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Literacy Professor Creates Support for K-12 Teachers

photo of Janice Almasi
Dr. Janice Almasi

University of Kentucky College of Education Professor Janice Almasi has received funding from the Kentucky Department of Education to support teachers implementing the Kentucky Academic Standards for Reading and Writing.

Almasi is the Carol Lee Robertson Endowed Professor of Literacy in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. To coordinate the state project, she has put together a team that includes local teachers, literacy doctoral students and a curriculum specialist. Together, they are working with Kentucky Department of Education staff to develop two online modules that K-12 teachers can use to plan for, and implement, instruction.

Developed in 2019, Kentucky’s reading and writing standards outline what students should know by the end of each grade level.

“Many teachers have said they would like more guidance on how to implement instruction that will help students learn content outlined by the new standards,” Almasi said. “Most frequently, they are seeking ways to help students learn to determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze the structure of texts. So, we are developing online modules for K-12 teachers that will include over 50 lessons they can implement with students at varying developmental levels.”

Almasi will work with a multimedia team to go into classrooms and create brief documentaries. The multimedia clips will show the process of teaching and learning related to the standards and include interviews with teachers discussing their lesson-planning process. This part of the project has been delayed due to COVID-19’s impact on school openings. In the meantime, Almasi and her collaborators are focusing on ensuring the modules they develop will be helpful to teachers and make an impact on the students they teach.

“I am working with many people who are doing incredible work to develop the products that will bring this project to fruition,” Almasi said.

Almasi’s research in the areas of reading methods, reading theory and reading research design is nationally recognized. Much of her career has been dedicated to research focusing on how children make sense of text. Her research has also examined comprehension and the strategic processing that occurs while children read.

Recently, she was co-principal investigator on a grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences to develop a narrative comprehension intervention to assist third graders who struggle to comprehend and who are at risk for ADHD.