8 Educator Grants for Reading & Literacy

Nov 17, 2023
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The cost of books and funding literacy programs can add up. But, that should never prohibit students from learning something new or getting lost in a good book. So, what’s the best solution when district and school budgets are tight? Try applying for a grant!

Grants can be publicly or privately funded, and they offer money to be used for usually specific purposes that does NOT need to be repaid. Luckily, there is no shortage of grants available for educators. Here, we’ve compiled a wide-ranging list of some of the best literacy grants out there for educators organized by intended purpose.*

Grants for Literacy Initiatives

Mazda Foundation
Applications accepted between May 1 – July 1 annually

The Mazda Foundation (USA) awards grants to promote a variety of programs, including education and literacy. Committed to giving back primarily to the communities where Mazda and its employees live and work to build a better, brighter future, the Mazda Foundation has made contributions exceeding $13.4 million since its founding in 1992.

Believe in Reading
Applications now accepted; no specific deadlines in place, but apply long in advance of when needed

Believe in Reading targets existing and provably successful literacy programs that serve populations who show out-of-the-ordinary needs, such as geographic areas with low reading scores and high poverty levels. Grants of up to $10,000 (although new applicants are rarely funded for more than $3,000) may be awarded and are renewable for up to three years.

The Lois Lenski Covey Foundation
Applications accepted between February 15 – September 1 annually

Named after the children’s book author and Newbery medalist, the Lois Lenski Covey Foundation awards grants to organizations that operate a lending bookmobile that travels into neighborhoods populated by underserved youth. The grants are for purchasing books published for young people preschool through grade 8. Grants range from $500 to $3,000 and are specifically for book purchases.

SCBWI Amber Brown Grant
Applications accepted from November 1 – April 15 annually

In commemoration of the author and beloved school speaker, Paula Danziger, the Society of

Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Amber Brown Grant awards one school each year with an author or illustrator visit and $250 worth of new books by the visiting author/illustrator to continue Paula’s love of connecting children with creative influences.

Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry
Letters of intent accepted from August 1 – December 31 annually; completed applications must be submitted by February 15

The Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry perpetuates the art of poetry in American culture and allows organizations to apply for awards between $1,000 and $10,000 to be used on programs that expand awareness of the positive effects of poetry on society.

National Book Fund
Applications accepted between February 1 – March 15 annually

ProLiteracy’s National Book Fund (NBF) makes grants to adult literacy and adult basic education programs. The NBF supports the following initiatives: basic literacy, adult education, English-language instruction, GED/HSE preparation, and family literacy. Grants have ranged from $500 to $2,000, although greater or lesser funding amounts are considered.

Grants for School Libraries

The Sara Jaffarian School Library Program Award
Applications accepted between February 1 and May 5 annually

The American Library Association (ALA) presents this $5,000 award annually for exemplary humanities programming in libraries that serve children in grades K–8. It is named after retired school librarian and long-term ALA member Sara Jaffarian. The humanities program can be focused in such areas as social studies, poetry, drama, art, music, language arts, foreign language, and culture. It should be initiated and coordinated by the school librarian and should focus on broadening perspectives and helping students understand the wider world and their place in it.

Grants for Literacy Leaders

Corwin Literacy Leader Award presented by ILA
Applications accepted between November 15 and March 15 annually

The International Literacy Association (ILA) presents this award to a district or school administrative literacy leader who has recognized the importance of building a culture of literacy within a school or district by offering literacy professional development, instructional resource support, and/or developing specific literacy programs to build capacity and increase student literacy achievement. It is sponsored by Corwin Literacy, a SAGE Publishing company. Candidates must be an ILA member.

Need some additional resources to aid you in the grant application process? We’ve compiled a few of our best resources to get you started!

Additionally, explore our Federal Funding Toolkit to discover valuable resources, insights, and grant planning guidance to secure the financial support you need.

*Many of these grants are awarded annually. Grant awards and due dates are as accurate as possible as of February 2021 but are subject to change. Always check specific grant websites for the most up-to-date and accurate application information.

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