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Wyoming receives $43 million with federal literacy grant

◆ Statewide literacy task force will be launched.

CHEYENNE (WNE) – Teachers could soon have a few more tools to promote reading in their classrooms, as the Wyoming Department of Education has received a federal grant totaling $43.3 million that will be used to develop students’ literacy skills.

State education officials announced the grant, which will bring $8.6 million to Wyoming in its first year of eligibility, during a virtual news conference Friday.

Through the grant, teachers across Wyoming will be able to gain more training on the best practices to grow students’ reading abilities and identify skill gaps in the classroom. That effort will begin with the formation of a statewide literacy task force comprised of state and local school officials, which will be tasked with developing a statewide plan for reading comprehension.

“While elements of a literacy plan exist in our state, literacy improvement efforts in Wyoming would be more efficient if they were guided by a comprehensive plan that coordinated literacy services across early childhood education, K-12 education and teacher preparation,” said WDE Chief Academic Officer Shelley Hamel. “The state literacy plan will allow for that.”

While educators from every school district will have the chance to receive foundational literacy training, districts that have consistently struggled with reading scores will be able to apply for individual grants funded through the state-level funding, Hamel said.

The district-level grants can be used in a variety of ways to promote reading, including to form local literacy leadership teams, to buy evidence-based reading programs and to hire specialists.