Over the past few years, I have seen more technology enter the classroom than I saw through the entirety of my own academic journey—it is undoubtedly an exciting time to be a student. A 3rd grader can now learn basic coding skills through games like Minecraft: Education Edition. A 9th grader can capture, edit, and print 3D models right in their classroom with HP Learning Studio. Still, with all this growth in digital literacy, we cannot forget the foundation of traditional literacy that many kids still struggle with.
Recently, we concluded our six-part grant funding series with Innovative Approaches to Literacy. These grants provide funding for high-need schools to implement high-quality programs that will develop and improve literacy from birth to 12th grade. Examples of activities for these funding programs include:
Providing Access—Think of how your project will increase access to literacy resources. These could be traditional print materials, or you can leverage technology and electronic resources, like Learning Tools from Microsoft or Curriculum Pathways highlighted by HP. Extensive research has been done on how learning tools are leveling the playing field and improving reading comprehension and writing skills.
Partnering with the Community—We have mentioned partnerships throughout the series, and literacy is no exception. Tap into library and non-profit partnerships to build your funding project. This is an opportunity to double down on your literacy education intervention efforts as a community, not just a single district, school, or teacher.
Parental Engagement—Literacy starts at home. A study done by Hart & Risley in 1995 illuminated a significant gap in the number of words heard by children based on their income group. The study showed at the age of 4, children in the welfare group heard an estimated 30 million fewer cumulative words than their peers in the professional group. Over two decades later, educators continue to work to close the gap, but there is still work to be done. In 2013, the city of Providence, RI, submitted an innovative program for funding aiming to close the gap. This included specific activities that engaged parents through playgroup models, word pedometers, and in-home coaches. The results showed that the number of words a toddler heard in a day increased by 50%.
We can help you give your students more by building technology-enhanced literacy projects and connecting you with professional Grant Consultants to aid in the application process. Listen to the full webcast on Innovative Approaches to Literacy or catch up on the entire series to see how grant funding can be used in your school this year.