Reading First

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CFDA Number: 84.357
Program Type: Formula Grants


This program focuses on putting proven methods of early reading instruction in classrooms. Through Reading First, states and districts receive support to apply scientifically based reading research—and the proven instructional and assessment tools consistent with this research—to ensure that all children learn to read well by the end of third grade. The program provides formula grants to states that submit an approved application. SEAs award subgrants to eligible LEAs on a competitive basis. SEAs fund those proposals that show the most promise for raising student achievement and for successful implementation of reading instruction, particularly at the classroom level. Only programs that are founded on scientifically based reading research are eligible for funding through Reading First. Funds are allocated to states according to the proportion of children age 5 to 17 who reside within the state and who are from families with incomes below the poverty line. The Department is authorized to reserve 0.5 percent of Reading First funds for awards to the outlying areas (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and 0.5 percent to be awarded to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Department also is authorized to reserve up to 2.5 percent for national activities and program evaluation and $5 million for information dissemination activities.


This program provides assistance to states and districts to establish scientifically based reading programs for students enrolled in kindergarten through grade three. Funds support increased professional development to ensure that all teachers have the skills they need to teach these programs effectively. The program also supports the use of screening and diagnostic tools and classroom-based instructional reading assessments to measure how well students are reading and to monitor their progress.

Last Modified: 05/05/2014