Literacy Programs

  • Description
  • Funding History
  • Proposals

The Literacy Programs line item provides competitive grant funds to support projects for literacy planning, instruction, professional development, and student assessment in districts with student skill gaps. These grants support efforts focused on early literacy (Pre-K through 3rd grade) as well as adolescent literacy (4th-12th grade).

Creating a strong foundation for literacy is critical to provide all young people across the Commonwealth a chance to become engaged learners and critical thinkers. Many positive outcomes later in life are linked to literacy early on. These linkages point to the importance of students successfully learning to read in the early grades and in gaining fluency with more complex materials throughout their education across all subjects, including English Language Arts.

In the 2013-2014 school year, the literacy line item provided funding for literacy projects in 368 schools serving 105,850 students, over ten percent of students across the state.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Office of Literacy has identified four priority areas for literacy projects. According to their 2014 legislative report, these focus areas are:

1. Piloting and providing commentary on Department-developed model literacy curriculum units and performance assessments;

2. Designing and implementing innovative summer programs that build content knowledge and strengthen literacy through reading, writing, speaking, listening, using community and cultural resources in science, the humanities, and the arts;

3. Providing intensive professional development for teachers and administrators on reading, analyzing, and writing about complex grade-level texts and developing academic vocabulary; and

4. Writing or revising district literacy plans to reflect the shifts in the 2011 Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for the English Language Arts and Literacy.

Funding for Literacy Programs (7010-0033) was reduced from $2.2M to $1.6M through a mid-year cut of $580,000 to the FY 2017 budget. Funding for the Bay State Reading Institute (7010-0020) was reduced from $400,000 to $133,000 through a mid-year cut of $267,000 to the FY 2017 budget.

Updated December 2016

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