Murray State University’s College of Education and Human Services recently hosted the Kentucky Reading Project’s 18th annual summer institute June 13-24. This year’s KRP summer institute at Murray State included 14 participants representing Crofton Elementary, Jesse Stuart Elementary, Lowes Elementary, Mayfield Elementary, Millbrooke Elementary, Murray Middle School, North Calloway Elementary, Pembroke Elementary, Southside Elementary and Southwest Calloway Elementary.
The KRP is a statewide initiative by the Collaborative Center for Literacy Development. According to the KRP, its mission is to “increase student achievement and family engagement in literacy by empowering K-5 teachers to design and implement comprehensive, research-based instruction driven by the on-going assessment of diverse learners’ needs.” This professional development initiative involves a year-long, graduate-level reading course consisting of a summer institute, four follow-up sessions throughout the academic year, and at least one coaching visit to each teacher’s classroom.
Each day of the institute highlighted a new theme for literacy instruction. This year’s themes included applying theory and research, comprehension, reading and writing across the curriculum and providing assistance to struggling readers. The teachers participated in strategy demonstrations, literature circles, discussions of personal theories on literacy and presentations by guest speakers. Another key element of the institute is the development of individual Literacy Action Plans for future classroom use. Such plans involve a balanced approach aimed at improving the teachers’ knowledge and instructional practices in literacy while ultimately benefitting the specific needs of their students.
The Kentucky Reading Project’s summer institute provides an invaluable opportunity to all of those involved.
“KRP has helped reignite my love for literacy,” explained Toni Martin of Southside Elementary.
Other participants, such as Stephanie Jones of Lowes Elementary, were grateful for the networking experience, having made “many life-long friendships with other educators from across our region”.
It’s safe to say that everyone present left with a newfound excitement for the coming school year.
“I have a huge list of things I want to add to my lessons next year,” shared Molly Myers of Southwest Calloway Elementary.
Educators selected for participation in the Kentucky Reading Project receive a professional stipend, literacy resources, teaching materials and three hours of graduate credit upon completion of the course.

Dr. Jacqueline Hansen, Dr. Christina Grant and Ms. Holly Bloodworth all serve as co-directors of the KRP at Murray State. Within the MSU Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Hansen acts as chair and professor while Grant holds the position of assistant professor. Bloodworth was named the 2014 Kentucky Teacher of the Year and currently serves as a National Board Certified Teacher at Murray Elementary School. Together, the three work tirelessly to encourage and foster literacy growth throughout the region and the state.

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