The Initial Teaching Alphabet Foundation provides financial support, training, and materials for projects that focus on remediation of reading disabilities/dyslexia. Current grant-funded programs are described below.
Houston Public Schools, Houston MN
Houston Public Schools have two ITA intervention programs. At the elementary school, the program serves up to 30 students each year who are in need of remediation of reading and written expression. The goal is to provide them with literacy skills in the elementary grades to further their reading development and aid them in meeting Minnesota standards. Focus is on learning to read through an alternative method of reading, namely the ITA alphabet, and Repeated Oral Assisted Reading.
The Houston High School (grades 7-12) and Summit Learning Center (grades 9-12) serve approximately 35 students each year. Their focus is on building self-esteem through increased success in reading and writing. A particular goal is to challenge students to use new and more complex words by writing them the way they sound using ITA, thus building vocabulary knowledge and use in written assignments.
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, Winona MN
The ITA Literacy Clinic at Saint Mary’s University was established in 1988 with the financial support of the ITA Foundation. Each year, the clinic provides one-on-one tutoring for up to 65 students who are struggling in reading, spelling, and writing, using interventions validated by Dr. Flynn’s research for remediation of reading, spelling, and writing disabilities. Students “graduate” from the after-school clinic when they have achieved their reading goal, often in two years of clinic attendance. Because of the intensive creative writing of the ITA protocol, they are often cited as excellent writers when they reach high school English classes.
Another goal of the Saint Mary’s ITA project is to help preservice and practicing teachers understand the value of ITA for intervention with struggling readers. Undergraduate education majors serve as tutors during the school year, learning how they can meet the needs of struggling readers in their future classrooms. During summer sessions, experienced teachers who are getting a master’s degree in reading often work in the ITA clinic.
Saint Mary’s ITA Literacy Clinic students are also teachers. Each summer the ITA Foundation holds a national conference in Winona, and students who are receiving help in Saint Mary’s Literacy clinic show future grantees and interested educators how the research-based ITA intervention protocols work. They are living testimony to the effectiveness of ITA for remediation of reading disabilities/dyslexia.
For more information about the ITA Literacy Clinic at Saint Mary’s University, visit our website: itaprogramwinonasmu.org
San Miguel Middle School, Chicago IL
San Miguel Middle School is committed to equipping academically underachieving, low income, at-risk youth with the resources to excel academically, socially, and spiritually. The ITA program provides a critical tool for individualized and targeted help for struggling readers. The ITA program serves approximately 30 students with one-on-one intervention, using the reading and writing protocols that have been validated by the ITA Foundation’s research. In addition, all 88 of the school’s students will receive vocabulary enhancement using spelling by sound (writing new words in ITA), followed by electronic dictionary work to determine the correct spelling and meaning of the target words. Teachers at all three grade levels have found this vocabulary strategy to be especially helpful in extending the receptive language of their students, all of whom are Latino and speak Spanish as their first language.
For more information about the ITA Program at San Miguel School, Chicago, IL, visit our website: itaprogramsanmiguel.org
Winona Middle School, Winona MN
The purpose of the Winona Middle School ITA project is to serve struggling students in 7th and 8th grades. The desired outcomes of this project are to increase the number of students reading at grade level and reduce the number of students referred for special education in reading. Increased complexity of writing is also a major goal of the ITA project. Students receive services during and after school hours, both in their language arts classroom and in one-on-one or small-group intervention settings. Some successes of the program in its first year included:
- Students increased an average of 1.5 grade levels in year one from November through May.
- The eight students receiving one-on-one tutoring increased an average of 12.88 words per minute correct based upon their grade level fluency scores.
- The total words written growth averaged out to be 24 words in the three minute sample.
For more information about the ITA Program at Winona Middle School, Winona, MN, visit our website: itaprogramwinonams.org