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2020 Literacy Grant Recipients

Phi Kappa Phi is proud to present the 2020 Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant recipients. 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.


Kathryn Accurso, University of Massachusetts

REAL Talk! A book club about Race, Education, and Language

REAL Talk (Race, Education, and Language Talk) is an international, intergenerational book club for teachers across North America to help support them in building racial literacies to transform teaching. Every three months, members meet virtually to discuss a book that highlights issues of racial and linguistic diversity in schools and/or society and are challenged to make action-oriented connections to their practice. The goal of REAL Talk is to assist teachers in developing new knowledge, literacies, and relationships in pursuit of anti-racist teaching that does less harm than pedagogies of the past.

Maria R. Barefoot, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Little Free Laundromat Libraries for Southwestern PA

Adults and children using laundromat services often live in low-income areas with a high rental population. Schools and libraries in these areas are often underfunded, further limiting access. Little Free Laundromat Libraries for Southwestern PA addresses opportunity gaps in the community by placing free books for a variety of ages in laundromats facilities.

Brenda L. Beverly, University of South Alabama

Tele-coaching for home early literacy practices: Impact on early literacy skills and parent engagement

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, in 2019, only 28% of Alabama fourth graders were reading at or above proficiency. The grant will support an 8-week parent-training program conducted via tele-coaching. Ten 4-year-old children's parents will facilitate activities in the home that foster print/book knowledge and phonological awareness. Another 10 parents will facilitate vocabulary and story grammar skills. Children’s emergent literacy and spoken language skills and parents’ implementation of the reading strategies will be measured. The project is unique because it fills a gap in home-based early literacy instruction in the Mobile, Alabama, community.

Christina Chester-Fangman, Austin Peay State University

Books: Candy for the Mind

Books: Candy for the Mind, a literacy initiative sponsored by the Austin Peay State University chapter, provides books instead of candy to children in the Clarksville, Tennessee, community who attend the university’s Great Halloween Options for Safe Trick-or-Treating event. Every fall the APSU ΦKΦ chapter collects new and gently used children’s books and funds to purchase additional titles. “We hope that our book giveaway serves as the catalyst that stimulates a love of reading in children, introducing them to the magic and wonder of books,” said Chester-Fangman.

Ralph David Frantzreb, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

The Love of Reading

The Love of Reading Project is a joint literacy initiative between the UNC Charlotte chapters of Phi Kappa Phi and Kappa Delta Pi. It fosters the love of reading for elementary students at two partner sites - Reedy Creek Elementary and Niner University Elementary. The project will consist of two events, one offering in-school readings at both partner sites with the help of student and staff volunteers and the second being a book drive that will assist in expanding classroom libraries through donations and book purchases.

Shelby Garner, Texas Woman's University

Innovation in Digital Learning through an E-Café to Improve Health Literacy among Nursing Students in India

Researchers at Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing and Bangalore Baptist Hospital, located in Bengaluru, India, will collaborate to establish an e-café in the BBH hospital for female nursing students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. The e-café will engage these students in an inclusive environment where innovative technologies will provide valuable digital resources to improve health literacy. BBH recruits qualified young women from rural villages who have little opportunities for higher education and provides scholarships for them to attend the nursing institute.

Karla Guinigundo, Miami University

Near-Peer Mentoring

The Miami University chapter will partner with Blue Manatee Literacy Project and Cincinnati Public School educators to develop curriculum and training for a Near-Peer Mentoring Program, whereby middle school students will work with kindergarten or first graders as role models to provide esteem-building support for reading. Students will receive age- and content-appropriate books from BMLP to encourage continued reading on their own. In addition, they will have the opportunity to meet the authors of the books to help deepen their connections with the stories, discuss their writing and illustrating process, and answer student questions.

Anna Handte-Reinecker, University of Massachusetts

Readers to Leaders: Supporting Literacy in the TCI

The 2017 hurricane season brought extreme damage to the Turks and Caicos Islands, resulting in the loss of many books. The Readers to Leaders Project is an initiative to repopulate the library shelves of South Caicos and seeks to provide teachers and families with the resources needed to enhance literacy. With a goal of expanding and developing perspective through reading, the focus is to provide books with an emphasis on bilingual reading, Caribbean literature, prose literature and other suggested reading materials from the Caribbean Examination Council.

Liberatus J. Rwebugisa, University of Nevada, Reno

The Student Success Center Project: Helping Every Child Succeed Educationally

Inaugurated in 2019, the SSC Project is an academic initiative aimed at fostering student success in rural northwest Tanzania. The purpose of the SSC Project is to help primary school students build and sustain strong, fundamental academic skills and competencies in language literacies, math, and science to improve their learning and achievement through access to free curriculum books and tutoring/mentoring. The grant will help purchase textbooks and renovate the SSC Project Library at the Kagondo A Primary School.

Judy Stiles, Pittsburg State University

Joplin NALA Read Student Success and Retention Program

Established in 1981, Joplin NALA Read, a nonprofit literacy organization, provides lifelong educational opportunities to adult learners, addressing the unique needs of individuals and the Joplin community by providing adults with the knowledge and skills necessary to participate effectively as citizens, workers, family members, and consumers. The mission is to provide tuition-free literacy programs to improve the self-sufficiency of families. The grant will enable adult learners to attend one-on-one or classroom- style tutoring sessions to give them access to a better life and make a positive impact in the community.

Melissa Webb Walton, The University of Alabama

Playing to Read: Teachers and Students Engage With Reading Through Play

The University of Alabama chapter has partnered with Southview Elementary School to execute a multimodal literacy initiative that supports kindergarten teachers as they reintroduce play into the classrooms. This approach to learning will engage the children in social contexts beyond writing and reading into symbolic activities of composing such as socio-dramatic play. As part of this project, early childhood faculty and staff at UA will support kindergarten teachers in choosing classroom materials so they may incorporate play and reading into the learning environment to increase student growth and development.