by Jeremy Craig
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Georgia State University with a five-year, $10 million grant to establish a new research center that will support research focusing on ways to improve adult literacy in the United States.
The grant from the Institute of Educational Sciences allows GSU to establish the Center for the Study of Adult Literacy, where researchers will study the underlying cognitive and motivational issues of adults who struggle with reading.
The research center will also work on developing and piloting a reading intervention to improve literacy among this population.
"Compared to many areas in education, adult literacy has had comparatively little funding and little rigorous research," said Daphne Greenberg, associate professor of educational psychology and special education, and principal investigator of the project.
"There is a need to understand the reading related strengths and weaknesses of adults who have difficulty with reading, and how to best help them increase their reading abilities," she continued.
According to the most recent National Assessment of Adult Literacy, approximately 43 percent of adults in the United States read at basic or below basic levels of literacy. Approximately 44 percent of adults who read at below basic levels have incomes below the national poverty threshold. In addition, Greenberg noted that low adult literacy can translate into poor intergenerational transfer of literacy from adults to youth.
The primary focus of the new research center is on adults reading at the 3rd to 8th grade levels, examining impediments to reading and developing and evaluating a reading intervention to improve literacy.
Georgia State investigators include Greenberg; Lee Branum-Martin of the Department of Psychology; Chris Oshima of the Department of Educational Policy Studies; and Robin Morris, associate provost for strategic initiatives and innovation and Regents' Professor of psychology.
Other participating institutions include the University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee; The Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada; the American Institutes for Research, Washington, D.C.; and the Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation and Statistics, Houston, Texas.
For more information on the Center for the Study of Adult Literacy, visit http://ies.ed.gov/funding/grantsearch/details.asp?ID=1343.