New Federal Literacy Grant Coming in 2019

Grace Stopani
Grace Stopani
13 May
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In 2019, a new federal grant is coming! The Comprehensive Literacy State Development Program (CLSD) is a $190 million competitive grant for State Education Agencies, replacing the previous Striving Readers program. State applications are due June 3, 2019. Between 5-10 states will be funded with an average award size of $29 million.  [For information on the 11 states that previously won the Striving Readers grant, read this blog post.]

Awarded states will hold their own grant competitions for school districts, likely in Winter 2019/20.  Eligible districts will be those serving a high percentage of high-need schools such as high poverty, high percentage of students reading or writing below grade level, and those with CSI/TSI schools.  [For information on CSI/TSI schools, view this site.]

Comprehensive Literacy State Development Program

The 2019 iteration of this program has two competitive preferences for States that are worth up to 10 extra points in an application where the maximum score for selection criteria is 100 points:

  • Promoting Family Literacy – providing families with evidence-based strategies for promoting literacy such as access to books or other physical or digital materials or content about how to support their child’s reading development, or providing family literacy activities
  • Empowering Families and Individuals to Choose a High-Quality education that meets their unique needs increase the proportion of students with access to educational choice for students in communities served by rural schools, students with disabilities, English learners and students who are or were previously in foster care.

Distribution of funds. Despite the added 2019 program emphasis on early childhood literacy, the grant still has the previous Striving Reader requirements for awarding funds:

  • 15% minimum for children from birth through kindergarten entry
  • 40% minimum for kindergarten through grade 5
  • 40% minimum for grades 6 through 12.

What will be funded? Next winter, when awarded States hold grant competitions among school districts to distribute funds, allowable project activities include funding literacy coaches, providing intensive, supplemental, accelerated, and explicit intervention and support in reading and writing for children whose literacy skills are below grade level and offering high-quality professional development.  

One last change in the 2019 grant competition – it expands the allowable evidence-based strategies for promoting literacy beyond just Strong and Moderate to now include Promising Evidence in the definition.  [For information on ESSA’s evidence categories, read this blog post.]

Evidence-Based Interventions Under ESSA




Grace Stopani is the Director of Funding for Pearson K-12 Learning. With over 16 years at Pearson, she is passionate about helping schools navigate the turbulent waters of education funding and federal education law.

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