Lesley University has received a $3 million gift from Gay Su Pinnell through her charitable fund with The Columbus Foundation to endow a Dr. Gay Su Pinnell Fund for Reading Recovery and Literacy at Lesley and support the existing Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative within Lesley’s Graduate School of Education.

Lesley’s Center for Reading Recovery is one of 19 nationwide. Over the past three decades, the program has partnered with schools to provide high-quality reading instruction to more than 2.3 million first-graders in the lowest 20 percent of reading classes. It also offers professional development opportunities for educators and school leaders.

Pinnell’s connection to Lesley University includes a more than three-decade collaboration with Lesley professor Irene Fountas, founding director of Lesley’s Center for Reading Recovery. The two have co-written dozens of books and publications, including “Guided Reading,” which has been called revolutionary for reading instruction in the United States.

“Gay Su Pinnell’s gift will be transformative in helping Lesley to remain at the forefront of innovation in the human arts and literacy education. Her vision and close collaboration with Irene Fountas have had a tremendous impact on generations of Lesley-trained educators and their students. Educating teachers who can ‘crack the code’ of literacy to children who struggle in reading is at the core of Lesley’s social justice mission,” university President Janet L. Steinmayer said in a Dec. 18 press release.

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