About Literacy First

Literacy First Student

"In the 21st century, the best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education. And in this country, the success of our children cannot depend more on where they live than on their potential."

—President Obama, "State of the Union," January 27, 2010


We place highly-trained AmeriCorps members in low-income schools to deliver intensive and effective tutoring to advance K-2 students to grade level in reading by 3rd grade.


Every child in Central Texas is a successful reader before third grade, setting them on a path of excellence in school and in life.


Dana Center director Dr. Uri Treisman founded Literacy First (formerly ACE: A Community for Education) in 1994 in collaboration with colleagues at The University of Texas at Austin and Dr. Gay Su Pinnell of Ohio State University. From its inception, Literacy First has been an effective public-private partnership that brings together the resources of AmeriCorps, the University, and the local community to meet a pressing need for improved reading achievement among low-income students.

Our Location

Literacy First is a program of the Charles A. Dana Center, an organized research unit of the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin but does not receive operating funds from UT. Literacy First is supported by individuals and grants from foundations, corporations, and government bodies. Literacy First benefits greatly from being part of a major research university whose resources, including researchers and infrastructure support, help us deliver a high-quality, effective early literacy intervention program.

The Dana Center supports educators, education leaders, and policymakers in building an education system worthy of all our children.



Map showing school in which Literacy First is present