The National Center on Improving Literacy (NCIL), operated by Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education and Human Development with funding from the United States Department of Education, is a partnership among literacy experts, university researchers, and technical assistance providers from the University of Oregon, Florida State University, and RMC Research Corporation.
To increase access to, and use of, evidence-based approaches to screen, identify, and teach students with literacy-related disabilities, including dyslexia.
To build individual and organizational capacity to assess students’ literacy-related skill, identify students with disabilities or those at risk of disabilities, and fully implement evidence-based literacy programs and professional development.
Hank Fien, Ph.D., is the Director of NCIL and is a Professor in the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development at Boston University (BU). He also directs the BU TEACH research center at BU. His research is focused on the areas of early reading and early mathematics interventions for diverse learners in school settings. Dr. Fien’s most recent work is focused on scaling up evidence based practices in schools and to better understand the ecological factors that support or hinder the use of evidence.
Yaacov Petscher, Ph.D. is a Deputy Director of NCIL and co-leads the Screening and Identification Strand of the center. Dr. Petscher is an Associate Director at the Florida Center for Reading Research and the Director of the Quantitative Methodology and Innovative Division, at Florida State University. He is interested in the development and application of statistical models to data in order to understand why students differ in their reading skills, as well as creative disseminations of research through technology and alternative mediums.
Sarah Sayko, Ed.D., is a Deputy Director of NCIL, and oversees the family, technical assistance, and dissemination strands of the center. She is a Senior Research Associate at RMC Research Corporation in Arlington, VA. Sarah was previously a literacy content specialist with the Center on Instruction (COI) and a technical assistance provider with the National Reading Technical Assistance Center (NRTAC). She was an elementary reading coach and literacy specialist in two Massachusetts public school districts and is a certified K-12 reading specialist.
Nancy J. Nelson Fien, Ph.D., is a Deputy Director of NCIL and Instruction & Intervention Strand Lead, and the Director of the Lead for Literacy Center. She is an Assistant Professor of Special Education in Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education and Human Development. Dr. Nelson has more than a decade of experience leading federally-funded research projects and providing technical assistance to state and local education agencies. Dr. Nelson’s work focuses on developing and evaluating reading and math interventions for students with or at risk for learning disabilities, the use of assessment in school settings, and the implementation of multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) to support diverse learners. She is a nationally certified school psychologist and a former middle and high school special education teacher.
Jessica Turtura, Ph.D., leads the dissemination strand. Dr. Turtura is a Senior Research Associate at the Center on Teaching and Learning at the University of Oregon. She has more than a decade of experience managing federally funded research projects. Dr. Turtura’s work focuses on the development and evaluation of reading and math interventions for grades K-3, factors that predict responsiveness to intervention, and translating research to practice through creative dissemination methods.
Lana Edwards Santoro, Ph.D., is the Co-Lead of Instruction and Intervention for NCIL. She is a Research Professor with the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development at Boston University. Dr. Santoro focuses on projects related to professional learning, technical assistance, and instructional intervention for students with literacy-related disabilities. Her research emphasizes literacy instruction for struggling readers and writers with a specific interest in supporting student development of oral and written language skills, vocabulary, and comprehension. She is also a former special education teacher.
Lakeisha Johnson, Ph.D., co-leads the Screening and Identification Strand of the center. She is an assistant professor in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Florida State University and the director of The Village, the Florida Center for Reading Research’s community engagement and outreach division. Dr. Johnson’s primary research interests include language and literacy development in African American children and the use of diverse children's books in educational settings.
Kristin Kane is a Senior Research Scientist with NCIL. She previously served as the Senior Advisor for the Office of Early Childhood Development in the Administration of Children and Families for U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Kristin has dedicated the last twelve years to advocacy and awareness, with a focus on family engagement and the intersection of public school, special education, and dyslexia. This includes her time as a family engagement specialist with the Virginia’s Center for Parent Training and Information, PEATC. Her work includes contributions at both the federal and state policy level related to dyslexia and literacy laws. Kristin is a founding member of the Decoding Dyslexia Virginia, a grassroots movement, and director of the nonprofit Friends of Decoding Dyslexia Virginia. She holds a B.S. in Psychology and Associate’s Level OG certification. She is a mom to three awesome children, two of which happened to be diagnosed with dyslexia.
We work jointly with other organizations to support our mission. These collaborations help further our goals of promoting the use of evidence-based literacy practices.
Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ)
Our collaboration with DJJ focuses on a yearly comic book contest open to all students enrolled in the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) programs. Learn about the Clash of Heroes Contest.
HILL For Literacy
The HILL will partner with NCIL to deliver evidence-based technical assistance to State, Regional, and Local Education Agencies and other TA centers or agencies who request support.
Idaho Department of Education
Our work with Idaho focuses on supporting school systems to effectively teach essential literacy content to all students, including students with or at risk for literacy-related disabilities. Learn more about our Work in the Field with Idaho.
Maryland State Department of Education
Our collaboration with Maryland focuses on implementing universal screening for dyslexia and general reading risk. Learn more about our Work in the Field with Maryland.
Michigan Department of Education’s Office of Special Education through Michigan’s MTSS Technical Assistance Center (MiMTSS)
Our collaboration with MiMTSS focuses on intensification of instruction and intervention to comprehensively support the individual needs of students with or at risk for literacy-related disabilities, best practices for supporting students with dyslexia, and family engagement. Learn more about our Work in the Field with Michigan.
Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN)
Our collaboration with PaTTAN focuses on the implementation of a high-quality, effective model focused on using Response to Intervention (RTI) within the context of multi-tiered systems of support in reading (MTSS-R) and supporting school leaders to facilitate such systems. Learn more about our Work in the Field with Pennsylvania.
The National Center on Intensive Intervention (NCII)
NCII and NCIL have partnered to create resources that provide information about screening, including our Understanding Screening infographic series.
The National Comprehensive Center (NCC)
Our collaboration with NCC includes jointly disseminating evidence-based literacy information and resources to stakeholders. We partner with NCC on literacy-related projects and activities to increase stakeholder capacity to effectively support students at risk of not attaining full literacy skills due to a disability.
The Reading League Journal (TRLJ)
Our collaboration with TRLJ involves the dissemination of Educator Toolkits, infographics, and other resources to build knowledge and support teachers and other educators to implement the science of reading.
WETA and Reading Rockets
WETA and NCIL have partnered on many dissemination products including Tutorials and Ask an Expert videos.
The research reported here is funded by awards to the National Center on Improving Literacy from the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, in partnership with the Office of Special Education Programs (Award #: S283D160003). The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of OESE, OSEP, or the U.S. Department of Education. Copyright © 2023 National Center on Improving Literacy. https://improvingliterarcy.org