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FY Awards

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Dr. Vinita Chhabra
(202) 245-7262


PDF File FY 2024 84.305A (PDF: 846 KB)
MS Word FY 2024 84.305A (DOC: 346 KB) CLOSED

The Literacy topic supports research on the range of English language-based skills required for learning. U.S. students must develop fluency not only in reading and writing in English but also in speaking and listening in English, and they must be able to apply these skills across multiple contexts, including classrooms and online.


The National Center for Education Research (NCER) has invested in literacy research since fiscal year (FY) 2002. Formerly known as the Reading and Writing Topic, it was one of the first programs competed through NCER‘s grants competitions. This program was developed to support innovative research on improving students’ reading and writing skills and achievement.

Literacy researchers have explored, developed, and tested a number of new approaches to teaching, learning, and assessing reading and writing for students in grades K through 12. Specifically, interventions and assessments have targeted a number of reading and writing skills, including, but not limited to syntax, morphology, vocabulary, handwriting, fluency, grammar, prosody, comprehension, and composition. Additionally, projects often incorporate innovative uses of technology, features to increase motivation and engagement, and considerations for English Learners and students with or at-risk for disabilities.

Why study Literacy?

Literacy skills are crucial to success in school and beyond; Reading and writing skills are necessary for college and career. Recognition of the importance of literacy has led to extensive theory and research on this topic for more than fifty years. While researchers have identified effective strategies to help children learn to read, many students in the United States are not proficient readers, suggesting there is more research needed. Writing is vastly understudied in comparison to reading, and despite this important skill for both communication and learning, little is known about how writing develops and how to improve writing achievement for students.

What research is needed in Literacy?

There are several areas of literacy research that have the potential to lead to important advances in the field. Here are just a few examples:

  • We know very little about effective writing instruction and achievement throughout the various levels of schooling. What interventions increase writing proficiency and quality? How can writing quality be measured?
  • Learners spend a lot of time using the internet and digital devices, but they are not necessarily skilled at reading or writing with these tools. How is reading or writing online or with digital devices related to learning outcomes?
  • Education technology is being used to support learners in a variety of academic areas. How can technology be leveraged to improve reading and writing skills? Can technology be leveraged for more effective reading and writing instruction? How can technology be used to support literacy outcomes for English learners?
  • Supporting reading and writing skills in content area classrooms becomes increasingly important as learners progress through school and into college and careers. Content area teachers may assume their students already have the skills to read, understand, and write increasingly complex texts. These teachers may also feel that instruction in such literacy skills is beyond the scope of their courses. How is instruction in content area classrooms associated with improved reading and writing achievement?