Maximize ESSER Funds with Decodable Books

Maximize ESSER Funds with Decodable Books


As the September 30, 2024 deadline for allocating ESSER III funds approaches, district leaders are optimizing this funding and ensuring students receive the necessary support and instruction for ongoing academic success.

Using ESSER funds for high-quality instructional materials, such as Just Right Reader Science of Reading Decodables, can significantly accelerate early literacy development and address learning loss resulting from the pandemic.

What is ESSER?

The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund was established to ensure that students continue to receive high-quality education and support despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19. The fund is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Congress passed in March 2020.

What can ESSER funding be used for?

ESSER funding can be used for several key initiatives, including, but not limited to:

  • Health and Safety Initiatives: Establishing measures to ensure safe in-person education, such as improving sanitation, supplying personal protective equipment, and upgrading ventilation systems.
  • Remote Learning Enhancements: Boosting technology and internet accessibility to support remote and hybrid learning formats.
  • Addressing Learning Loss: Developing programs and resources to address loss of instruction time and educational setbacks during the pandemic.
  • Supporting Vulnerable Groups: Offering extra support for students with disabilities, English language learners, and those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • Mental Health Services: Increasing mental health support and counseling to meet students' and staff's heightened emotional and psychological needs.

The U.S. Department of Education states, “An LEA must reserve not less than 20 percent of its total ARP ESSER allocation to address learning loss through the implementation of evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school year programs, and ensure that such interventions respond to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs and address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on underrepresented student subgroups.” 

Read theU.S. Department of Education Fact Sheet for additional information. 

How can ESSER funding be used for Science of Reading Decodable Books?


Decodable books
Decodable books are specifically crafted to highlight certain letter-sound relationships. They provide students with opportunities for targeted phonics practice in an authentic reading experience. For instance, a student mastering the ‘th’ digraph practices with a decodable book containing words with that digraph.  


Using decodables in literacy instruction, whether in core classroom settings or through after-school and summer programs, aligns perfectly with the objectives of ESSER funding. These funds are designed to combat learning loss and promote educational recovery, making the investment in Science of Reading decodables an impactful choice.


How does Just Right Reader align with the approved use of ESSER funding?

Just Right Reader Decodables, developed with leading literacy experts and grounded in the Science of Reading research, provide students with the structured phonics practice they need to become confident readers. 

Remote Learning Enhancements

Just Right Reader offers digital resources accessible from any device, including lesson plans for every title and videos for families to support reading at home and on the go. 

Addressing Learning Loss

Backed by research, Just Right Reader decodables are crafted to provide structured phonics practice in an authentic reading experience, which is crucial for developing foundational skills and fostering lifelong literacy.

These high-quality instructional materials and rigorous phonics progression effectively address knowledge and skill gaps resulting from loss of instruction during the pandemic while also accelerating reading proficiency. 

Supporting Vulnerable Groups

  • Science of Reading Spanish decodables, available in Classroom Libraries and Take-Everywhere Packs, accelerate biliteracy by supporting English Language Learners (ELLs) and dual-language students.

  • Newcomer Packs welcome students and families to districts with resources to support learning English. 
  • QR codes on each decodable link to phonics video lessons, available in English, Spanish, and additional languages, extending learning into homes. This family engagement component ensures equitable learning experiences and enables families to learn together.
  • Just Right Reader ensures all educational content is accessible to all learners and families by meeting Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA standards, ensuring WCAG and NIMAS compliance, and utilizing video accessibility features.
  • Just Right Reader values digital inclusion and takes careful measures to provide an optimal experience for all website visitors, regardless of the assistive technology used to access our site.

The majority of Just Right Reader resources and high-quality instructional materials, like Classroom Libraries, need only a one-time investment and no ongoing financial support.

What makes Just Right Reader Decodables special?

Just Right Reader Science of Reading

Backed by Science

Just Right Reader Decodables are developed using Science of Reading research principles, follow a rigorous progression, and align with all phonics programs.

Stories That Reflect Students' Lives

Relatable stories and diverse characters increase engagement and get kids excited about reading.

Personalized Take-Everywhere Decodable Packs 

Students receive personalized packs of Science of Reading decodables based on their reading needs.

Along with engaging decodables, Take-Everywhere Decodable Packs include a backpack, writing pages to reinforce decoding and writing skills, and research-based activities that motivate students to read and reread. Each decodable has a QR code linking to a fun phonics lesson in English and Spanish to support students and families at home and on the go.

Resources for Educators and Families

Resources for districts and families

Just Right Reader offers a variety of resources to ensure the effective implementation of decodable books. These resources include Getting Started Guides, curriculum alignment charts, videos, complete lesson plans, teacher materials for each decodable, and caregiver resources. 

Every decodable has a QR code that links to a fun video reinforcing the phonics skills taught in the book. This feature helps families support their children at home and on the go.



Ready to Accelerate Reading Achievement In Your District?

Classroom Libraries and Take-Everywhere Decodable Packs feature:


Just Right Reader Science of Reading Decodables
  • An extensive library of 750+ titles in English and Spanish

  • Research-based, rigorous phonics scope and sequence that aligns with all phonics programs and curriculums

  • Lesson plans for every title, perfect for small groups

  • 2-minute video lessons reinforce phonics skills in English and Spanish

  • Engaging and relatable stories with diverse characters


Support English Language Learners with Spanish Decodable Books

Just Right Reader Spanish Decodables
  • Written by native Spanish speakers for an authentic reading experience

  • Support bilingual and dual language programs

  • Based on alphabetic principles and phonological knowledge specific to the Spanish language

  • Aligned to a rigorous phonics progression specific to the Spanish language

Learn more about Spanish decodables.

Welcome Newcomer Students and Families to Your District

Just Right Reader supports districts and schools in welcoming Newcomer students and their families by providing research-backed books and resources to build foundational literacy skills at any age. Purchasing Newcomer Packs aligns with ESSER’s approved use of funding to support underrepresented subgroups of students such as English Language Learners and Newcomer students. 

  • Board Book School Readiness Packs, for ages 0-3, are aligned to developmental milestones to build literacy skills in the first three years of life.

  • Elementary School Readiness Packs, for Pre-K to 5th-grade students, aim to build a strong literacy foundation in English through activities focused on letter recognition and blending letter sounds.

  • Middle School & High School Decodable Packs, perfect for Newcomers of all ages learning English, provide multiple entry points to support each student at their current stage of literacy development.

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