The Texas Reading First grant is authorized under Title I, Part B, Subpart 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The purpose of these grant funds is to enable the selected eligible applicants to implement scientifically based reading programs that help all students achieve reading mastery by the end of the third grade. The amount to be awarded in Cycle 2 is approximately $39,000,000.
Reading First is designed to accomplish the following objectives:
- Provide assistance to state educational agencies and local educational agencies in establishing reading programs for students in Kindergarten through Grade 3 that are based on scientific research, to ensure that every student can read at grade level or above not later than the end of Grade 3.
- Through funding for scientifically research based professional development and technical assistance support, assist state educational agencies (SEAs) and local education agencies (LEAs) in preparing teachers in Grades K-3, and special education teachers in Grades K-12, to identify specific reading barriers facing their students and provide them with tools to effectively help their students learn to read.
- Provide assistance to state educational agencies and local educational agencies in selecting and administering valid and reliable screening, diagnostic and classroom-based instructional reading assessments.
- Provide assistance to state educational agencies and local educational agencies in selecting and/or developing effective instructional materials, programs, learning systems and strategies based on the five essential components of reading – phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary development and text comprehension – that have been proven to prevent or remediate reading failure.
- Strengthen coordination among schools, early literacy programs and family literacy programs to improve reading achievement for all children.
Reading First places specific emphasis on the importance of scientifically based reading research – research that applies rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain valid knowledge relevant to reading development, reading instruction and reading difficulties.