One in five are affected by dyslexia.


According to the California Department of Education, 90% of cases of students displaying characteristics of dyslexia can be remediated with early intervention.


It costs four times as much to deliver interventions to remediate after the third grade.

Santa Barbara Unified School District has identified literacy as one of its top three priorities. Each year students enter Santa Barbara classrooms who have extremely low reading proficiency.

Until the third grade, students spend much of their time in the classroom learning how to read. After that point, students are expected to rely on their reading skills to continue learning. Since classroom time is not typically dedicated to learning how to read in later grades, students who are not reading at grade level continue to be at a disadvantage for all subjects throughout their academic careers without intervention.

In 2017, the Santa Barbara Unified School District began a pilot program at Harding Elementary to help students with low reading proficiency get back on track. The program used research-based methods in a small group instructional setting to help students decode written words.

After just a few short months, the Harding reading intervention pilot program yielded impressive results. Every student’s knowledge of phonics rules increased, and mastery of sight words went from the lowest scoring student identifying zero words increased to 20 words, and the highest-scoring student identifying 150 words increased to 550 words. The Literacy Project expanded to include Monroe, McKinley, and Roosevelt elementary schools.

The program has now pivoted and is training SB Unified educators in the Fisher & Frey Professional Development Program, which utilizes methods championed by Doug Fisher and Nancy Frey, two experts in literacy instruction. By training more educators in these literacy intervention techniques, SB Unified will provide more students who struggle with reading with essential intervention.


Read about how The Literacy Project is making an impact in our community.

Santa Barbara Education Foundation Raises Over $65,000 for Student Literacy

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On Wednesday, September 29, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation hosted the Love of Literacy Luncheon to highlight the need for support of students struggling with reading in the Santa Barbara…

How Do Students Struggling with Reading Learn Remotely?

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Just because schools have gone remote doesn't mean that the programs that we support are on hold. Let's look at how SB Unified programs have pivoted and what it means for our students.…

HOPE Awards raises $42,000 for the Literacy Project

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By Marissa Garcia, Santa Barbara Education Foundation Students with reading differences need early intervention to continue their academic success. Two years ago, the Santa Barbara Unified School District addressed these…

Paul Orfalea: Life lessons from an unconventional learner

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By Marissa Garcia, Santa Barbara Education Foundation I before e except after c. The k in “knot” is silent. Flip the letter b and it becomes d, while they look…