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.
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 are often under-resourced and lack adequate books and other materials. In many communities, high-need children and students 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 scientifically valid research.
READ-DC: Reducing Educational Achievement Differences in the District of Columbia
Educational Solutions, LLC recently wrote an Innovative Approaches to Literacy grant on behalf of Eagle Academy Public Charter School. The grant, titled Reducing Educational Achievement Differences in the District of Columbia (READ-DC), was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. This two year project will run from October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2014. READ-DC is a partnership between D.C. Public Libraries, Eagle Academy Public Charter School (EAGLE), Educational Solutions, LLC (ES), Youth Policy Institute (YPI), District of Columbia Public Schools-Ballou High School, General Dynamics, Washington Navy Yard, and the U.S. Department of Transportation designed to create a Center of Instructional Excellence (CIE) that serves between 575-600 culturally diverse, at-risk children per year in 26 classrooms located in the neediest Ward in Washington, D.C. (Ward 8). EAGLE has been selected for this project because their student populations and programs demonstrate substantial need and potential for improvement.
READ-DC will use a response to intervention (RTI) model designed to identify and support students at-risk in the realms of emergent or early literacy. Support for these at-risk students will occur in classrooms, homes, and tutorial sessions; and will be supported by purchase and distribution of literacy materials and training of key stakeholders (parents, teachers, volunteers, and administrators). READ-DC’s overarching goal is to build an innovative and sustainable literacy program based on scientifically based reading research (SBRR). This sustainable literacy program will enable a Ward 8 school, and the community as a whole, to close literacy achievement gaps by identifying at-risk students as early as possible, training teachers and parents in key literacy realms, providing supportive materials, using technology, implementing volunteer programs to support needy students, and differentiating instruction for diverse learners.