Born to Read program strives to reach out to Maine families with the pleasure, wonder, and wisdom found in good books.

Program goals are:

- To give quality children’s books to families and model families and model family literacy activities

- To partner with service providers working with families to ensure those in greatest need are reached

- To inform and train service providers and families at Born to Read workshops

Contact:The Maine Humanities Council at (207) 773-5051 or

Prescription to Read 

A family literacy program designed to enlist health care providers in the effort to promote reading to families of young children.Physicians write prescriptions for parents and/or caregivers to read to their children and provide books at children’s checkups.

Contact:The Maine Humanities Council at (207) 773-5051

New Books/New Readers 

An extension of Born to Read, this program strives to promote reading and discussion of children’s literature by adults in local libraries.

Contact:The Maine Humanities Council at (207) 773-5051 or

Raising Readers:A Family Literacy Program for Parents of Children Ages Birth to 5

Raising Readers is a new program of MaineHealth and Eastern Maine Health, nonprofit integrated healthcare delivery systems that serve the Maine population.The chief goal of Raising Readers is to promote family literacy through greater access to quality children’s literature in the home and regular reading by parents to their children.The program will provide a dozen free books to every Maine child between the ages of birth and five who participates as part of their regularly scheduled well child visits.

Contact:Nancy Arnold MPH, 207-771-2004, ext. 225 or

Read to Me.

This initiative, sponsored by Verizon with support from Maine’s First Lady, Mary Herman, the Maine Department of Education, the Family Literacy Task Force, the Maine Writer’s and Publisher’s Alliance, and Maine Public Broadcasting, provides every child entering Kindergarten in Maine a book bag containing two books and information encouragingparents’ efforts towards reading to their children and supporting children’s literacy development.

Contact:Sue Plummer, 207-287-2121

Project Story Boost 

Literacy intervention for “at risk” kindergarten children who have had limited exposure to storybooks and who lack basic understandings about print.ESL children are also included.

Program goals are:

- To read quality children’s literature to children 3-4 times per week

- To engage children in book discussions and retelling activities

- To familiarize children with books, story language, and text structure

- To promote children’s interest in books and stories

Contact:Dr. Margo Wood, Professor of Literacy Education, (207) 780-5070 or

Maine Reading Association

This organization provides professional development opportunities to Maine teachers and a collaborative forum for discussing literacy issues, in an effort to promote excellence and high standards in reading and writing education.

Association goals are:

- To connect literacy educators through a professional organization

- To provide information about current literacy theories, research, and    best practice to literacy educators

- To engage literacy educators in dialogue about literacy issues

To provide professional advice to state agencies and at legislative        hearings

Contact:Lou Ann Mossler 

New England Reading Association 

This organization provides professional development opportunities to New England teachers, a collaborative forum for discussing literacy issues, mini-grants for literacy research and innovative practices, and a literacy journal.

Association goals include:

- Connecting literacy education across New England

- Providing information about current literacy theories, research, and      best practice to literacy educators

- Engaging educators in dialogue about literacy issues

Contact:Mary Richards, 1-800-287-0833 or Duane Small, P.O. Box 322, Moody, Maine04054-0322

Maine Public Broadcasting’s Ready to Learn Initiative 

Ready to Learn
is Maine Public Broadcastings response to the Goals 2000 campaign to insure that all children enter school ready to learn. Building on its broadcasts of educational television programming for children, MPBN provides resources such as websites, newsletters, and professional development opportunities to educators, parents, and children designed to connect instructional content from programming to support concepts across children’s domains of development.In addition, through their First Book campaign, MPBN distributes 200 children’s books a month to needy Maine children.

Contact:  Cordelia Kellett , 207-941-1010 or

Maine Center for Educational Services 

The Center offers consulting services, special projects, workshops, and conferences to help educators improve the quality of learning for Maine children by providing the necessary resources to master the process of growth, change, and renewal.

Contact:Mary Richards, 1-800-287-0833 or

Parents as Teachers 

This outreach program provides parent education to families with young children through home visits as well as support for parent involvement in schools.

Contact:Ellen McGuire at the Maine Parent Federation, 582-2504

University Sponsored Programs
University of Maine

The University of Maine offers Master’s and C.A.S. degrees in literacy as well as the opportunity for certification as a literacy specialist.Some literacy courses are also offered through the Graduate Outreach Program.

Contact:Rebecca Libby, 581-2444 or Kay Hyatt, 581-2761

University of Southern Maine

The University of Southern Maine’s College of Education and Human Development offers certificate, master’s, and certificate of advance study programs in literacy education.These programs provide thorough understanding of literacy development, process, and instruction and are designed for classroom teachers, literacy specialists, and other experienced educators whose primary responsibility is helping students to become competent language users. USM also offers master’s and certificate of advance study degrees in English as a second language.

Contact: Admissions and Advising Office, 1-800-800-4USM, ext. 5306 or

Center for Early Literacy 

An integral part of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Maine, the Center for Early Literacy provides research, professional development, teaching materials and early intervention strategies to help schools meet the varying reading and writing needs and skills of K-2 children. It coordinates Reading Recovery program training and services in Maine, the Literacy Collaborative program, and publishes the “Little Books for Early Readers” series.

Contact: Paula Moore, 207-581-2418

Maine Writing Project  

The Maine Writing Project is part of the National Writing Project network of teacher leaders. These teachers are active in their own schools and at the national level. The purposes of the Maine Writing Project include identifying successful teachers and teacher leaders, identifying successful approaches to and uses of writing in all subject areas, involving and supporting successful teachers in their own writing, and making current research and practices available to teachers. More information and teacher nomination forms can be obtained using the contacts below.

Contact: Rich Kent , 581-2746 ( or Maureen Montgomery, 581-2711 (

Maine Center for Adult Learning and Literacy 
College of Education & Human Development, University of Maine  

The Center for Adult Learning & Literacy (CALL) is the State Literacy Resource Center and staff development service provider for the Maine Adult Education System. The Center provides resources and professional development for 126 programs located in more than 200 communities in Maine. CALL also maintains a website which can be accessed through and contains online copies of The Maine Fertilizer (the newspaper for the Maine Adult Education System) as well as information on other topics such as Family Literacy, Research, and Technology.

Contact: Evelyn Beaulieu at the Maine Center for Adult Learning & Literacy, 5766 Shibles Hall, University of Maine, Orono, Maine  04469.

School Partnerships, Alliances and Networks

Achieve is a statewide organization for Title I educators. This professional organization recognizes the need for unity and more involved communication as a way of addressing Title I issues throughout the state. Membership enables you to be part of an organization run by its members to improve instructional practices for students at-risk in the State of Maine. Any person who receives a portion of their wages from Title I monies is eligible for membership.

Contact: Roz Spear, 626-2483 or Gayla Labreck, 582-2214

Western Maine Partnership 

The goal of this partnership is to build school cultures of collective inquiry, action, and learning, through such means as:

- Reflective Practice Groups

- Leadership Support Groups

- Teacher Leader Grant Network

- SEED Grants

- Consulting Schools

- On-site Assessment courses

- Support for new teachers

- TRIBES training

- Cross District Groups

Contact: Margaret Arbuckle, 778-7191

Southern Maine Partnerships

This partnership seeks to support the development of schools that fulfill the promise of public education to ensure all students equitable futures and choices beyond their K-12 schooling through such initiatives such as:

* The Electronic Marketplace

* Instructional Improvement through Inquiry and Collaboration

* Critical Friends Groups

* Learner Centered Accountability

* Collaborative Inquiry Summer Institutes

* School Quality Review Network

Contact: Lynne Miller, 780-5498

Rural School Partnership

The Rural School Partnership strives to provide opportunities for collaborative inquiry among educators and to build capacity for educators to implement the Learning Results through:

- Reflective practice groups

- Study groups

- Dine and discuss events

- Book talks

- Assessment opportunities

- learner leader grants

- SEED grants

- Professional development for administrators

Contact: Mary Giard, 1-800-287-0833

Casco Bay Alliance

The Casco Bay Alliance strives to promote teaching, learning, and assessment practices across school districts. Goals include aligning the Learning Results with district curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices through use of reflective practice groups.

Contact: Cindy O’Shea, 839-3519

Central Aroostook Council on Education

The Central Aroostook Council on Education provides professional development opportunities to educators in this part of Maine.
Contact: Rod Doody, 768-9410

Washington County Consortium

This partnership seeks to provide professional development opportunities to educators in Washington County.

Contact: Nancy Malhorn or Soni Biehl, 255-1219