An Alaskan Story


Empowered, Inspired, and Engaged for Success:

Alaska Embraces Evidence-Based Approaches to Literacy

“The Alaska Reading Specialist Endorsement program has changed my
life as a teacher and more importantly has changed the lives of my
students in becoming proficient readers.”

– Teacher

A LOOK BACK: The 2023 Alaska Science of Reading Symposium


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ON OCTOBER 5, 2017

Alaska State Board of Education reviewed and accepted 13
recommendations bundled as Alaska’s Education Challenge.


1. Amplify student learning 2. Ensure excellent educators 3.
Modernize the education system 4. Inspire Tribal and community
ownership of educational excellence 5. Promote safety and

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Reading and literacy are woven through the priorities outlined in
Alaska’s Education Challenge. The Alaska Reads Act, signed into
law in June 2022, is focused on supporting all students to read at
grade level by the end of third grade.

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Region 16 is working with Alaska’s Department of Education and
Early Development (DEED) to provide capacity-building services
outlined in Alaska’s Strategic Reading Plan by:

“Through the use of the Alaska’s Reading Playbook and LETRS I have
learned step by step the progression of teaching a child to read,
along with simple assessments, gathering data, and using effective
reading strategies and teaching tools to drive my explicit direct

– Teacher


This section highlights the collective work of Region 16 and DEED
to improve literacy in Alaska.

Region16 logo

Click on the + to read more information.

Honoring the students, families, and communities of
Alaska, Region 16 and DEED co-developed resources
uniquely designed for Alaska’s education context.
Teachers who participate in the professional learning
become a part of a supportive network and feel
connected to each other across the remoteness of

“We wanted to create a network, but I didn’t realize
how strong it was going to be. The teachers have
friends now across the state that they can call and
say, ‘Can you help me with this?’ or ‘How do I apply
this?'” – Region 16 staff

All of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that
these sessions were a productive use of their time in
the areas of Phonological Awareness & Phonics
(100% of respondents); Phonics & Fluency (100% of

  • Training has covered 100% of Alaska’s school

  • 15 cohorts of 40 teachers have participated in
    each Science of Reading live training cohort

  • Three Science of Reading symposiums gathered 3000
    participants in-person, 500+ online

  • 1615 educators have participated in six half-day
    training workshops

These sessions were a productive use of my time

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The majority of respondents were very or moderately
confident being able to apply the knowledge they’ve
gained to the areas of Phonological Awareness &
Phonics (99% of respondents); Phonics & Fluency
(99% of respondents); and Vocabulary &
Comprehension (88% of respondents).

How confident do you feel in being able to apply the
knowledge you’ve gained?


Region 16 is developing a companion guide to the
Alaska Reading Playbook focused on applying
evidence-based literacy approaches to teaching Alaska
Native languages in schools. Working with Alaska
Native speakers, the playbook will hone in on the
specific types of language originating from 21
languages spoken in Alaska.

“It’s about stewarding those relationships to
sustain the work … learning to read and literacy,
language, bilingual, multilingual, and language
revitalization as it relates to making sure every
student can read in a language, be a fulfilled human
being in a school system K through at least 12, but
in a deep way.” – Region 16 Director


“It is a well-rounded approach with a lot of touchstones, meaning
in-person training, online training, and cohorts within a
district. I do think that the approach to providing the training
was well thought out and provided lots of options for not only
districts, but also individual teachers.”

– Region 16 Steward


“AK hosts the products that we have built as a team
with DEED, in partnership to be able to help improve reading
across the state. That includes our Alaska Blueprint, Reading
Blueprint, our literacy plan, the Champions of Literacy, and our
Alaska Reading Playbook. That is the place where we’ve been
hosting a lot of our major resources that get out to our districts
and to different stakeholders.”

– Region 16 Staff


The contents of this digital impact story were developed under a
grant from the Department of Education. However, the contents do
not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of
Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal
government. This work has been created in partnership with the
Region 16 Comprehensive Center.