Manchester University receives $500,000 grant for science of reading initiative

Dec 14, 2023, 08:56 AM by Chloe Leckrone
Manchester University has received a grant of $500,000 from Lilly Endowment Inc. through its initiative, Advancing the Science of Reading in Indiana.

Manchester University has received a grant of $500,000 from Lilly Endowment Inc. through its initiative, Advancing the Science of Reading in Indiana. The grant will support the Harry H. Henney '35 and Jeanette Henney Department of Education's Science of Reading initiative through the development of an academy which will house a reading lab and center for professional development, preparing its teacher candidates and classroom teachers to better support all Hoosier readers.

"It is imperative that more of Indiana's elementary students learn to read proficiently, and it is essential that current teachers and the next generation of teachers are prepared to use proven principles to teach reading in their classrooms," said Ted Maple, Lilly Endowment's vice president for education. "We are pleased therefore to help Indiana colleges and universities strengthen the use of these research-based principles to teach reading in their teacher preparation programs."

Manchester University is one of 28 Indiana colleges and universities that received grants from Lilly Endowment to support efforts that integrate Science of Reading-aligned principles into teacher preparation programs.

"We are incredibly grateful to the Lilly Endowment for their generous support of the efforts to expand our curriculum. Early education lays the foundation for a lifetime of learning and the science of reading is the cornerstone of success in elementary education. Nurturing young minds during these formative years not only instills a love for learning but also equips the future generation with the essential skills to comprehend, communicate and navigate the world's complexities." said Dr. Stacy Young, president, Manchester University.

The Henney Department of Education will use the three-year Lilly Endowment Inc. grant to hire a reading coach who will support the program's development of a Reading Lab, a space offering teacher candidates with opportunities to work one-on-one and in small groups with preschool and elementary readers. Working side-by-side with teacher candidates, the reading coach will mentor Manchester University teacher candidates as they develop these important skills.

As part of its project, the program will also employ a consultant to assist the teaching program's audit and realignment of its reading curriculum with research-based pedagogy and offer training to faculty and teacher candidates in phonics instruction.

"We are thrilled about the opportunity to expand our partnership with Manchester Community Schools and other school districts," said Dr. Heather Schilling, director of clinical experience and professor of education. "Our reading lab will be more than a facility; it will be a hub for professional development. In addition to offering sessions focused on reading intervention and enrichment for school children, we're also tackling the Summer Slide issue head-on. Through our Summer Slide program, the Henney Department of Education is committed to mitigating the loss in reading achievement among children."

Lilly Endowment launched the Advancing the Science of Reading in Indiana initiative in 2022. It complements a statewide effort undertaken in 2022 by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) to improve reading achievement in K-12 schools by helping current teachers implement Science of Reading-aligned principles in their classrooms. In 2022, the Endowment made a $60 million grant to the IDOE to support that work with school districts and teachers across Indiana.

For the media

Heather Schilling, director of clinical experience and professor of education, can be reached at 260-982-5265 or

Manchester University, in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, Ind., provides vibrant and transformative student experiences. Learn more.

Our mission and values

Manchester University respects the infinite worth of every individual and graduates persons of ability and conviction who draw upon their education and faith to lead principled, productive, and compassionate lives that improve the human condition.

About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private foundation created in 1937 by J. K. Lilly and his sons, Eli and J.K. Jr., through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with its founders' wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education, and religion, and it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.