Teaching At-Risk & Struggling Children to Learn to Read

What we have

I don't understand it when we know that something works, but we don't use it. What in the world stops people from doing something about it?

asked Dr. Reid Lyon, Ph.D., one of the country's leading experts on reading instruction, who spoke about reading reform at an April 2012 Reading Policy Forum at the Connecticut State House.

Teacher Preparation & Professional Development


Current Options for  Teacher Candidates & Teachers


University of Southern Maine:

SPY 427/627:  Multi-Tier Reading Interventions for General and Special Education. Includes lectures, discussions, guided practice and applied learning experiences in the scope and sequence of progressively more intensive reading instruction for students in kindergarten through grade 12, including students with disabilities. Starting with the five foundations of reading instruction (phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension), the course describes the features of core reading instruction and provides guided practice in multi-tier reading interventions. Graduate course taught each spring. Online-synchronous. Note: This course is now open also to undergraduate education majors. Instructor: Alexis Kiburis, Psy.D.

NOTE:  Reading Matters to Maine tuition scholarships are awarded annually to USM for ten Maine teachers or teacher candidates who take SPY 627. Contact USM School of Education and Human Development, Kim Warren at


“What are teachers who have taken SPY 427/627 saying about the course?”

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University of Maine at Farmington:

SED 301: Fundamentals of Literacy Instruction in Special Education.  Teaches special education and general education majors how to provide explicit, systematic instruction in the Common Core foundational skills of reading (phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension). Participants will acquire knowledge and practice teaching evidence-based reading.  Assessment approaches, intervention strategies, and data management are also covered.  Undergraduate fall course, 4 credits.UMF instructor: Karen Smith, M.Ed.

NOTE:   Reading Matters to Maine tuition scholarships are awarded annually to UMF for five Maine teacher candidates who take SED 301.  Contact Dr. Katherine Yardley, Dean of Education, for more information at


“What are teachers who have taken SED 301 saying about the course?”

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University of Maine:

SED 545: Intervention for Reading Difficulties. This evidence-based graduate reading course explores strategies for students with reading difficulties, approaches to reading intervention, and strategies for evaluating the efficacy of reading interventions. In addition to the features of explicit teaching, topics covered include RTI (Multi-Tier Systems of Support) in the classroom, early literacy foundations (phonemic awareness, print concepts, and letter identification), decoding and spelling, phonics, fluency, and comprehension. Fall graduate on-line course, asynchronous using Blackboard. Instructor: Sara Flanagan, Ph.D.

NOTE: Reading Matters to Maine tuition scholarships are awarded annually to UM for five Maine teachers or teacher candidates who take SED 545. Contact Dr. Sara Flanagan, Assistant Professor of Special Education, for more information:


“What are teachers who have taken SED 545 saying about the course?”

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Maine-Based Professional Development & Tutor Training:

Reading Matters to Maine’s annual Conversations about Reading are also available for professional development. Topics include Reading and the Brain, Language Development and Reading Instruction for English Language Learners, and more!
Learn more.


Children’s Dyslexia Centers (formerly The Masonic Children’s Learning Centers) provide excellent and rigorous Orton-Gillingham training and supervised tutoring experience leading to Initial Level O-G Certification.  Graduate credit is available through USM and U Maine Orono. There are two such centers in Maine:  Portland and Bangor. Read More


Other Options for Professional Development in Evidence-Based Literacy Knowledge and Practice:


American College of Education:

ACE is collaborating with Sopris Learning on a new literacy program and professional development model developed by Louisa Moats, Ed.D. ACE is offering a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Literacy. The model is research-based, supports common core standards, increases effectiveness of any core or supplemental program, according to the news release from ACE and Sopris. Learn More.


School Specialty/EPS:Kid Loves To Read

Online Orton-Gillingham Introductory Course.  Developed by Fellows of the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators.  This ten-hour online course provides an understanding of the approach to teaching reading to dyslexic and other struggling  students and covers the principals of this approach, multi-sensory instruction, phonology, language structure, spelling, and history of the English language.
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LiteracyHow, Connecticut

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Stern Center for Language and Learning, Vermont

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Grimes Reading Institute, Massachusetts

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Maine Department of Education


Literacy for ME: Maine’s Comprehensive State Literacy Plan 2012

Pending funding, through Literacy for ME, Maine communities will have access to a statewide system of support for evidence-based literacy learning practices across the birth to adult span.  Additionally, state literacy education efforts will be informed by practices proven to be effective.    Literacy for ME Summary

Maine Legislation & Maine State Board of Education Statutes


Title 20-A: Education  Part 3: Elementary and Secondary Education;


Chapter 207-A: Instruction; Subchapter 1: General Requirements


§4710. Kindergarten to grade 12 Interventions
By the school year that begins in the fall of 2012 all school administrative units shall develop and implement a system of interventions for kindergarten to grade 12 that provide each student who is not progressing toward meeting the content standards of the parameters for essential instruction and graduation requirements with different learning experiences or assistance to achieve the standard. The interventions must be specific, timely and based upon ongoing formative assessments that continuously monitor student progress. 


Chapter 101: General Provisions

III. General Education Intervention

2.  Procedure

All general education interventions must include

a. Documentation that every child, prior to entering the general education intervention process, was provided with appropriate
 instruction in reading, including the essential components of reading instruction (as defined in 1208 (3) of ESEA
Chapter 647 LD 1800  An Act to Adopt the Common Core Standards Initiative
Passed April 4, 2011.
Common Core Standards/ELA The foundational skills of reading, K-5: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension.
Read More     Learn more specifics


Reading Standards


H.P. 1376-LD 1858 Sec. B-5 Certification Rules

Passed April 6, 2012.

The State Board of Education shall amend its rules relating to certification of educators under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 20 A, section 13012 to require that any person seeking an endorsement to teach K through 8 must demonstrate proficiency in math and reading instruction, including evidence-based reading instruction. For the purposes of this section, ‘evidence-based reading instruction” means instructional practices that have been proven by systematic, objective, valid, and peer reviewed research to lead to predictable gains in reading achievement.  The requirement must apply to all teachers and specialists, including teachers in special education and teachers of English language learners.”


Maine Section Reading



Chapter 114: Purpose, Standards, and Procedures for the Review and Approval of Preparation Programs for Education Personnel

This chapter was reviewed in 2011-2012 and was be sent to the Board of Education for approval in September 2012.  Learn more

Chapter 115: Certification, Authorization, and Approval of Education Personnel

This important chapter is also up for review although, as of April 2012, there is no announcement of a Stakeholders Committee for that purpose.


Reading Interventions

Read the Research


Learn More about Evidence-Based Reading Instruction

12 Components of Research-Based Reading Programs

“As children learn to read, they learn how spoken and written language relate to each other. For this to happen, the components of the reading program, including the instructional materials selected for classroom use, must relate to one another and be orchestrated into sequences of instruction that engage all children and meet their needs. The following are twelve of the essential components of research-based reading programs.”

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What Works Clearinghouse

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Doing What Works

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Florida Center for Reading Research

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Center on Instruction

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Johns Hopkins’ Best Evidence Encyclopedia

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