U.S. Department of Education: Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program
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 in high-need local educational agencies and schools. The 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 as partners to improve literacy, distributing free books to children and their families, and offering high-quality literacy activities.
Many schools and districts across the Nation do not have school libraries that deliver high-quality literacy programming to children and their families. Additionally, many schools do not have qualified library media specialists and library facilities. Where facilities do exist, they often lack adequate books and other materials and resources. In many communities, high-need children have limited access to appropriate age- and grade-level reading material in their homes.
The IAL program supports the implementation of high-quality plans for childhood literacy activities and book distribution efforts that are supported by evidence of strong theory. Specific examples of activities are included in the RFP.
There are four competitive preference priorities for this competition:
- Competitive Preference Priority 1—Turning Around Persistently Lowest-Achieving Schools
- Competitive Preference Priority 2—Technology
- Competitive Preference Priority 3—Improving Early Learning Outcomes
- Competitive Preference Priority 4—Serving Rural LEAs
- LEAs and Consortia of LEAs: The estimated range of awards is $150,000-$700,000 with the average size anticipated to be $500,000. The Department of Education anticipates making 30 grants under this category.
- National Not-for-Profit (NNPs), Consortia of NNPs, and Consortia of NNPs and LEAs: The estimated range of awards is $3,000,000-$14,000,000 with the average size anticipated to be $4,500,000. The Department of Education anticipates making 1-4 grants under this category.
Eligibility: An applicant must be one of the following:
- a high-need LEA (see below);
- an National not-for-profit (NNP) that serves children and students within the attendance boundaries of one or more high-need LEAs;
- a consortium of NNPs that serves children and students within the attendance boundaries of one or more high-need LEAs;
- a consortium of high-need LEAs; or
- a consortium of one or more high-need LEAs and one or more NNPs that serve children and students within the attendance boundaries of one or more high-need LEAs.
A high need LEA is defined as an LEA in which at least 25 percent of the students aged 5–17 in the school attendance area of the LEA are from families with incomes below the poverty line, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates for school districts for the most recent income year. See this link to determine eligibility: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovapproaches-literacy/eligibility.html (a downloadable Excel file specific to New Mexico is at the bottom of the page).
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