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4. ESSA funds two new initiatives that aim to help struggling students learn how to read.

For many students with learning and attention issues, reading can be difficult. To help struggling students learn how to read, ESSA provides funding for two new resources:

Literacy Education Grants

The law authorizes Congress to give up to $160 million in literacy grants to states and schools. The Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) grants will be awarded to:

  • Ensure high-quality literacy instruction in reading and writing for children from early childhood through grade 12, including English learners and children with disabilities
  • Fund comprehensive literacy programs “that include explicit, systematic and intentional instruction in, phonological awareness, phonic decoding, vocabulary, language structure, reading fluency and reading comprehension”
  • Provide high-quality professional development for teachers and literacy coaches
Comprehensive Literacy Center

ESSA authorizes the creation of a national center that focuses on reading issues for children with disabilities, including dyslexia. In 2015 Congress passed a budget allocating $1.5 million for the center that is expected to begin operating in 2017. The center will:

  • Help educators and parents recognize early signs of dyslexia and other literacy-related challenges
  • Focus on how to meet the needs of students who struggle with reading, writing, language processing, comprehension or executive functioning due to a disability like dyslexia
  • Offer training to help teachers use effective instructional strategies and provide accommodations