The Science of Reading Academy’s first cohort launched in the fall of 2022 with 65 teachers from 16 school districts in Monterey County. (Contributed)

MONTEREY COUNTY — Monterey County Office of Education (MCOE) is offering the Science of Reading Academy, a professional development series providing local teachers with research-based tools and strategies to accelerate literacy in classroom settings serving students ages 4 to 8. 

The first cohort launched in the fall of 2022 with 65 teachers from 16 school districts in Monterey County. Teachers will attend a total of five, full-day sessions to gain knowledge and skills to implement structured literacy and accelerate student outcomes in the area of early reading.

“MCOE is excited to be investing in this mission and the critical work,” said Monterey County Superintendent of Schools Deneen Guss. “Reading is so important, as it is the foundation for future learning and it truly takes the support of many to achieve success.”

This learning academy is co-designed with state and local literacy experts and includes an approach to reading instruction that is based on the science of reading. The academy model utilizes research in neuroscience that prioritizes the foundational skills necessary for early reading and writing.

The highly interactive structure of this academy engages participants in evidence-based practice to support phonemic and phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary and reading comprehension. By understanding the cognitive processes involved in reading, and the skills and strategies that are most effective in promoting reading development, educators can design instruction that is tailored to the specific needs of their students.

“The Science of Reading Academy is an incredible initiative that will improve comprehension by developing a deeper understanding of vocabulary and language development,” Guss said.

Partnering with MCOE in these efforts is Taylor Farms CEO Bruce Taylor, who has a deep passion for early literacy and has had a long-term commitment to generating learning environments that support the diverse needs of the children in the county.

“Taylor Farms is excited to announce our support towards the Monterey County Office of Education’s Science of Reading Academy,” Taylor said. “This is part of our continued initiative into accelerating language and literacy in our local community. Literacy plays a role in childhood development of several vital skills and aids in the equality of opportunity. Thank you to MCOE for leading this educational resource for our local community.”

Taylor Farms has committed to a $1,000 sponsorship for each participating teacher to ensure access to high quality resources and professional development for all early reading teachers throughout the county. This commitment includes a total of $1.5 million over the next three years. 

“We are grateful beyond words for the generosity of Bruce Taylor and Taylor Farms for supporting educators in their efforts to create a foundation of success for our children,” Guss said. “This donation truly propels our efforts forward to cultivate learning and build pivotal foundational skills for our young students.”  

Literacy instruction provides the foundation for all learning and is essential for personal, academic and college and career success, according to Guss. The partnership aims to provide the necessary tools for educators to close achievement gaps and accelerate learning for all students.

Future academy cohorts will be offered on a year-round cycle with the goal of serving 300 to 500 teachers annually for the next three years. For information regarding the Science of Reading Academy, contact MCOE Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Caryn Lewis at [email protected].

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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