The Early Literacy Grant (ELG) is literacy focused funding for eligible schools serving our most at-risk populations in grades Kindergarten through third grade. These funds support current literacy goals and initiatives of the school to increase literacy proficiency of students.
Early Literacy Grant Timeline
August: Amended Early Literacy Grant Awards are submitted to the State Board of Education for Approval.
November: Early Literacy Grant Awards reach LEAs.
June: All schools submit the Annual Report.
The Early Literacy Grant Program originated during the 2017-2018 academic year with an $8 million appropriation from the legislature. This program was designed to be administered to schools with at least a 90% free and reduced lunch population and funds were to be used for K-3 literacy programs and full-day Kindergarten. It originally allowed for participating schools to receive available funding throughout a three-year grant cycle provided all requirements were met. At this time there were 242 eligible schools, of which 175 schools elected to participate. Year two of the grant began in the 2018-2019 academic year and a $12 million appropriation from the legislature was included for all 242 eligible schools. To comply with the legislation and maintain the integrity of the grant program for the participating schools, the eligibility list of schools from the previous academic year were used to determine the funding for the next academic year. Moving forward, eligibility will be determined on an annual basis provided the continuation of funding. Because the Early Literacy Grant is an entitlement program, there is no application required for participation. However, each school that receives Early Literacy Grant funds is required to submit an Annual Report by June 1st of each calendar year.
The report must include information related to the following:
Summary of the school’s funded activities
The school’s progress toward achievement goals
Specific findings on grant-funded strategies and activities
The level of effectiveness in improving reading proficiency
While both the Early Literacy Grant and Move On When Reading address K-3 literacy, they are separate endeavors. All schools with K-3 students are required to submit Move On When Reading literacy plans according to the legislated timeline, even if they are also receiving the Early Literacy Grant.
The Early Literacy Grant was renewed with twelve million dollars in funding for the fiscal year 2022. Per the legislation, schools are eligible to receive funding by meeting the following criteria:
Serve kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and/or third-grade students
Have 90% or more of their students eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch
Eligible schools are determined based upon the claim data from October 2019 as reported to the ADE Health and Nutrition Division by each LEA. This list was cross-referenced with the AzEDS Student Level and Free and Reduced Lunch data from the 2019-2020 school year to ensure all schools were captured. The use of 2019 data helps account for discrepancies due to changes in the 2020-2021 school year due to COVID.
Schools that meet the criteria and will receive funding will be notified in August, with funds delivered to budgets in October/November. Additional notifications will be sent in the Spring as a reminder to complete the annual report due on June 1. Please see Funding and Usage for more information on how to use ELG Funds.
ELG funding amounts to, on average, $150.00 per K-3 student per school
ELG funding is allotted at the school level and may not be used for non-eligible schools in the same district/charter system
ELG funding is to be used to support all day kindergarten and/or K-3 reading.
Similar to Move On When Reading (MOWR) funding, ELG funding can be used in any of the following large buckets:
K-3 Reading: Staffing
K-3 Reading: Instructional Materials
This includes curricula, materials such as a reading table, and/or technology used to support reading.
K-3 Reading: Assessment Materials
K-3 Reading: Professional Development
Because final funding amounts are determined by ADM, ELG funding has typically been provided in one payment to schools in Oct/Nov of the school year.
Please note that the funding amounts listed in the eligibility document are ESTIMATES to provide you with a ballpark of FY22 funding. The final amounts will be determined and provided in October.
Funds are included in the M&O Budget typically denoted in ‘Other State Funds’
The ELG does allow carryover of funds for one year.
In 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act replaced No Child Left Behind. ESSA empowers states to better identify and support the needs of their schools. Beginning in 2017-2018, the K-3 reading programs used by schools must meet the ESSA criteria for being evidence-based. To receive MOWR and any federal funding (Title 1, etc.) programs must meet one of the top three tiers of evidence (Strong, Moderate, or Promising).
**For more information on ESSA, including videos and other guidance, please visit the MOWR for Administrators page, and go to the blue bar titled "ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act)".
Previous ELG reports are shared below as a reference: