We Get Results That Last

Since our founding in 2001, we have helped all types of schools – rural, suburban, and inner-city – build sustainable literacy excellence, demonstrating that the goal of teaching all children to read by the end of third grade is obtainable.

Brockton Summer School Literacy & Professional Learning Project

The Summer School Literacy and Professional Learning Grant (SSLPL) is an initiative designed by the Massachusetts Department of Education to simultaneously maximize achievement in extended school year programs and provide professional development in evidence-based literacy practices and took place in Summer 2023. The program was facilitated through a partnership between HILL for Literacy and Crafting Minds hosted by the Brockton Public Schools. The grant provided a half-day of literacy instruction within the Brockton extended school year program, specifically to rising first grade students reading below grade level.

The SSLPL model focuses on two critical areas of professional development: 1) building teacher background knowledge in the science of reading and 2) coaching educators as they plan and deliver Tier 2 structured literacy routines. Participating educators received 45 hours of training through both content delivery and on-demand coaching.

Educator training kicked off with a series of initial stand-and-deliver workshops that focuses on a discrete set of skills (8 hours). Teachers then engaged in embedded practice within the district-supported extended school year program (at least 8 hours), and received ongoing support through coaching (15 hours) and weekly staff meetings (8 hours). Instructional coaches were also supported by HILL  facilitators who modeled routines, offered corrective feedback and provided instructional planning. SSLPL participants represent a range of Brockton educators including classroom teachers, reading specialists, special educators, speech and language pathologists, and administrators. 

By the conclusion of the 4.5 week program, teachers participated in 45 hours of professional development and coaching, and students received 60 hours of literacy instruction. As a group, the 75+ enrolled students demonstrated meaningful growth across all measures of reading ability.

The HILL-Bridgeport Partnership

During school year 2021-22, HILL for Literacy worked closely with Bridgeport Public Schools in CT to implement our K-3 Literacy Model in their district and help close their achievement gap. The district includes 36 schools and serves nearly 20,000 students, 89.1% of whom are minorities, 50.8% are economically disadvantaged, and 14.1% are English language learners. The HILL provided training and support around leadership practices, multi-tiered instruction, professional development, and data meeting implementation. Thanks to the hard work, collaboration, and dedication of our joint team, Bridgeport teachers saw significant improvements in their students’ literacy skills.


“The professional development we’ve received from HILL for Literacy is better than anything I’ve had in the last sixteen years.”

Michelle D’Auria
Kindergarten Teacher


Intensive Application of the HILL Solution

The Summer Institute for Literacy Leadership (SILL) is an initiative that integrated coursework and practicum experiences designed to support the development of structured literacy practices that are critical for addressing weaknesses in reading. Presented in partnership by HILL for Literacy, Crafting Minds, and The Grimes Reading Institute, SILL was sponsored by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and hosted by the Somerville Public School District during Summer 2019.

The institute focused on three critical areas:

  1. Building teacher background knowledge in the science of reading
  2. Coaching educators as they plan and deliver Tier 2 Structured Literacy routines
  3. Supporting teachers’ ability to create learning environments that foster intrinsic motivation.

Normally this work would be delivered throughout the school year, but for SILL it was adapted to a condensed, intensive setting that trained 20 teachers across four districts over a 4-week period. With coaching from our institute staff, they taught 33 students (83% English Language Learners, on an IEP, or both) in grades 1-5 which resulted in impressive gains across all measures of phonemic awareness, decoding, and oral reading fluency.

“A student was going to be in the 6th grade in the fall…he said, ‘I’ve been trying to learn to read for two years, and I can’t.’ Watching him use these strategies to not just decode but to read with some fluency was extraordinarily powerful.”
Michael Arlington, M.Ed.

Special Educator

Closing the Achievement Gap in Connecticut

One of our largest recent projects is the Connecticut K-3 Literacy Initiative, a statewide partnership along with Literacy HowCBER, and the CT State Department of Education. In the recent Nation’s Report Card on NEAP results, Connecticut ranked as having one of the largest education achievement gaps in the country. This gap represents a disparity in the reading and mathematics skill levels of low-income and minority students with their peers. Funded through legislation developed by the General Assembly’s Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, the Connecticut K-3 Literacy Initiative (CK3LI) was created to train teachers and administrators in the best research-based literacy practices and to address the state’s achievement gap from the earliest grades.


“We’ve seen over the course of 4 years that percentages of students who are reading at grade level are more than doubled. We’ve also seen that the percentage of students that are performing significantly below grade level has been more than halved.”

Michael Coyne, Ph.D.
Professor of Educational Psychology
Neag School of Education
University of Connecticut

(Coyne, et. al, 2016)

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