Director of Reading360 Research Center Named

by Rebekah Goode
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Three students are reading at a table in a library. A teacher leans over one student's shoulder helping them read a page in a book.

Deborah Reed Will Lead Effort to Evaluate Statewide Literacy Standards

Headshot Deborah ReedFollowing a nationwide search, Deborah Reed has been selected to lead the new Reading360 Research Center, a center developed in collaboration with the TN Department of Education (TDOE) and the UT System.  It will be housed at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences (CEHHS). She will begin her new role on July 1, 2022.

Prior to joining UT, Reed served as the Director of the Iowa Reading Research Center at the University of Iowa since 2015. At the University of Iowa, she taught courses on reading disabilities and researched methods for improving literacy instruction and assessment, particularly among vulnerable and marginalized populations. Reed began her career as an English language arts and reading teacher as well as a preK-12 reading specialist, and has spent the last 29 years in various teaching and research roles across educational systems.

In her new position, Reed will lead the newly established Reading360 Research Center as director. The center will play a vital role in Reading 360, a $100 million statewide initiative to ensure Tennessee school districts, teachers, and families have the tools and resources to help students read on grade level by third grade.

The center will focus current programming data from classrooms, colleges, and communities across Tennessee as part of the Reading 360 literacy initiative. Reed and her team will be tasked with evaluating and independently analyzing how Tennessee’s investment of optional literacy supports and grants are improving student literacy rates, increasing the use of sounds-first instruction in Pre-K-3 classrooms, increasing the use of high-quality instructional materials, and preparing future educators for literacy instruction. Additionally, the center will analyze the implementation of the Tennessee Literacy Success Act.

“I think the state won the lottery by getting Reed to join us,” said Dean Ellen McIntyre. “She has already launched a successful center, has a deep understanding of the research supporting your children’s literacy learning, and is a superior research methodologist.  She is collaborative by nature and is eager work with our UT campuses, TDOE, and our other key partners who care deeply about literacy.  The children and teachers in Tennessee are already better served by Reed.”

“The UT System is in a unique position to solve the grand challenges of our state,” said Randy Boyd, president of the UT System. “With our four undergraduate campuses in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Martin and Pulaski, the statewide Health Science Center and our presence in all 95 counties through the UT Institute of Agriculture, we are truly able to reach every corner of our state to improve literacy efforts.”

Reed received her bachelor’s degree from Claremount McKenna College, her master’s degree from The University of Texas at San Antonio and her PhD in Special Education from The University of Texas at Austin. Her publications have appeared in numerous journals including Exceptional ChildrenJournal of School PsychologyReading Research QuarterlyReview of Educational Research, and Scientific Studies of Reading. She also served on the panel of the recently released Institution of Education Sciences Practice Guide, Providing Reading Interventions for Students in Grades 4-9.

“This is an incredible opportunity to join a vibrant team making a real difference in the lives of Tennessee’s children,” said Reed.

You can learn more about the Reading 360 Initiative here.

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