Arizona Announces Grant Awards to Improve Literacy for Underserved Children

May 21, 2021

State Strategies

PHOENIX - The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) has selected 23 subgrantees for the $20 million federal Comprehensive Literacy State Development Grant (CLSD) to improve reading skills for students most in need of additional supports. The subgrantees serve more than 13,000 children across eight Arizona counties and will receive funding to implement evidence-based strategies that drive higher language and literacy achievement for underserved children from birth through high school.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded Arizona the CLSD grant in September 2020. The grant spans five years at $4 million per year.

Arizona’s CLSD grant project — developed through the collaboration of ADE, Read On Arizona, and First Things First — targets children living in poverty, English learners, children with disabilities, Native American students, and those reading well below grade level, reflecting the federal grant program’s emphasis on supporting underserved children.

The 23 subgrantees serve schools and early learning programs at 40 sites and will help advance literacy outcomes by: expanding professional development in the science of reading for more than 750 early care and PreK-12 educators; high-quality language and literacy strategies to support struggling readers; the purchase of evidence-based curricular and reading intervention materials; the hiring of literacy coaches to build teacher capacity; and strengthening community collaborations that drive higher language and literacy achievement for children from birth through high school.

“I am thrilled to see this investment come to life in Arizona’s schools. This critical funding will bring needed resources to Arizona’s students, teachers and schools,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman. “It’s more important than ever that we support all learners, particularly those who are struggling with their literacy skills.”

“Children develop foundational language and pre-literacy skills well before kindergarten,” said Marilee Dal Pra, CEO of First Things First. “It is exciting to see the CLSD grants building on local collaborations to ensure that early educators get the training they need to engage young minds and foster language development and a love of reading in our youngest learners.”

“Read On Arizona is excited to see such strong evidence-based solutions toward improving early literacy reflected in the 23 awardees,” said Terri Clark, Arizona Literacy Director. “Awardees range from the Yuma Elementary school district who will use a literacy coaching model to support their K-3 teachers in the science of reading to Make Way for Books in Pima County who will work with early learning sites to strengthen language and literacy development for our youngest learners.”

The full list of selected programs and schools can be found here:

About ADE
Equity for all students to achieve their full potential. This is the guiding vision of the Arizona Department of Education — the state agency tasked with overseeing Arizona's K-12 public education system. Our department, led by a publicly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, is comprised of more than 600 staff across four state offices working to serve Arizona's students, families, educators, and school communities.

About First Things First
First Things First is a voter-created, statewide organization that funds early education and health programs to help kids be successful once they enter kindergarten. Decisions about how those funds are spent are made by local councils staffed by community volunteers. To learn more, visit

About Read On Arizona
Read On Arizona is Arizona’s early literacy initiative — a statewide, public/private partnership of agencies, philanthropic organizations, and community stakeholders committed to improving language and literacy outcomes for children from birth through age eight, with strategic focus on school readiness and third-grade reading proficiency. The Read On Arizona advisory board consists of members from the founding partners —Arizona Department of Education, Arizona Community Foundation, First Things First, Helios Education Foundation, and Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, which provides backbone support — as well as the Arizona State Board of Education, the Governor’s Office of Education and several other philanthropic organizations and key literacy stakeholders. For more information, visit

Originally posted here.