April 2, 2004, Extra Credit
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April 2, 2004

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Helping Minnesota's Children Learn To Read

The No Child Left Behind Reading First program provides grants to states to help schools and local school districts improve children's reading achievement through scientifically proven methods of instruction. Recently, the state of Minnesota announced sub-grants for the Reading First program, providing nearly $9.5 million in federally funded grants to 29 schools in 19 districts across the state. The following are excerpts from a recent article in the Brooklyn Park Sun Post highlighting how two schools are benefiting from their Reading First grant awards:

"Schools in Brooklyn Center District 286 and Osseo Area District 279 have been named recipients of three-year 'Reading First' grants from the state. Earle Brown Elementary in Brooklyn Center and Fair Oaks Elementary in Brooklyn Park will use the money for specific programs aimed at making sure students can read by the time they reach third grade."

"Earle Brown Elementary will receive $454,365 in each of the three years, for a total of about $1.5 million. ... 'A school needed commitment from at least 85 percent of its teachers to apply for the grant,' [principal Randy] Koch said. 'Earle Brown had 100 percent commitment, which says a lot for the staff and their commitment to excellence.' ... The money will ... pay for a literacy coordinator, four University of Minnesota staff members, 500 books for each classroom kindergarten through third grade, and possibly a new reading curriculum."

"Fair Oaks will receive $375,705 for each of three years. ... The grant will be used for staff development, looking at research, and implementing the research. [Principal Wendy] Biallas said that about 300 students will be directly helped by the reading grant in the next year, but she hopes the impact will reach beyond those students. 'We are hoping they will benefit throughout their career because of focused efforts of the teaching,' she said."

"The Reading First initiative is part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The federal grant program makes grants to the individual states, and states pass the grants on to local schools."

The complete text of this article is available online at:

The Minnesota Department of Education's press release on the Reading First sub-grants is available at:


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NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

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Last Modified: 09/06/2007