The New and Very Different Striving Readers
Comprehensive Literacy Program
by Barbara Cambridge, Director, NCTE's Washington, DC, Office
The current Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program is very different from the previous version of Striving Readers. The Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program IS NOT the same as the original Striving Readers projects, which were completed and reported on in 2010 and were not refunded or used as the format for the new Program. The Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program that is in effect now IS a program that includes state literacy teams comprised of persons representing a wide array of literacy stakeholders who write their own state literacy plans. Through applications, districts receive 90% of the federal funding of the program for district-generated projects that serve local needs and are consonant with the state-generated literacy plans.
Recent funds for the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program were distributed in two ways. First, every state, in what is called formula funding, could apply for funds to constitute a state literacy team. 46 states applied for and received such funds. Second, every state, in competitive funding, could apply for funds to implement their own state literacy plan. Because of the small amount of money available, six states were chosen to receive grants. The Department of Education is currently supplying technical assistance to those states but is also connecting all states with literacy plans to share information about their implementation activities. Descriptions of the programs in the funded states and contact persons within the Department of Education are available on the Department of Education website.
Future funding for the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program as a program does not appear explicitly in the President’s version of the FY13 budget, the next budget to be determined by the federal government. Elements from the Program, such as connecting writing and reading instruction and supporting literacy education across content areas, may be fundable under categories in the proposed budget; however, the Program itself is not mentioned. Although negotiations within the federal government may yield future funding for the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program, that outcome is unknowable at this time. As stipulated in its 2012 educational policy platform NCTE will continue to advocate for a comprehensive approach to literacy instruction and learning that is the heart of the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program.