Graphic reading: KDE News, Kentucky Department of Education(FRANKFORT, KY) – A child’s ability to read is a critical predictor of both educational and lifelong success. Students must have every opportunity to gain and strengthen this skill, and teachers must be equipped and empowered in the teaching of reading to best support their students.

To support this goal, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) launched a partnership beginning in school year 2022-2023 called the Kentucky Reading Academies, which brings the Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) professional learning opportunity to educators across the Commonwealth. The Kentucky Reading Academies is a comprehensive, no-cost, professional learning opportunity open to all K-5 public school educators.

Through LETRS, teachers gain essential knowledge to master the fundamentals of literacy instruction required to transform student learning and create a more vibrant experience for each and every young reader. This course of study was chosen because of its demonstrated success on a national scale in bringing significant increases in literacy achievement. Initial evaluation results show the academies are having a positive impact on teacher knowledge and student learning here in Kentucky as well.

More than 4,000 Kentucky educators and administrators are currently participating in the LETRS professional learning opportunity.

“LETRS has completely changed my teaching. Starting to implement small changes as I learned them last year (through Volume 1) and then adding in the changes from Volume 2 this year has completely changed the way I teach and how my students learn,” said Brittany Isaacs, 1st-grade teacher at Ockerman Elementary (Boone County). “I can SEE the difference this year, and it has reignited a passion for teaching kids to read.”

“As a superintendent, my participation in the LETRS training (teacher version) has equipped me with essential background knowledge, empowering me to make more informed, evidence-based decisions regarding curriculum, instruction and assessment,” said Henry County Superintendent Jim Masters. “This training has broadened my perspective, enabling me to consider the viewpoints of both students and teachers.”

“LETRS has greatly impacted my teaching. I have learned to look at teaching literacy in a new way that has had a positive impact on my students’ success. While using the strategies I’ve learned through LETRS, my students’ overall fluency rate has increased from 40% fluent readers to 75% fluent readers. My students’ reading comprehension has increased from an average of 50% to 80%,” said Miranda Frost, 2nd-grade teacher at Lynn Camp Elementary (Knox County).

“I am working through the LETRS for Administrators course. There are wonderful tools that support implementation of a full scale highly effective literacy program that principals and administrators can use while also becoming stronger in their own understanding of literacy instruction,” said Leslie Peveler, director of elementary schools and multi-tiered system of supports coordinator for Daviess County Schools.

Registration Information

Registration for the third LETRS cohort of the Kentucky Reading Academies will be open from May 1 until Aug. 30.

Two different courses are being offered through the Kentucky Reading Academies: LETRS for Educators and LETRS for Administrators. Interested educators can join the Kentucky Reading Academies by registering for the course that pertains to their role:

Please note: Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 participants are already enrolled in the professional learning and will not need to register for Cohort 3.

Find out more about the Kentucky Reading Academies on the Kentucky Reading Academies webpage.

For questions about the Kentucky Reading Academies, email KDE Director of Early Literacy Christie Biggerstaff.