CHICAGO – Alison Kirkpatrick, school librarian at River Road High School in Amarillo, Texas, is the recipient of the 2017 American Association of School Librarian’s (AASL) Innovative Reading Grant. Sponsored by Capstone, the $2,500 grant supports the planning and implementation of a unique and innovative program for children that motivates and encourages reading, especially with struggling readers.
The goal of Kirkpatrick’s program, Books4Keeps: K-6 Book Drive, is to prevent summer slide and promote academic achievement for River Road Independent School District's most economically disadvantaged students in grades K-6. In the program’s inaugural year, Kirkpatrick coordinated fundraising events, solicited monetary donations, and sought donations of gently used books. This resulted in a collection of more than 2,400 books for the “book drive book fair” and 152 River Road students were allowed to select 12 books to not only read over the summer, but to keep permanently.
A post-summer survey revealed overwhelmingly positive results. Sixty-seven percent of participating students reported reading all the books they received, and 73 percent indicated they had read more over the summer than ever before. Students also reported sharing books with friends and family.
Using the AASL grant funds, Kirkpatrick plans to expand the program prior to the 2017 summer break. Not only will she increase the number of participating students to 200, but she also plans to bring reading materials to all members of the economically disadvantaged households so siblings will also have access. Her goal is to see an increase in of summer reading of 75 percent and improved scores on the 2017 state reading test.
The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony & President’s Program during the 2017 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. The ceremony will be held from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Saturday, June 24. All are welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers during this recognition event.
The American Association of School Librarians www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.