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WORDS (Workshops on Reading Development Strategies) for Pandemic Recovery in Nebraska


Research Team

Name Name Name Name Name

Principal Investigator: Natalie Koziol

Co-Principal Investigators: Sarah Zuckerman, HyeonJin Yoon, Amanda Witte, Rachel Schachter, Janet Bohaty

Funding Information

Funding Agency: Institute of Education Sciences (IES), Nebraska Department of Education (NDE), Swanson Biggs Adams Family Foundation

Subcontract from: University of California—Irvine

Award Date: Nov 22, 2022

End Date: Jun 30, 2026


This project is funded, in part, by a subcontract from the University of California–Irvine.

Many Nebraska schools indicate that students who have reading difficulties have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, state schools have been charged with implementing the Nebraska Reading Improvements Act for Nebraska.

The Nebraska Department of Education has partnered with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln to provide practice-based professional develop to address this prior to the pandemic. This is fortunate timing, as the WORDS project may also be a tool to help accelerate reading improvement in students who have been impacted by the pandemic. 

This project is designed to implement practice passed professional development for schools to speed up pandemic recovery for students with and at-risk for reading disabilities, and to provide an evaluation of the project.

Researchers aim to implement the WORDS project with all students falling below the state identified cut-scores on Nebraska reading screeners in 10 Nebraska schools; evaluate the impacts of the Nebraska WORDS project using a regression discontinuity design; evaluate the impacts of the Nebraska WORDS project using a propensity score matching to compare schools that receive WORDS with schools that do not receive WORDS; examine the impacts of WORDS descriptively for students with cognitive or intellectual disabilities; and foster sustainability of the WORDS project.

Psychosocial Development & Social-Emotional Learning, Academic Intervention & Learning, Early Education & Development

WORDS team members include, from left, Janet Bohaty, Mary Jo McElhose, Amanda Witte, Sarah Zuckerman, Natalie Koziol, HyeonJin Yoon, Nancy Coffey and Rachel Schachter.
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