Online training debuts to improve third grade reading

November 21st, 2014

November 21, 2014

Online training debuts to improve third grade reading

Ryan TwissFORT WAYNE, Ind. - Members of the Big Goal Collaborative, an initiative of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, launched an original, interactive online series, called Follow the Reader at a public viewing party last night. The series will help ensure every third grade student in Northeast Indiana is reading at grade level by the end of third grade. 

Increasing third grade reading levels in Northeast Indiana is one of the primary indicators for the Big Goal Collaborative , which aims to increase the percentage of Northeast Indiana residents with high-quality degrees or credentials to 60% by 2025. Third grade reading plays a key role in reaching the Big Goal because children who are not reading proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

"Students who dont read at grade level by third grade have a very difficult time keeping pace with their classmates," said Ryan Twiss, director of the Big Goal Collaborative at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. "We can't afford to let them fall behind. Follow the Reader is intended to offer resources to help the adults in their lives ensure that doesn't happen."

Based on Project READS literacy tutoring curricula, Follow the Reader is a highly engaging, highly interactive series of five free online programs for mentors, tutors and parents that teaches them how to help striving readers read at grade level by third grade. Each course is less than 30 minutes.

"We know that one-to-one tutoring is a key strategy to helping students read," said Brian White, executive director of Project READS. "Project READS has been doing this work in Allen County for 20 years and is thrilled to have this opportunity to help expand the reach of our quality curricula to the rest of the region."

Marilyn Moran-TownsendThe online series is available free to parents, child care agencies, after-school agencies, mentor/tutor programs, families, juvenile justice programs and anyone else within Northeast Indiana. The program is accessible through the Project READS website at

Follow the Reader was made possible with support from CVC Communications, Michael Burns Consulting, Project READS, Sirk Educational Consulting and the United Way of Allen County. The public viewing party was made possible with support from the School of Education and Public Policy at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW).

"This was truly a collaborative effort," said Marilyn Moran-Townsend, CEO of CVC Communications, which developed the online courses. "At CVC, we were pleased to contribute time, talent and treasure to bring these courses to life, but it wouldn't have been possible without the passion and dedication of our planning group and special thanks goes out to United Way of Allen County for providing a financial contribution to make this wonderful project a reality."

About the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and Big Goal Collaborative 

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was formed in 2006 to help build a globally competitive economy in Northeast Indiana. It is a public-private partnership focused on generating business leads and building regional capacity through product development and effective regional collaboration. The Northeast Indiana Fund (Fund) was created in 2005 to operate as a supporting organization of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, focused specifically on product development and regional collaboration. In 2010, the Partnership launched Vision 2020 to bring the region together around five key areas for economic growth: 21st Century Talent, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship, Infrastructure and Quality of Life. Through its combined efforts in business development and capacity building, the Partnership supports its 10 member counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties. For more information, visit

The Big Goal Collaborative launched in 2012 under the 21st Century Talent Pillar of Vision 2020 and is a regional movement comprised of educators, community partners, businesses, civic leaders and others from throughout Northeast Indiana committed to the Big Goal. For more information about the Big Goal Collaborative, visit



Courtney Tritch
Vice President of Marketing
Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership
Cell: 773.383.0807

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