(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – The United States Department of Education (USED) awarded the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) a 3-year, $24.9 million grant to support the development of pre-literacy skills, reading and writing among Kentucky’s children.

The Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy (SRCL) Discretionary Grant Program is designed to create a comprehensive approach to advance literacy in children, including those with limited-English-proficiency and those with disabilities, from birth to grade 12.

“Literacy, especially in the early years, is a priority if we are to close the achievement gap,” Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt said. “Our work in this area is critical. Literacy is a gateway skill. It is imperative that each of our students learns to read well at an early age, so that they can read to learn as they move through school and ultimately into the workplace.”

Kentucky’s proposal, Kentucky Comprehensive Literacy – A Framework for Literacy to Unify and Engage Networks of Teachers (KyCL:FLUENT), aims to refine and strengthen existing professional learning supports and systems for literacy development across the Commonwealth. Using the Kentucky Literacy Plan and a peer-review grant process, KDE will assist schools and agencies to develop and implement comprehensive literacy plans. Objectives focus on gains in oral language skills for 4-year-olds, Kindergarten readiness, increased reading proficiency at all school levels and increased content proficiency at the secondary level.

The SRCL project will:

  • use an established, high-quality independent peer-review sub-grant process to prioritize awards to eligible, high-need school districts;
  • limit sub-grantees to those serving clear birth to grade 12 feeder patterns; and
  • provide a slate of state-supported and/or endorsed initiatives that are aligned to Kentucky’s state literacy plan and meet moderate or strong evidence standards.

In December, the sub-grant process will open to Kentucky school districts with large percentages of high-need students. With a requirement for plans to link from early childhood providers to elementary schools, the process will require strong commitments from local school districts and early learning partners and will require their inclusion in state, district and local literacy teams.

The SRCL project will serve 200,000 young children and students from birth to grade 12; 14,000 Kentucky teachers and early learning specialists; and 600 sites in 45 public school districts.

More information is available on the U.S. Department of Education’s Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program webpage.