Literacy Grants

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The Literacy Grants program was initiated to mobilize members and resources of Phi Kappa Phi and the higher education community to champion literacy initiatives. Grants of up to $2,500 are available to Phi Kappa Phi chapters and individual members to fund ongoing literacy projects or to create new initiatives. The Society's commitment to the cause of literacy grows out of and is consistent with its mission, which was expanded to include "…and to engage the community of scholars in service to others."

Phi Kappa Phi is proud to present the 2015 Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant recipients:

Mary Elizabeth Ambery, Ph.D.
Southeast Missouri State University

Born to Read

The Born to Read Program aims to provide a new book to every baby born in the Cape Girardeau, Mo., area each year. As part of the program, local hospitals are provided with books to be given to parents as they leave with their newborn baby. Each book contains a congratulatory note from the Southeast Missouri State University chapter of Phi Kappa Phi discussing the importance of literacy. The letter encourages parents to continuously read to their children to cultivate a love of reading and learning. Since its creation in 2001, the program has touched more than 30,000 families.


Barbara Amoah
Kansas State University

A Book a Time

A Book a Time project is a new initiative planned between September 2015 and May 2016 to inspire students to develop a love for reading, learning, and writing. As part of the program, new and gently used books will be donated to government middle schools in Akim Achiase, a small farming community in Southern Ghana, Africa. Students will be encouraged to read at least one book each month and submit a summary to enter into a monthly competition. Winners for each month will present their essays during a symposium at the end of the project period. 


Lesley Casarez
Angelo State University

SuperWhy? Super TRIYS!

San Angelo ISD students in grades 1-5 who are in the Gifted and Talented program have the opportunity to annually participate in the Texas Research Institute for Young Scholars (TRIYS). TRIYS provides students with the opportunity to research issues affecting the local community including homelessness, pollution, and recycling. As part of the SuperWhy? Super TRIYS! Program, the Phi Kappa Phi chapter at Angelo State University will purchase Chromebooks to promote technology literacy and better access to research resources for TRIYS program participants.  

Rhonda Cooksey
University of Missouri- Kansas City

Bedtime Story

Bedtime Story is a collaborative effort between the University of Missouri–Kansas City chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, local child care and social services facility Operation Breakthrough, and Reach Out and Read, an early literacy and school readiness program. As part of the project, the chapter plans to purchase 1,000 children’s books to be donated to families as a way to encourage parents to read bedtime stories to their children. Participating children who are located in low-income, urban areas will receive two books of their own through the Bedtime Story program.  

Barbara Davis
Texas State University

Summer Literacy Project

The Summer Literacy Project is a collaborative effort between Kyle Elementary School in Kyle, Texas, and the Texas State University Teacher Fellows, a graduate mentoring/induction program. Created in 2014, the project strives to combat the “summer slide”— a time when children are not reading for three months. From June through August, economically disadvantaged students in kindergarten through second grade will participate in weekly classes that include read-alouds, literacy activities, take-home readings and more. In addition, the program will provide field-based experience in literacy instruction and classroom management for beginning teachers.  

Christina Diaz
The University of Texas at San Antonio

Families and Schools - Working Together for Student Success

Through the Family/School/Community Partnership, the Presa Community Center in San Antonio, Texas, helps local public schools achieve authentic and meaningful parental engagement to achieve student academic success. Families and Schools – Working Together for Student Success will provide additional educational resources for students at Hillcrest Elementary, focusing on the areas of science, reading and writing.  In addition, there will be a Family Night to provide parents with information about these resources and how they can best be utilized at home to support their child's education.

Cynthia Elliot
Southeastern Louisiana University

Imagination Library

The Imagination Library Project is a literacy initiative that strives to foster a love of learning for young children. To achieve this, the program delivers a new, age-appropriate book to children living in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, each month. The books are delivered to families with eligible children regardless of income. The program—which lasts from birth until the child turns five—encourages parents to read with their children during the formative preschool years to help create a love of learning and reading beginning at an early age. 

Rachel Fritz
University of Central Missouri

Stories and Songs Program

The Wisconsin Conservatory of Music’s Stories and Songs Program addresses Milwaukee’s racial achievement gap by bringing exciting adventures in reading and music to children in kindergarten through second grade. Through the program, young learners read books such as Down by the Bay by Raffi, Our Marching Band by Lloyd Moss, and explore the arts of rhyming, dancing, singing songs, making up verses, illustrating and more. In addition, Stories and Songs provides school preparation using lessons designed to meet Wisconsin Common Core standards in reading and music.

Paulette Harris
Georgia Regents University

Promoting Literacy through Puppet Plays

Promoting Literacy through Puppet Plays is a joint-effort program between the Georgia Regents University Literacy Center, the GRU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi and three area childcare centers.  The program is designed to build young children’s emergent literacy skills through dramatic play settings. As part of the program, children will engage in puppetry plays designed to enhance the development of early language skills including word recognition and vocabulary building. Participating children will meet twice a week over the course of nine months. 

Mary Lagnaoui
George Mason University

Bilingual Books Project

The Bilingual Books Project aims to help English language learner (ELL) students in third through fifth grades make connections between home and school and encourages an interest in developing academic vocabularies in both first and second languages. As part of the project, participating students will receive bilingual picture dictionaries and picture books. ELL teachers will provide guidance on using the materials—helping students make important associations between home and school while emphasizing literacy and bilingualism as assets to individuals and communities.

Peter Larlham
San Diego State University

Tanzania Literacy Project

The Tanzania Literacy Project is a multi-phased initiative that continues to expand its efforts each year in the small town of Kongwa, Tanzania. As part of the project, the San Diego State University chapter of Phi Kappa Phi will purchase textbooks in Swahili for the Mnyakongo Primary School. The project aims to have a high-quality textbook in front of each child to encourage reading and promote the use of the school library, which was built and filled with the aid of Phi Kappa Phi. In addition to its literacy efforts, the project has helped secure electricity and running water for the campus, refurbished buildings, and purchased goats to provide milk for the school lunch program. 

Mary Moeller
South Dakota State University

Relevant & Real:  Reading and Art at the Boys & Girls Club

The Relevant & Real: Reading and Art at the Boys & Girls Club project provides support to the Moody County Boys & Girls Club's goals for academic tutoring and educational activities for school age youth. The program, created by the South Dakota State University chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, will purchase books and literacy and art supplies for students at the Club. In addition, the program provides an additional component that allows participants to take a campus and art museum tour at SDSU while envisioning themselves as future university students. 

Mary Reynolds
Marshall University

St. John's House Literacy Project

The St. John's House Literacy Project strives to improve the literacy skills of children, aged 3 - 18, who live in a government subsidized housing complex. St. John’s House, which has operated in the housing community for more than 15 years, consists of an after-school program that provides meals and activities geared toward supporting the children’s social, emotional, and educational needs. Marshall University, a partner of the project, supports the program in a variety of ways by providing structured literacy instruction, coordinating after-school activities, donating books to the children’s library and more. 

Kathleen Tice
The University of Texas at Arlington

Open Door Preschool Project:  Bringing Books to English Language Learners 

Open Door, established in 1971, serves preschool children who are English language learners from economically-challenged families. Through a service-learning partnership with The University of Texas at Arlington, children at Open Door receive individual or small-group reading aloud experiences over time. The project takes place during two semesters and includes a family literacy event where each child is given a tote bag that holds the books that were read aloud. Participating university students reflect upon what took place through talking and writing to complete the service-learning experience.

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi