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Grant To Improve Early Literacy Skills In Urban Preschools Awarded

A team of University of Illinois at Chicago researchers has received a
three-year, $4.1 million federal grant to establish a project to
improve early language and literacy skills among urban preschool

The U.S. Department of Education grant will fund a partnership formed
between UIC, five Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools and their
eight full-day preschool classrooms to create early childhood education
centers of excellence.

"We are very pleased to be able to continue our work developing
instructional strategies, professional development approaches, and
classroom support models that result in boosting young children's
language and early literacy skills," said Jeffri Brookfield, visiting
research and program development specialist in the UIC Center for
Literacy, and the project's principal investigator.

The preschool classrooms will serve 160 children each year from
low-income, culturally diverse neighborhoods, Brookfield said. Centers
are located throughout Chicago's west and south sides.

Co-investigators include William Teale, UIC professor of curriculum and
instruction, and Maureen Meehan, director of community literacy
programs at the Center of Literacy, also in the College of Education.

The researchers have three goals -- enhance classroom environments to
support language and literacy learning; increase the use of
scientifically based reading research instructional practices; and
ensure that children acquire the oral language, cognitive and early
literacy skills associated with academic success.

The project, Instructional Model Program for all Children and Teachers
(IMPACT): Early Language and Literacy Excellence, builds on current
preschool language and literacy initiatives by these researchers, who
have obtained $10.7 million in early literacy grant funding over the
past three years.

The project is one of 28 selected for funding by the Department of
Education's 2009 Early Reading First Grant Program to establish
effective early learning practices throughout the nation.

For more information about UIC, please visit

- UIC -

CONTACT: Jeffron Boynes, (312) 413-8702,

UIC News Release

University of Illinois at Chicago Office of Public Affairs (MC 288)
601 S. Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7113, (312) 996-3456,

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