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TO:                  Superintendents of Schools

FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:             February 7, 2005

SUBJECT:      Reading First: Professional Development And Core Programs

**Please Forward to Assistant Superintendents, Principals, and Interested Parties**

The Maine Department of Education has received funds through the federal Reading First Initiative for the purpose of ensuring that all Maine children read well by the end of third grade.   These funds are dedicated to help states and local school districts eliminate the reading deficit by establishing high-quality, comprehensive reading instruction in kindergarten through grade 3.   Eighty percent of these funds are required to be subgranted to eligible LEAs.   The Department is in the process of conducting a second round of subgrants to LEAs.   (See for more information).   Twenty percent of the funds are required to provide ongoing professional development to all K-3 regular educators and all K-12 special educators throughout the state.  

This professional development focuses on scientifically based reading instruction and assessment practices that support the 5 essential elements of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.   Types of professional development offered are:

Reading First builds on a solid foundation of research and is designed to assist LEAs in selecting, implementing and providing professional development for teachers using scientifically based reading programs; and to ensure accountability through ongoing, valid and reliable screening, diagnostic, and classroom-based assessment.   LEAs applying for a Reading First subgrant are required to select a high-quality scientifically based core reading program.   The Department does not endorse specific core reading programs, but for the purposes of this grant selecting a core reading program is required.   Districts can choose from one of two programs that can be supported throughout the grant.

If you would like more information about the Reading First Initiative please contact the Co-Directors: Patrick O’Shea, at 624-6717 ,   patrick.o' or Lee Anne Larsen at 624-6628 or   .