Districts, Organizations Get $26M in Federal Grants to Boost Literacy

Associate Editor

The federal government is awarding more than $26 million to 29 grantees “to develop and improve high-quality literacy programs in high-needs schools,” the U.S. Department of Education announced on Thursday.

The grants will support “high-quality programs that are research-based” to help pre-K-12 grade children, according to the department’s announcement. They will be administered as part of the Innovative Approaches to Literacy initiative.

The top four awardees in 2016 provide services beyond one district or state, as does the West Kentucky Educational Cooperative, which received $279,000.

All of the remaining recipients are from individual districts or schools in Arkansas, California, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas.

2016 Top 10 ‘Innovative Approaches to Literacy’ Grantees

Amount Recipient State
$5.53 million Three Rivers Education Foundation NM
$3.18 million Kentucky Educational Development Corporation KY
$2.58 million Reading & Math, Inc. MN
$1.92 million Commonlit Inc. DC
$989,000 Newport Independent district KY
$750,000 Philadelphia school district PA
$750,000 Owsley County schools KY
$750,000 Sacramento City schools CA
$735,000 Bokoshe school district OK
$718,000 Grayson County board of education KY

The education department said the funding will be focused on:

  • Increasing access to a wide range of literacy sources that prepare young children to read.
  • Providing high-quality childhood literacy activities that, for instance, encourage parents to read books frequently with their children, and teach parents how to use literacy resources effectively.
  • Strengthening literacy development across academic content areas by “providing a wealth of literacy resources spanning a range of both complexity and content” to effectively support reading and writing.
  • Offering appropriate educational interventions for all readers with support from school libraries or national not-for-profit organizations.
  • Fostering collaboration and joint professional development opportunities for teachers, school leaders and school librarians.
  • Providing resources to support literacy-rich academic and enrichment activities and services.

The Newport, Ky. district website indicates that it will use the infusion of federal dollars”to provide free take-home books for birth  through four-year-old youth and K-12 students” across the city. The district also plans to increase its school library book collections, create 40 internet access “hot-spots” in the community, provide family-literacy activities and “acquire a host of other literacy and technology resources.”

The 19 other districts or schools that will receive the awards are listed here.

Since 2012, the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program has made 81 grants to support efforts to improve literacy programming.

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