Federal Grants to Accompany Reading Programs Literacy has emerged as an important component of President Bush’s educational policy. Bush’s Reading Initiative—the Early Reading First and Reading First programs—will result in grant opportunities to school districts, and speech-language pathologists could play a key role in the programs. Language problems are both a cause and a consequence of ... Policy Analysis
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Policy Analysis  |   March 01, 2002
Federal Grants to Accompany Reading Programs
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Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / Policy Analysis
Policy Analysis   |   March 01, 2002
Federal Grants to Accompany Reading Programs
The ASHA Leader, March 2002, Vol. 7, 3. doi:10.1044/leader.PA.07052002.3
The ASHA Leader, March 2002, Vol. 7, 3. doi:10.1044/leader.PA.07052002.3
Literacy has emerged as an important component of President Bush’s educational policy. Bush’s Reading Initiative—the Early Reading First and Reading First programs—will result in grant opportunities to school districts, and speech-language pathologists could play a key role in the programs.
Language problems are both a cause and a consequence of literacy problems in children and adolescents. Literacy is an essential prerequisite for academic achievement, social well-being, and lifelong opportunities. SLPs play a critical role in the development of literacy for children and adolescents with communication disorders, including those with severe disabilities. SLPs can help ensure that all children gain access to reading, writing, and spelling instruction—as well as be involved in early identification and assessment, intervention, and development of literacy programs.
The Early Reading First and Reading First programs are being administered under the recently reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Availability of grant applications will be announced over the next few months, with the first release date expected in April for the Early Reading First program. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) is administering the programs.
“This agency believes strongly that SLPs play an important role in language development in reading and literacy. That’s why ASHA was asked to collaborate with them on this initiative,” said Catherine Clarke, ASHA’s director of education and regulatory advocacy.
The Early Reading First program—a grant initiative that will receive $75 million per year—will enhance reading readiness for children 3–5 years old in high-poverty areas and where a large number of students are not reading at grade level. ASHA leaders met with OESE head Susan Neuman in December to discuss ways ASHA can assist with this initiative. As a result, four ASHA members were named to a panel of experts formed by OESE to discuss the Early Reading First program and comment on the grant application packet being developed.
The Reading First program authorizes $900 million during the current fiscal year. Based on the Title I state grant formula, the program would help states and local education agencies establish scientific, research-based reading programs for all children in kindergarten through third grade. States must apply to the Department of Education for the money. Once a state receives the funds, it will establish a competitive grant process for programs. SLPs will serve as critical members of the team that implements the grant-funded program. The Reading First funds likely will not be available on the local level until summer or early fall.
For more information, contact Clarke by email at cclarke@asha.org or through the Action Center at 800-498-2071, ext. 4159.
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March 2002
Volume 7, Issue 5