Arizona Bolstering Early Literacy Efforts

The Arizona Department of Education is partnering with the Arizona Department of Economic Security to utilize $95.7 million in federal recovery funds in concert with the state’s Child Care Development Fund. By adding this new funding to an existing program, the state intends to 1) accelerate early childhood literacy with new literacy coaches; 2) provide preschool development grants for school districts and other providers; 3) expand the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program that gifts books to young children; and 4) support cross-sector strategic planning, data integration, and fiscal mapping to address early childhood gaps across Arizona.

We are spotlighting this coordinated effort as an innovative way to scale literacy-specific efforts within early childhood programming. By combining federal dollars with existing state programs, Arizona is making a real investment into supporting early childhood literacy.

Reviewer Analysis

Learning Heroes

Investing in early childhood education is usually a good bet. If this project is able to secure quality coaches, deploy them effectively, and successfully integrate this strategy into K-12, then it has the potential to make a big difference for kids. - Dr. Eyal Bergman

Leslie Villegas

Research shows that early enrollment in full-day pre-K programs that provide bilingual support for dual language learners (DLLs) has a positive effect on English learners’ long-term academic and linguistic development.

EdAlllies

We find this effort targeted to a key area of development, that is inclusive of a number of critical components. Scaling strong literacy practices requires an increase in capacity to support educators and provide engaging texts for the youngest learners so they do not fall behind in the first place. - Matt Shaver

The Data Quality Campaign

Arizona’s plan invests in its cross-sector data infrastructure and collaboration to support recovery efforts. In addition, the state is using multiple types of education data to identify priorities and to address education access and equity across the state. - Rachel Anderson

Leslie Villegas, New America

Research shows that early enrollment in full-day pre-K programs that provide bilingual support for dual language learners (DLLs) has a positive effect on English learners’ long-term academic and linguistic development.

New Leaders

If grounded in current research and aligned with evidence-based literacy practices, this could be an effective use of funds. The state will need to consider the professional learning and support new literacy coaches will require, and what ongoing support will be most effective in capacity building and retention.

Dale Chu

It is encouraging to see Arizona building upon their existing efforts aimed at early childhood literacy.

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