University of Minnesota
Driven to Discover


PRESS logoAimed at preparing all students to read by third grade, PRESS is a comprehensive approach to early literacy developed by the Minnesota Center for Reading Research (MCRR) in partnership with Minneapolis Schools, Minnesota Reading Corps, and the Target Corporation.

Driven by research-based approaches to literacy, PRESS incorporates quality core instruction, data-driven instructional decisions and interventions, expanded support for English Language Learners, and meaningful professional development to support systemic change.

University researchers will also investigate the effectiveness of these strategies to influence literacy objectives nationwide.

PRESS Core Infographic

PRESS Overview


Right now, nearly one in four 3rd graders in Minnesota is failing to reach basic levels of literacy (that’s 15,000 children each year).

The need to catch students up in reading is a priority across the nation. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 33 percent of 4th-grade students performed below Basic levels of reading in 2009.

Research shows that if students don't read proficiently by 3rd grade, odds are they will not catch up. The primary goal of PRESS is to eliminate this literacy gap among kids so that all students are reading proficiently by the end of third grade.

Target Giving

MCRR is partnering with the Target Corporation in bringing rich educational literacy resources to the six schools selected for PRESS. A significant portion of Target’s giving goes toward funding education, with a focus on helping more U.S. students read proficiently by the end of third grade. The Target Corporation is donating $6 million to fund PRESS and other district literacy programs over the next three years.

Reading Corps

MCRR is also partnering with Minnesota Reading Corps. Minnesota Reading Corps is a statewide initiative to help every Minnesota child become a successful reader.

These AmeriCorps members serve as one-on-one tutors within the schools to provide research-based interventions to students who are just below proficiency in reading. The members tutor each student daily for 20 minutes to build phonics, phonemic awareness, and fluency skills.


Big Five Reading Targets

The National Reading Panel (NRP) was formed in 1997 with the charge to assess the status of research-based knowledge on reading. NRP concluded that the best approach to reading instruction is one that incorporates explicit instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. PRESS uses this same evidence-based approach to literacy through quality core instruction supplemented with differentiated and individualized interventions based on student need. 

100% 3rd Grade

Because of the meaningful impact on students’ lives, the goal of PRESS is to have all students within the school sites reading proficiently by the end of the third grade.

A long-term goal of PRESS is to extend the model to others schools across the nation in years to come.

PRESS Schools for 2013-14

PRESS Resources

Visit the PRESS Resources section to review intervention protocols, assessment materials, and training videos.

Contact PRESS

Shona Burke, PRESS Project Coordinator | 612-626-6979

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Last modified on July 14, 2011.