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2018 Literacy Grant Recipients

Mary Elizabeth Ambery, Southeast Missouri State University

Born to Read

Since 2001, when Born to read was first launched, the Southeast Missouri State University chapter has been committed to providing a cherished book to every baby born in Cape Girardeau, Mo., local hospitals. In 2017, the project expanded to add the Perryville, Mo., area. As part of the program, local hospitals are provided with books to be given to parents as they leave with their newborn baby. Chapter members prepare and deliver the books which include a congratulatory note from Phi Kappa Phi that stresses the importance of reading to babies. Born to Read now reaches more than 3,000 babies and their families each year.

Terry Atkinson. East Carolina University

Community Literacy Engagement: Imagination Library Kindergarten Impact Study (ILKIS)

The Early Literacy Coalition of Eastern NC was conceptualized in response to concerns about early literacy. The first ELC initiative, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, was a book distribution program delivering one free, high-quality book monthly to all Pitt County children, ages 0-5. Distribution now includes children statewide, thanks to funding from the North Carolina General Assembly. The Imagination Library Kindergarten Impact Study is tasked with documenting and evaluating DPIL impact. The ILKIS is a 5-year commitment to examining relationships between home-based shared book reading practices and children’s language/literacy skills at kindergarten entry, and how these two factors are influenced by DPIL involvement. The project partners with United Way of Pitt County and Pitt County Schools.

Tina Chaseley, Northern Arizona University

Connecting the Lives of Diverse Populations with Multicultural Literature

The Connecting the Lives of Diverse Populations with Multicultural Literature project is a literacy initiative that strives to create excitement, motivation, and understanding around reading contemporary, culturally diverse literature. As a part of the project, classroom sets of multicultural literature and digital cameras will be purchased to use with credit recovery high school students. Video trailers for books and short stories will be created using the technology tool, Animoto, which will encourage students to find points of connection between their lives and multicultural literature through the use of pictures, music, and words.

Lisa Taylor Cook, Texas A&M University

Children's Libraries for Childcare Programs that Service Low-Income Families

Through the creation of children’s lending libraries, parents will have access to children’s literature that can be borrowed and used at home. The libraries will be located at childcare programs making access convenient for parents and children. Programs will be in several Texas counties including rural areas, and all will accept state subsidies for low-income families. Goals include fostering literacy skills by providing easy access to books and discussion strategies within families and promoting a connection between literacy activities within childcare programs and at home. To foster this connection, teachers and administrators will receive free professional development focused on promoting literacy both within the classroom and at home. The project partners with Tarleton State University.

Steve Elliott, The University of Tennessee at Martin

Measurement Literacy Enrichment Program

The Measurement Literacy Enrichment Program strives to improve students’ concept of measurement using children’s literature.  The program also equips students to perform measurements. Members of the University of Tennessee at Martin chapter of Phi Kappa Phi visit children at the Martin Enrichment Academy, an after-school program that serves children from low income families in Martin, Tennessee. Visits include reading from children’s books and then conducting the measurements suggested by the stories. Primary through middle school students measure length, mass, volume, and density, and get to keep the books, measuring tapes, and rulers.

Amanda J. Hardesty, The Ohio State University 

Ready for Reading 

The St. Bernard Parish Ready for Reading program seeks to increase accessibility and familiarity to reading materials for families with children under the age of 10 in the Smith Elementary School District. Working with the Kiwanis Club of St. Bernard-Arabi, it couples the installation of Little Free Libraries with community reading events at which families can select books, build a family bookshelf, listen as volunteers read stories, and participate in discussions about recommended summer reading. Additionally, the launch of an Imagination Library partnership will deliver new books directly to children’s homes. The program aims to help readers gain literacy skills before they enter school and to stay on track with reading goals.

Benjamin Jacob, Brigham Young University

My Story Matters

The Brigham Young University chapter of Phi Kappa Phi will partner with Refugee Action Network and My Story Matters, community-based, nonprofit organizations, to promote literacy for refugees and immigrants within the community. The project will provide supplies to aid in English as a Second Language classes, as well as publish the unique life stories of the families. Phi Kappa Phi volunteers will interview families and assist with the writing, formatting, and photography for the stories. Once the books are published, members will deliver the books and help the children read them. The books also will be available online for families and others to access.

Christophe Konkobo, Austin Peay State University

Candy for the Mind

Since 2003, Austin Peay State University’s Phi Kappa Phi chapter been involved with the safe Halloween trick-or-treating program, G.H.O.S.T. (Great Halloween Options for Safe Trick-or-Treating), sponsored by the Student Government Association and held on campus. Chapter 191’s contribution to the event is Candy for the Mind. Begun by Dr. Linda Thompson, a Past Chapter President, the early literacy initiative provides books instead of candy to children. Chapter members solicit new or gently used children’s books, or collect funds that can be used to purchase them. Thompson envisioned that the drive could be the catalyst that stimulates a love of reading in children, introducing them to the magic and wonder of books.

Christina McIntyre, Virginia Tech

Skill UP NRV: Neighbors Helping Neighbors

This grant will support Skill UP NRV, an initiative to give adults in the New River Valley, Virginia, the skills they need for workplace success. This program will help adults gain skills to be productive employees and to achieve career goals and family self-sufficiency. Skill UP NRV will enable Literacy Volunteers of the NRV to expand services from literacy tutoring to a diversity of educational and employability skill training options. These expanded programming options are targeted to include instruction in reading, writing, math, pre-GED, English as a Second Language, digital literacy, financial literacy, health literacy, workplace readiness skills, and other job preparation programs to help adults achieve economic independence.  

Amy C. Nickless, Southeast Missouri State University

Book Club Kits for Adult Literacy

Book Club Kits for Adult Literacy will take patron favorites from Wolfner Talking Book and Braille Library’s Book Clubs by Conference Call program to create multisensory book discussion kits. As part of this project, Adult Services staff will create activities and discussion questions to provoke thoughts and draw comparisons about the selected title. The activities will incorporate multisensory elements, such as tactile and scented objects, music, and audio described DVDs to illustrate the books in an accessible format for visually and physically disabled Missourians. The kits, which will also include audiobooks of the selected titles, will be lent to adult care facilities and senior centers throughout the state.

Bethanie C. Pletcher, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Islanders Helping the Early Acceleration of Readers Together (iHeart)

Islanders Helping the Early Acceleration of Readers Together is a tutorial program initiative between the Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi Phi Kappa Phi chapter and Kennedy Elementary School in West Oso Independent School District. Children are referred by their teachers for tutorials because they find literacy tasks difficult and are receiving supplemental instruction under the Response to Intervention model. Undergraduate teacher candidates work with small groups of kindergarten, first-, and second- grade students during the school day. The tutors will use high quality sets of books, Red Rocket Readers, to engage the children in instructional level reading of these high-interest fiction and nonfiction texts.

Hannatu Jumai Sadiq, Michigan State University

Ebira Community Cultural Center

The Ebira Community Cultural Center is a literacy initiative working to foster the love of in the Ebira community in Nigeria. The mission of the center is to create a self-sustainable community and to reignite interest in vocational skills such as weaving, sculpting, pottery, and farming. To achieve this, the project has built a community center where skilled community members teach them to the younger generation. The center also houses a library to foster a reading culture and a sense of creativity among children. The beneficiaries of this program carry out an age-appropriate community service project of their choice monthly.

Kathleen Tice, The University of Texas at Arlington

Open Door Preschool Project: Bringing Books to English Language Learners

Through a service-learning project, university students taking a course in children’s literature read aloud weekly to children who attend a preschool that serves English language learners from working poor families. The project takes place during fall and spring semesters and includes a family literacy event. During the family literacy event, parents come to observe and eat lunch with the children and university students. Each child is given a tote bag that includes the three books that were read aloud that semester. The books contain a Phi Kappa Phi bookplate, and classroom teachers continue reading aloud from a classroom set of books.