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SEC. 1222. LOCAL EARLY READING FIRST GRANTS.

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(a) PROGRAM AUTHORIZED- From amounts appropriated under section 1002(b)(2), the Secretary shall award grants, on a competitive basis, for periods of not more than 6 years, to eligible applicants to enable the eligible applicants to carry out the authorized activities described in subsection (d).

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(b) APPLICATIONS- An eligible applicant that desires to receive a grant under this section shall submit an application to the Secretary, which shall include a description of —

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(1) the programs to be served by the proposed project, including demographic and socioeconomic information on the preschool age children enrolled in the programs;

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(2) how the proposed project will enhance the school readiness of preschool age children in high-quality oral language and literature-rich environments;

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(3) how the proposed project will prepare and provide ongoing assistance to staff in the programs, through professional development and other support, to provide high-quality language, literacy, and prereading activities using scientifically based reading research, for preschool age children;

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(4) how the proposed project will provide services and use instructional materials that are based on scientifically based reading research on early language acquisition, prereading activities, and the development of spoken vocabulary skills;

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(5) how the proposed project will help staff in the programs to meet more effectively the diverse needs of preschool age children in the community, including such children with limited English proficiency, disabilities, or other special needs;

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(6) how the proposed project will integrate such instructional materials and literacy activities with existing preschool programs and family literacy services;

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(7) how the proposed project will help children, particularly children experiencing difficulty with spoken language, prereading, and early reading skills, to make the transition from preschool to formal classroom instruction in school;

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(8) if the eligible applicant has received a subgrant under subpart 1, how the activities conducted under this subpart will be coordinated with the eligible applicants activities under subpart 1 at the kindergarten through grade 3 level;

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(9) how the proposed project will evaluate the success of the activities supported under this subpart in enhancing the early language, literacy, and prereading development of preschool age children served by the project; and

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(10) such other information as the Secretary may require.

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(c) APPROVAL OF LOCAL APPLICATIONS- The Secretary shall select applicants for funding under this subpart based on the quality of the applications and the recommendations of a peer review panel convened under section 1203(c)(2), that includes, at a minimum, three individuals, selected from the entities described in clauses (ii), (iii), and (iv) of section 1203(c)(2)(A), who are experts in early reading development and early childhood development.

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(d) AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES- An eligible applicant that receives a grant under this subpart shall use the funds provided under the grant to carry out the following activities:

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(1) Providing preschool age children with high-quality oral language and literature-rich environments in which to acquire language and prereading skills.

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(2) Providing professional development that is based on scientifically based reading research knowledge of early language and reading development for the staff of the eligible applicant and that will assist in developing the preschool age childrens —

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(A) recognition, leading to automatic recognition, of letters of the alphabet, knowledge of letters, sounds, blending of letter sounds, and increasingly complex vocabulary;

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(B) understanding that written language is composed of phonemes and letters each representing one or more speech sounds that in combination make up syllables, words, and sentences;

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(C) spoken language, including vocabulary and oral comprehension abilities; and

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(D) knowledge of the purposes and conventions of print.

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(3) Identifying and providing activities and instructional materials that are based on scientifically based reading research for use in developing the skills and abilities described in paragraph (2).

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(4) Acquiring, providing training for, and implementing screening reading assessments or other appropriate measures that are based on scientifically based reading research to determine whether preschool age children are developing the skills described in this subsection.

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(5) Integrating such instructional materials, activities, tools, and measures into the programs offered by the eligible applicant.

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(e) AWARD AMOUNTS- The Secretary may establish a maximum award amount, or ranges of award amounts, for grants under this subpart.