At a new, state-of-the-art building at the University of Central Florida, students, parents and teachers will gather to address an issue that impacts billions of children and adults throughout the world: illiteracy.

The Morgridge International Reading Center, part of UCF’s College of Education, will serve as a resource for the art, craft and science of teaching reading. The building, which opened this week, aims to advance international literacy through research, collaboration and community involvement.

“The center serves as a hub where scholars, students, parents, educators and policy makers from every continent can–together–delve into challenges that keep so much of the world’s population from gaining command of the written and spoken word,” said Sandra Robinson, dean of the College of Education.

Though the center focuses on reading and literacy, it’s no library.

In fact, the center is equipped with innovative technologies that promote 21st Century-learning and endless educational possibilities.

Its high-tech capabilities include interactive white boards that can be used to teach lessons and video chat. The boards also are packed with educational software to educate teachers and students.

Another of the centers’ rooms features large projection screens capable of broadcasting content from across the globe. The content can be translated into different languages by interpreters located in another area of the facility.

Through the use of its technology and other resources, the center will help parents and teachers learn about the most successful approaches to helping children and adults become better readers. Researchers will discover and investigate evidence-based instructional practices, which will then be shared internationally to help eliminate illiteracy.

“UCF prides itself on being America’s leading partnership university, and this center will be a catalyst for partnerships with many types of researchers, scholars and organizations,” said UCF President John C. Hitt. “While this center has an international scope, its home is at UCF. Our students, faculty members and many Central Floridians will benefit from the resources offered here.”

The Morgridge International Reading Center is named after philanthropists John and Carrie Morgridge, whose $2.5 million donation helped bring the building to life. The couple became interested in early childhood literacy when their two children were young. Their passion for reading also seemed natural, especially because John Morgridge’s mother and grandmother were teachers.

“With the advances of technology, the Morgridge International Reading Center has the opportunity to participate in the transformation and innovation of mass customization and personalization of reading for all students,” said Carrie Morgridge.

To learn more about the center, watch UCF Reports: A High-Tech Hub for Reading, a video produced by UCF TV.