Believe and Read

Believe and Read seeks to transform the lives of thousands of Catholic elementary students by bringing a best-in-class literacy program to their schools. Powered by Catholic Schools Center of Excellence, in partnership with Groves Academy and Cretin-Derham Hall, our goal is to ensure every student is at or above grade level reading – because we believe that God calls every child to greatness. MMSA is one of 33 Catholic schools in this Archdiocese to participate in this program.
Watch this short video to see the impact this program has on our students.


Almost twenty percent of K-3 Catholic school students in the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul* (compared to 60% of total K-3 elementary students nationally) ** are not reading at grade level. We want to bring that number to zero.

  • When students can’t read, they have trouble learning. The majority of students who fail to master reading by 3rd grade either drop out or finish high school with dismal lifetime earning potentials.***
  • With the support of Believe and Read, teachers can focus on how to become the best possible deliverers of thoughtfully arranged, comprehensive, sequential curriculum that embeds standards, the science of reading, and instructional shifts.
  • A bounty of scientific research tells us that kids cannot simply learn to read through exposure to books and story time. Rather, they need to be taught how to decode words. It’s a skill that requires a strong foundation in phonics — being able to connect sounds with letters.
  • Believe and Read helps schools implement a more systematic approach to covering phonics in the early grades. 


CSCOE is pioneering Believe and Read, an initiative that brings Groves Academy’s transformative literacy methodology to Catholic elementary schools to improve students’ reading skills. All students who participate in Believe and Read will benefit.

  • Believe and Read is based on 50 years of research and practical application on what really works.
  • The program is designed to improve and enhance the reading teaching methods currently being used in 2 schools.
  • Literacy coaches from Groves work with teachers over a three-year period using a “train the trainer” model. The result is sustainability and consistency across participating Catholic elementary schools.
  • Groves has been recognized twice for ‘Excellence in Education’ by the U.S. Department of Education. They have taken their successful evidence-based method that benefits students with learning disabilities and applied it to all students through their Institute of Professional Learning.
  • In addition to building kids’ vocabulary and comprehension skills through their regular reading lesson, teachers are tasked with incorporating a daily 30-minute phonics-based lesson to ensure that students are grasping the reading rules they’ll need to one day achieve fluency.
  • Many of these lesson plans are scripted, so teachers know exactly how and when to introduce leach letter, along with its sounds. And how to build up to words from there.
  • Teachers also get weekly check-ins with a literacy coach from Groves Academy, along with support tracking student progress through routine assessments.

Why It Matters


Our goal is to eliminate illiteracy in all 79 Catholic elementary schools within the Archdiocese. Literacy will become a competitive advantage for our schools.

• The program was piloted in three local Catholic schools: Holy Spirit (St. Paul), Our Lady of Grace (Edina), and St. Peter Claver (St. Paul). The results were significant. Most students were at or above grade level by the second grade.
• Building on the success of the pilot, 30 additional CSCOE schools have been selected by CSCOE to implement the Believe and Read program. We are fortunate to be one of them.
• Research shows that effective literacy program can enhance not only a student’s elementary years, but also set them up for success in high school and beyond.

*NWEA (MAP) testing data
** National Assessment of Educational Progress (2017)
*** Annie E. Casey Foundation (2010)

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