The Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) has been awarded a five-year, $49.8 million federal Comprehensive Literacy State Development (CLSD) grant, of which $7.34 million has been reserved for the birth through kindergarten entry (B-KE) Early Literacy Project. The CLSD discretionary grant provides funds to create a comprehensive literacy program to advance literacy skills through the use of evidence-based practices, activities and interventions, including pre-literacy skills, reading, and writing for children from birth through grade 12, with an emphasis on disadvantaged children, including children living in poverty, English learners, and children with disabilities.


Hawai‘i P-20 has been contracted by HIDOE to facilitate the support and implementation of the birth through kindergarten entry component of the CLSD program. The purpose of the CLSD Early Literacy Project (EL Project) is to supplement current early literacy efforts with innovative strategies to: (1) advance the foundational language and literacy skills in our youngest keiki; and (2) engage families to support their children’s development and learning, targeting the most vulnerable and underrepresented communities. Hawaii P-20 will award competitive subgrants to develop and implement evidence-based comprehensive literacy plans.

The current priority for the early care and education program/service providers is to navigate and work through the current and upcoming federal and state COVID-19 recovery package as well as seek CDC guidelines with assistance from the Hawaii State Department of Human Services to determine how and when to re-open their programs to support their returning workforce and parents, who depend on child care to work or return to work. The CLSD EL Project is intended to provide additional assistance for early childhood programs to enhance their curricula, specifically in the early language and literacy domains of learning and development. The subawards would provide the supplemental funds for literacy-focused supplies and materials, teacher training and coaching, and family literacy activities.

Award Grantees

Through a competitive process, Hawai‘i P-20, as the managing entity of the CLSD Early Literacy Project, awarded six subgrants to early childhood programs. In partnership with private and public entities, including Head Start/Early Head Start, IDEA Part C and Part B providers, private center- and home-based programs, and Hawaiian language medium education providers, the subawardees will implement strategies to enhance the early literacy efforts across the state. The current projects are listed below:

The Farrington Complex Early Literacy Project will implement a literacy plan with the nine HIDOE elementary schools in the Farrington Complex and two Early Head Start/Head Start partner agencies focused on increasing oral language skills in our children. The plan is aligned to the Farrington-Kaiser-Kalani Complex Area CLSD initiatives and will provide targeted professional development to early childhood educators. Family engagement opportunities will be offered to support children’s language development and skills.

The Institute for Native Pacific Education and Culture (INPEACE) Early Literacy Project will focus on integrating Hawaiian culture, language and values into the 12 elements of the Comprehensive Literacy Instructional Plan.  INPEACE will implement evidence-based literacy intervention to develop children’s vocabulary and expressive and receptive language through a “shared literacy” learning process in Hilo, Nānākuli, and Wai’anae, working with early learning family childcare centers, home visiting, and center-based preschool partners.

The Ke Ala Leo (“The Path of Voices”) Early Hawaiian Language Medium (HLM) Learner Literacy Development Project is led by Ka Haka ‘Ula o Ke’elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language of the University of Hawai’i at Hilo. The Ke Ala Leo Project will focus on increasing teacher skills and literacy materials in a strong evidence-based HLM literacy program context. The project seeks to address HLM equity issues and will serve the majority of HLM students and their families statewide from birth to kindergarten entry.

The Maui County Early Literacy Project team has identified Dialogic Reading, Phonological Awareness, and Storytelling for the Home Enrichment of Language and Literacy Skills (SHELLS) as the evidence-based early literacy practices/interventions to implement in all settings, from infant/toddler centers, to home visiting, to family child interaction learning, and preschools. The project will offer a series of evidence-based, targeted early language and literacy interventions for young children and their families, extending from birth through kindergarten entry. In Maui County, Maui Family Support Services, Inc. (MFSS) will be the project lead.

The Partners In Development Foundation – Ka Pa‘alana Homeless Family Education Program will embed evidence-based literacy interventions into their culturally relevant S.T.E.A.M. curriculum. This Family and Child Interaction Learning program will include training and coaching of parents in Dialogic Reading. All teachers will be provided with professional development, training, and coaching of evidence-based practices in Phonological Awareness, Alphabet Knowledge, Dialogic Reading, and Language Enhancement.

The Wahiawa Collaborative (WC) Project will offer a continuum of interventions to support early language and literacy development, extending from birth through kindergarten entry in the HIDOE Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua Complex Area (LMWCA). The WC project focuses on empowering families as children’s first teachers, increasing child outcomes around comprehensive early language and pre-literacy skills, supporting teachers through professional learning and coaching on pre-literacy and literacy instruction, and aligning efforts with LMWCA Family Engagement and Professional Development strategies. Family Hui Hawai’i is the project lead.

For more information on the grant read here.

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