Empowering K–5 teachers to improve student literacy through evidence-based professional learning
The Kentucky Department of Education is offering a comprehensive, no-cost professional learning opportunity to eligible educators during the next three years.
The purpose of the Kentucky Reading Academies is to increase reading outcomes for elementary students by providing high-quality, job-embedded professional learning about HOW students learn to read to K-5 teachers and administrators.
Why is this needed in Kentucky?
- The impact of COVID-19 has been pronounced among early learners, for whom development of reading and writing skills is critical to success in all subjects and later grades. As research indicates, students who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to not finish high school.
- Results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reveal a downward trend in fourth-grade reading results, leaving Kentucky ranked 23rd in the nation, based on 2018-2019 data.
- While teachers are the MOST essential factor in student success, only 49% of teaching institutions nationally effectively prepare teachers for literacy instruction.
Who is eligible?
LETRS for elementary educators is approved for Kentucky educators who work with K–5 students, including:
- General educators
- Special educators
- Reading specialists
- Those who teach English Learners (EL)
- Those in Title I schools
LETRS for Administrators is approved for Kentucky administrators.
Timeline and Registration Information
The Kentucky Reading Academies will be implemented in three phases:
- Cohort / Phase 1: Fall 2022 - Spring 2024
- Cohort / Phase 2: Fall 2023 - Spring 2025
- Cohort / Phase 3: Fall 2024 - Spring 2026
For more information and FAQs specific to the Kentucky Reading Academies, visit the KDE webpage.
Phase 2 Registration is now closed.
The KDE is committed to supporting the success of this initiative. Districts and schools with a commitment to building sustainability may reach out to KDE’s Director of Early Literacy Christie Biggerstaff via email at email@example.com for additional information about the Kentucky Reading Academies.
Access your LETRS Account
Phase 1 Training Schedule
Estimated Time to Complete by Unit
The Kentucky Reading Academies will help educators utilize evidence-based approaches to reading and writing instruction designed to improve reading and writing proficiency. Because reading and writing proficiently are building blocks to success in future grades and courses and in postsecondary pursuits, the Reading Academies will provide educators with the tools needed to help students be successful lifelong readers and writers.
Participating educators will be equipped with evidence-based professional learning about how students learn to read that can be used and applied in their classrooms throughout their careers.
What educators are saying about the Kentucky Reading Academies
“It has been the most phenomenal training that I have ever participated in.” ~ State Rep. Tina Bojanowski, a teacher in Jefferson County Public Schools and current LETRS participant
What is LETRS?
Developed by Dr. Louisa Moats and leaders in the field of literacy, LETRS teaches the skills needed to master the foundation and fundamentals of reading and writing instruction—phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and written language.
LETRS professional learning for elementary educators is an investment in teachers’ literacy knowledge and professional practice. Teachers gain essential knowledge to master the fundamentals of literacy instruction required to transform student learning.
LETRS for Administrators equips instructional leaders to create systems and structures in their schools and districts to achieve high levels of academic performance and growth in literacy.
Cindy Kennedy, NBCT, ATP
Every teacher should have this training. It is, hands down, the best training I have ever received. It does take time, which makes it very difficult because it is hard to make time for anything else during the school year. BUT, this training is well worth making time to take. This is the training that will help us help our students. I am so glad I signed up.
Kentucky educators deserve access to ongoing support in building early readers, writers, and communicators who will be prepared to meet the future demands of college and career. Research demonstrates a positive link between high-quality professional learning, teaching practices, and student outcomes. Effective professional learning not only has the potential to improve both classroom instruction and student outcomes, but also it can be effective in recruiting and retaining teachers.
Using specific strategies and lessons from LETRS, he [third grade student] has shown an entire year's worth of reading gains at just this point in the school year. Now, he is still behind grade level, but this targeted approach will help close his gaps. The best part? He no longer says he can't read. He volunteers. He wants to read, and he is showing so much more confidence in himself.
Resources for Literacy Learning
A host of resources related to LETRS, success stories, and the research that supports LETRS is available to give you additional insight. Pacing Guides and other resources specific to Kentucky will be added to this section.
Training Educators and Administrators in LETRS Professional Learning Improves Literacy Outcomes in Oklahoma's Enid Public Schools