If you have a passion for literature and seek a rewarding career in teaching, then reading and literacy education scholarships can turn the page to a new chapter of your life.
As the United States ranks just 12th in literacy among 20 high-income countries worldwide, there’s been an increased emphasis placed on reading education. Whether it’s actual hardcover books or e-books and magazines, reading is an essential skill that impacts children’s language, writing, and social development. Nurturing a child’s reading early will set them up for life-long academic and eventually vocational success. After all, the NCES found that children who don’t develop basic literacy skills in primary school are three to four times more likely to drop out later.
The following are 20 great literacy scholarships available to turn your reading hobby into a wonderful career helping youth expand their mind and imagination.
1. Bound to Stay Bound Books Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st
Sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA), the Bound to Stay Bound Books Scholarship is granted annually for $7,500 to four deserving graduate students who are intending to receive an advanced degree in library science, reading education, or literacy education to serve children up to age 14. Qualified applicants must be citizens of the United States or Canada, have not earned more than 12 graduate credits, display academic achievement, and be committed to library work with youth. Interested students must submit an online application with official college transcripts and three professional reference letters.
2. Carmelita K. Williams Graduate Scholarship
Deadline: December 15th
Through the Virginia State Reading Association (VSRA), the Carmelita K. Williams Graduate Scholarship is presented annually for up to $2,000 to provide financial support to graduate students who are receiving a master’s or doctoral degree in the field of reading education. Eligible candidates must be VSRA members for at least one year, attend an accredited Virginia university, and be currently employed in a teaching position where reading is an instructional focus. Applications must include a curriculum vitae, college transcripts, proof of acceptance, two letters of recommendation, and a 250-word essay stating their goals for reading endorsement.
Carmelita K. Williams Graduate Scholarship
5527 Granding Road
Roanoke, VA 24018
3. Donald L. Landry Student Scholarship
Deadline: February 6th
Annually, the Massachusetts Reading Association (MRA) offers the Donald L. Landry Student Scholarship for $1,000 to an outstanding teacher who is enrolling at least part-time in a graduate educational program to receive a master’s degree in reading education or literacy. To qualify, candidates must be attending an accredited in-state graduate school, reside or teach in Massachusetts, have active MRA membership, maintain academic excellence, and be pursuing licensure as a reading specialist. Applicants are required to write a 350-word personal statement describing which character from children’s literature they would choose to be a student or paraprofessional in their class.
Donald L. Landry Student Scholarship
P.O. Box 426
West Barnstable, MA 02668
4. Dr. Richard Williams Reading Specialist Scholarship
Deadline: February 1st
In the amount of $500, the Dr. Richard Williams Reading Specialist Scholarship is distributed each year by the Oklahoma Reading Association (ORA) for deserving educators who are enrolling in graduate studies in reading or literacy education in-state to receive the Oklahoma Standard Reading Specialist Certificate. Eligible recipients must hold a current valid teaching license, have ORA membership, demonstrate superb instructional performance, and be committed to a career in reading education. Applications won’t be complete without three letters of professional recommendation, verification of enrollment, and a brief personal goals essay.
5. Edwyna Wheadon Post-Graduate Scholarship
Deadline: January 31st
In honor of a long-time Houston member of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) who advocated for career-long education until her passing in 2002, the Edwyna Wheadon Post-Graduate Scholarship is granted for $500 annually to public school teachers who have specialized in English, language arts, literacy, or reading education. Funding can be used to support post-graduate training at any accredited U.S. degree-granting college to enhance recipients’ teaching skills. For consideration, candidates are asked to submit an application form with a 500-word essay describing their professional development goals.
6. FRA Marie Silverman Scholarship Award
Deadline: June 1st
Administered by the Florida Reading Association (FRA), the Marie Silverman Scholarship Award is designed to provide $1,000 for full-time study or $500 for part-time study to exemplary graduate students who are planning to enroll in a university within the state of Florida to receive a master’s degree in reading education. Qualified applicants must carry at least six hours per semester, possess three years of successful classroom teaching experience, have active FRA membership, and wish to become a licensed reading specialist. Applications must include a current curriculum vitae or resume, proof of enrollment, official transcripts, and three letters of recommendation showing a commitment to literacy.
FRA Marie Silverman Scholarship Award
4142 Camino Real
Sarasota, FL 34231
7. Geraldine S. Weil Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: April 15th
First founded in 1986, the Geraldine S. Weil Memorial Scholarship is offered by the School of Education at SUNY Binghamton University to provide $1,000 annually for full-time students who are presently enrolled in the Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) program with an emphasis in Reading/Language Arts or Literacy Education. Eligible candidates must maintain good academic standing, be committed to the development of young children, plan to teach reading at the elementary level, and have unmet financial need. Students must submit a common application form with a 100-word personal statement on their specialized interests in teaching.
8. Hannah Beiter Graduate Research Grant
Deadline: February 1st
Funded by the Children’s Literature Association (ChLA), the Hannah Beiter Graduate Student Research Grant is awarded each year for $500 to $1,500 to advanced graduates who are conducting research relevant to children’s literature while completing a master’s or doctoral degree in reading/literacy education. Qualified researchers must be attending an accredited U.S. post-secondary institution, demonstrate research competence, maintain academic excellence, be members of the ChLA, and work on research worthy of publication or conference presentation. Candidates must submit a detailed research proposal with a rough budget plan, a curriculum vitae, and two letters of faculty support.
9. James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarships
Established by the best-selling crime fiction novelist and young adult literacy advocate, the James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarships are granted for up to $6,000 apiece annually to support graduate students receiving a master’s degree in English or reading education. Students at 22 different colleges nationwide are qualified to apply, including Emporia State University, Vanderbilt University, Florida Atlantic University, Howard University, Michigan State University, Morgan State University, Manhattan College, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Alabama, and more. Applicants must have career goals in teaching, show a passion for cultivating a love of reading in children, and demonstrate financial need.
James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarships
1290 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10104
10. Jeanne S. Chall Research Fellowship
Deadline: January 15th
Each year, the International Reading Association (IRA) gives the Jeanne S. Chall Research Fellowship for $6,000 to a promising scholar who is pioneering research efforts to increase our understanding of beginning reading, readability, reading difficulty, stages of reading development, the relation of vocabulary to reading, and teaching adults with limited reading skills. For consideration, candidates must be current IRA members, be enrolled in an accredited American doctoral program, and be beginning their dissertation research on the above topics. Applicants must create an online profile to submit an application with a full research proposal, curriculum vitae, bibliography, and letter of academic reference.
11. Joseph J. Fox Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: April 15th
Through the State of Maryland International Reading Association Council (SoMIRAC), the Joseph J. Fox Memorial Scholarship is distributed annually for $2,000 to graduates from any Maryland high school who are currently enrolling full-time in an undergraduate degree program with a major related to reading education. Qualified candidates must be accepted at an accredited four-year university, intend to pursue a career teaching reading, carry a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2, and be actively involved in literacy-related community service. Along with the application, students must submit two letters of professional recommendation, official college transcripts, and an undergraduate verification form.
Joseph J. Fox Memorial Scholarship
7307 Summerwind Circle
Laurel, MD 20707
12. Kern Reading Association Scholarship
Deadline: April 17th
The Kern Reading Association (KRA) offers a $1,000 scholarship each year to graduates of California high schools who are enrolled at least half-time in an accredited post-secondary institution to complete a teacher preparation program that leads to the Specialist Credential in Reading and Language Arts. Eligible candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, reside within California, possess a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, have KRA membership, and show promise for a bright career in reading education. Selection will be based on applicants’ academic achievement, leadership ability, involvement in extra-curricular or community activities, teaching history, test scores, and personal strengths.
13. Lewis and Deborah Hancock Scholarship
Deadline: March 9th
At California State University Fullerton, the Lewis and Deborah Hancock Scholarship is granted by the Reading Department for $1,000 annually to one outstanding graduate student who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in reading education or the Reading/Language Arts Specialist Credential program. Qualified recipients must show potential for future teacher leadership, have significant financial need, be single parents or heads of a household, and maintain a minimum overall GPA of 3.0. In order to be considered for this scholarship for reading specialists, students must submit a departmental scholarship application with a two-page statement explaining their career goals in reading education.
14. Mary A. Kelly Scholarship Award
Deadline: December 1st
In the amount of $1,000, the Mary A. Kelly Scholarship Award is bestowed annually by the South Carolina Council International Reading Association (SCIRA) to a student currently registered for graduate-level coursework towards a degree in reading or literacy education. Eligible applicants must be accepted at an accredited South Carolina university, have at least two years of successful classroom teaching experience, be members of the IRA and SCIRA, show evidence of financial need, and demonstrate potential for becoming a reading specialist. Applications must be accompanied by a personal cover letter, official college transcripts, and three letters of recommendation.
15. Miles Zintz Literacy Education Scholarship
Deadline: May 31st
Sponsored by the New Mexico International Reading Association (NMIRA), the Miles Zintz Literacy Education Scholarship was created to give $1,000 annually to exemplary graduate students who are currently enrolled full-time in an accredited teacher preparation program with an emphasis in reading, literacy, or language arts. Eligible candidates must reside or teach in New Mexico, attend an approved in-state school of education, have membership to their local NMIRA council, and exhibit potential for teaching success. Applications should include a brief personal statement, two letters of recommendation, and proof of college enrollment.
16. Patricia A. Lamson Endowed Literacy Scholarship
Deadline: January 30th
Administered by the Cupertino Educational Endowment Foundation (CEEF), the Patricia A. Lamson Endowed Literacy Scholarship is awarded annually in honor of a devoted member of the Cupertino Union School District who worked her way up from kindergarten teacher to elementary school principal and eventually superintendent. Qualified candidates must be current CUSD teachers who are enrolling in an accredited graduate degree program to focus on improving their English Language Arts teaching skills in accordance with the shifts of the Common Core Standards. Recipients will be given a $400 award and an invitation to attend CEEF’s 30th Annual Gala in San Jose.
17. Reading Recovery Teacher Leader Scholarship
Deadline: May 30th
In partnership with the Hameray Publishing Group, the Reading Recovery Council of North America offers the Teacher Leader Scholarship each year for $15,000 to two full-time graduate students who are receiving initial reading specialist training at one of the council’s approved university training centers. Applicants must work at school districts in the United States or Canada, have RRCNA membership, exhibit economic need, and show leadership potential for reading endorsements. Completed application forms should include an itemized budget plan, one letter of support signed by the superintendent, and answers to three essay questions.
18. REFORMA Scholarship Program
Deadline: March 15th
Through the National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking, the REFORMA Scholarship Program is hosted annually to award up to $1,500 to outstanding graduate students who are currently pursuing a master’s degree in library science, literacy, or reading education to work with Latinos and/or Spanish speakers. Eligible candidates must attend an accredited U.S. school, showcase high academic standing, be fluent in Spanish, be committed to a career in librarianship, and display leadership in serving Spanish-speaking communities. Applications must include an official transcript, a current resume with a cover letter, and two letters of reference.
19. Steven A. Stahl Research Grant
Deadline: January 15th
Also offered by the International Reading Association (IRA), the Steven A. Stahl Research Grant is awarded for $1,000 each year to financially support promising graduate students who are conducting classroom research focused on finding strategies to improve reading instruction and boost children’s reading achievements. Qualified applicants must attend an accredited U.S. post-secondary institution, have at least three years of PreK-12 teaching experience, have a major related to reading education, be IRA members, and demonstrate research competence. Candidates must create an online profile to submit their application with a detailed research proposal, current curriculum vitae, bibliography, and letter of faculty support.
20. Toni S. and Kenneth Walters Literacy Scholarship
Deadline: February 6th
At Oakland University, the School of Education and Human Services has created the Toni S. and Kenneth Walters Literacy Scholarship to award up to $2,000 annually for helping one graduate student lower the costs of tuition, fees, textbooks, and other academic expenses. To qualify, applicants must be enrolled in the Reading and Language Arts program, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.2, be actively involved in community service, and aspire for a career improving literacy within diverse urban/metropolitan areas. Preference will be given to students who have demonstrated service in the field of literacy as an in-service or pre-service teacher.
Before you can achieve your goal of becoming a licensed reading specialist, you’ll need to afford at least two to four extra years of schooling in graduate school beyond your bachelor’s degree. Since the average graduate tuition rate at public colleges is nearly $30,000 a year, it’s essential that you find several sources of financial aid to cut your out-of-pocket costs and reduce the number of loans you need. Consider applying to some of these great reading and literacy education scholarships today to finance your training and begin inspiring children to read.