The US Department of Education’s Office of Early Learning announced a new K-12 funding opportunity this week. The Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program supports high-quality programs designed to develop and improve literacy skills for children and students from birth through 12th grade within the attendance boundaries of high-need local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools. The U.S. Department of Education intends to support innovative programs that promote early literacy for young children, motivate older children to read, and increase student achievement by using school libraries, distributing free books to children and their families, and offering high-quality literacy activities.
The IAL program supports the implementation of high-quality plans for childhood literacy activities and book distribution efforts that are supported by at least one study that meets the definition of scientifically valid research.
- Proposed projects under the IAL program may include activities that:
- Increase access to a wide range of literacy resources (either print or electronic) that prepare young children to read, and provide learning opportunities to all participating students
- Provide high-quality childhood literacy activities with meaningful opportunities for parental engagement, including encouraging parents to read books often with their children in their early years of school and of life, and teaching parents how to use literacy resources effectively
- Strengthen literacy development across academic content areas by providing a wide range of literacy resources spanning a range of both complexity and content (including both literature and informational text) to effectively support reading and writing
- Offer appropriate educational interventions for all readers with support from school libraries or not-for-profit organizations
- Foster collaboration and joint professional development opportunities for teachers, school leaders, and school library personnel with a focus on using literacy resources effectively to support reading and writing and academic achievement
- Provide resources to support literacy-rich academic and enrichment activities and services aligned with State college- and career-ready academic content standards and the comprehensive statewide literacy plan (SLP)
Under Competitive Preference Priority number 3—Improving Early Learning Outcomes—reviewers give competitive preference to projects that are designed to improve school readiness and success for high-need children from birth through 3rd grade (or for any age group of high-need children within this range) through a focus on language and literacy development, including encouraging parents to read books often with their children in their early years of school and of life.
The Department of Education estimates that it will distribute 30 awards ranging from $150,000 to $750,000 to LEAs and one to four awards ranging from $3,000,000 to $14,000,000 to national, not-for-profit organizations.
IAL applications became available online on July 11. Applications are due August 10, 2012, and the deadline for intergovernmental review is October 9, 2012. The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) number is 84.215G.
For more information, visit the IAL webpage.