Alaska receives $20M federal grant to support reading skills

Alaska Department of Education and Early Development Commissioner Michael Johnson gives an overview about education in Alaska to the Senate Education Committee, Jan. 24, 2019. (Photo by Skip Gray/360 North)

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, or DEED, announced Tuesday it will receive $20.7 million from the federal government to support reading skills across the state.

The U.S. Department of Education will distribute the grant over five years, starting with about $4.9 million in the current school year. DEED will then receive about $3.9 million each of the next four years.

According to the state’s education Commissioner Michael Johnson, DEED applied for the grant to support one of the goals in its strategic plan to have all students reading at grade level by the third grade.

The state plans to use the funds to create and implement a literacy program that will include reading coaches for students and specialized training for teachers.

School districts will be able to apply for sub-grants to support reading skills. The state says details on the application process for those sub-grants will be shared in the near future.