Florida Center for Reading Research forms partnership to establish National Center for Reading in India

The Florida Center for Reading Research, University of St. Francis and education officials in India are working together to create a new national reading center in India.

The Florida Center for Reading Research at Florida State University and University of St. Francis have partnered with education officials in India to establish the National Center for Reading Interventions and Research (NCRIR) in India.

The new center will bring together educators from around India and provide them with career development opportunities focused on teaching reading. FCRR researchers — Associate Professor of Social Work Yaacov Petscher, Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders Hugh Catts, and Assistant Professor of Social Work John Mathias, will work with NCRIR to develop, train, promote and disseminate evidence-based reading research through academic exchanges and joint research activities.

“NCRIR is the result of a multiyear exploration among these institutions to find ways to better support and localize the science of reading in India,” Petscher said. “To leverage decades of research in the science of reading at FCRR and engage in a translational science process with the NCERT to improve reading for children in India is both a humbling and wonderful opportunity. We also have the chance to learn about how the science of reading is understood and implemented throughout India, which can both inform and advance our work here at FCRR.”

FCRR researchers are working closely with the National Council of Educational Research and Teaching. NCERT is an autonomous organization of the Government of India that assists and advises the Central and State Governments on policies and programs for improvement in school education.

Leveraging FCRR and USF’s research expertise, NCERT will help bolster NCRIR’s capacity to conduct research that can inform improved literacy outcomes. NCRIR will establish a cooperative academic research agenda and strengthen ties with reading research-based institutions. Research activities will focus on better understanding reading development and difficulty and on the development of instruction and interventions to support reading success for all learners. NCRIR will also promote the development and use of assessment tools for early screening and identification of reading difficulties.

Professor Gowramma I.P., Department of Education Head for the Regional Institute of Education at NCERT, sees promise in the alliance.

“The constructive process of this academic engagement through mutual consultation is to see that every child in school matter to us and we are committed to give them the happiness that reading brings,” she said.

Faculty from FCRR are excited about the partnership and working with their colleagues abroad. This is not the center’s first foray into the international arena.

In 2017, researchers Laura Steacy and Yaacov Petscher from FCRR partnered with FSU’s Learning Systems Institute and Bayero University-Kano to establish the Nigeria Centre for Reading Research and Development. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Centre held its first conference in 2019 and continues to produce research and engage stakeholders across Nigeria to support children’s reading development. NCRIR will hold similar joint seminars, conferences and workshops in India.

“The Florida Center for Reading Research has a long history of collaborating with scholars around the world to conduct research, produce innovations and engage educators, policymakers, and other stakeholders” said FCRR Director Nicole Patton Terry. “Through partnerships like these with our international colleagues, FCRR will continue to learn and grow from diverse knowledge, perspectives, and insights about reading. Doing so absolutely helps us advance our vision of improving reading through science.”