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Press Release

CHAPEL HILL, NC – The University of North Carolina System is pleased to announce the appointment of eight Literacy Fellows as part of the UNC System Literacy Framework Development Initiative. The UNC System Literacy Framework Development Initiative is a result of the Board of Governors’ Resolution on Teacher Preparation. The resolution calls for the UNC System Office to develop a common framework for literacy instruction in teacher preparation, to be adopted by all educator preparation programs in the System.

The Literacy Fellows will work together to develop a detailed framework for what graduates of UNC System educator preparation programs should know and be able to do when they begin teaching elementary school students to read. The framework will be based on the latest scientific research into the essential components of reading and will align with statutory requirements and other statewide literacy initiatives.

The new framework will ensure that graduates of elementary and special education general curriculum programs in the UNC System have an in-depth understanding of reading as a process involving the ability to hear and create sounds, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

The Fellows are drawn from across the UNC System’s educator preparation programs. The following individuals were selected from a robust pool of applicants and represent a wealth of experience, research, and knowledge of evidence-based literacy practice:

  • Kimberly L. Anderson, East Carolina University, Associate Professor of Reading Education
  • Christie Cavanaugh, University of North Carolina Greensboro, Clinical Associate Professor
  • Dennis S. Davis, North Carolina State University, Associate Professor of Literacy Education
  • Rebecca Lee Payne Jordan, Appalachian State University, Assistant Professor of Reading Education
  • Kim Doggett Pemberton, Winston-Salem State University Associate Professor of Elementary Education
  • Paola Pilonieta, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Associate Professor, Director of the Reading Education Minor
  • Roya Qualls Scales, Western Carolina University, Professor of Literacy Education
  • Kellee D. Watkins, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Assistant Professor and MAT Coordinator for Elementary Education

Expanded Biographical Information is available at: https://www.northcarolina.edu/offices-and-services/division-of-strategy-and-policy/literacy-framework-development-initiative/

These Fellows began developing the framework for teaching literacy in educator preparation programs within the UNC System in August 2020. Once this framework is finalized, the Fellows will support the System-wide implementation of this new tool to help North Carolina’s newest educators teach their future students how to read and write. The Fellows will also develop a self-assessment tool, which educator preparation programs can use to evaluate their implementation of the new framework.

Research shows that students who are able to read on grade-level by the end of 3rd grade are more likely to graduate from high school, enroll in postsecondary education, earn a college degree or credential, and experience economic success in adulthood. Currently, only 36 percent of North Carolina’s fourth graders scored proficient in reading in 2019, with just over 20 percent of low-income fourth-graders reading on grade level, according to the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

“All children need knowledgeable and skilled teachers if they are going to learn to read during early elementary grades and receive appropriate support when it’s not so easy for them. We can help make this happen, and I am honored and committed to playing a meaningful role,” explained Dr. Christie Cavanaugh, a Fellow from UNC Greensboro.