How to Use ESSER Funding to Build a Reading Culture in Your District

By Kaitlyn Spotts | April 17 2023 | GeneralEducation & Professional Learning

What is ESSER funding?

In 2020 and 2021, Congress passed three Covid-related stimulus bills that provided nearly $190.5 billion to the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. ESSER includes a significant focus on vulnerable student populations who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, which includes English language learners.

Frequently asked questions about ESSER Funds


What can I buy with ESSER Funds?

  • Classroom reading libraries & collections to support literacy gains
  • Books to support community engagement through All School Reads
  • Replace lost or damaged books
  • Remote learning materials like ebooks
  • Accelerated learning recovery programs and supporting instructional materials
  • Implement summer learning and afterschool programs using high interest books
  • Instructional materials to support student character development and mental health


When do I need to use ESSER Funds?

  • CARES Act – ESSER I Funds: Obligate by Sept. 30, 2022
  • CRRSA Act – ESSER II Funds: Obligate by Sept. 30, 2023
  • ARP Act – ESSER III Funds: Obligate by Sept. 30, 2024


How is my state prioritizing relief funding?

  • ARP ESSER State Plan Analysis – Look up your state specific information on how these funds are being used for reading, literacy, and English Language Learners (ELL), including:

-Where literacy/reading/ELL support is mentioned among top state priorities

-Highest academic priorities for ELL

-Literacy/reading/ELL initiatives to address academic impact of lost instructional time

-Plans for literacy/reading/ELL support through extended day instruction

-Additional mentions of literacy or ELL initiatives


-State reading initiatives

-Additional literacy/reading support

-Links to ELL state plans and brief description of focus


Contact your PRH Education Account Manager to learn more about creating a transformative reading culture and reaching your school/district objectives.