Empowering People through Literacy

During her lifetime, former first lady Barbara Bush dedicated her efforts to increasing literacy in adults, children, and youth. In her own words, she believed that, “the American Dream is about equal opportunity for everyone who works hard. If we don’t give everyone the ability to simply read and write, then we aren’t giving everyone an equal chance to succeed.Her goal was to empower families through literacy.

According to studies from the National Bureau of Economic Research and the National Institute for Literacy, it is estimated that 36 million adults in the United States struggle with reading and writing, and many children and youth in schools lack basic literacy skills. An estimated 72 percent of children with parents that have low or insufficient reading skills are at low reading levels themselves. These children have a hard time following classes and catching up to levels that allow them to graduate school and be successful during their adult life.

If you are looking to supercharge your classroom literacy program, here are a number of grants and resources you should consider to enhance it.



The National Book Foundation offers annual grants, awards, and programs dedicated to increasing literacy and encouraging the love for books and reading.

ProLiteracy advocates and supports adult literacy by offering reading clubs, grants and awards, professional development and education networks, and free resources.

The Association for Library Service to Children offers a variety of book and media awards and the Bookapalooza Program that donates children’s books to libraries.

First Book provides books, as well as literary and educational resources, to low-income areas.



Grants and Awards

Celebrate Literacy Award

The International Literacy Association (ILA) recognizes organizations, institutions, and individuals that have made significant contributions at the local, state, or provincial level. The award strives to familiarize the public with literacy activities in the community and call attention to the work that is being done by the schools and the ILA.

Applications may be submitted year-round.


Family Literacy Donations

The mission of the Wish You Well Foundation is to support family literacy by fostering and promoting the development and expansion of new and existing literacy and educational programs. Donations are made to programs and projects that relate to and aid in this mission.

Applications may be submitted year-round.


AASL Innovative Reading Grants

AASL Innovative Reading Grants from Capstone, administered by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), support the planning and implementation of unique and innovative programs for children that motivate and encourage reading, especially with struggling readers. The reading program must be specifically designed for children in kindergarten through grade 9 in a school library setting.

Applications are due February 1, annually.


Literacy Grants

The Nora Roberts Foundation offers Literacy Grants intended to empower people through literacy. The foundation offers funding to child, youth, and adult literacy programs in schools, libraries, and nontraditional education settings.

Applications may be submitted year-round.


Initial Teaching Alphabet Foundation Grants

The Initial Teaching Alphabet (i.t.a.) is a phonemic alphabet based on the phonemic sound system of the English language. It was designed to present the beginning reader and writer with a logical and reliable reading and writing system. The foundation promotes literacy through the use of the i.t.a. to help students perform better in school, have a healthy self-image, and become lifelong learners.

Applications are due May 1, annually.


Children’s Book Donations and Grants

First Book offers free and inexpensive children’s books and educational resources to schools and programs that serve children in need, from birth to age 18. By partnering with publishers, First Book is able to provide a large array of new, age-appropriate children’s books, including picture books, chapter books, and novels. Resources help elevate the quality of literacy programs, enrich the learning experience for children in need, enable teachers to create new curricula, and impart a love for reading to children.

Applications and requests may be submitted year-round.


Educational Assistance and Training Programs

Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation encourages the creation and expansion of learning experiences and opportunities to improve literacy; teach basic life skills; promote good citizenship and public services; and increase reading, mathematics, and science proficiencies. Grants are available at the primary, secondary, and higher education levels particularly for minority and disadvantaged students.

Applications may be submitted year-round.



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