CHICAGO — Kristine Klopp’s project, “Square Off for Reading!,” is the 2012 recipient of the American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) Innovative Reading Grant. Sponsored by Capstone, this grant of $2,500 supports the planning and implementation of a unique and innovative program for children that motivates and encourages reading, especially with struggling readers.
The “Square Off for Reading!” project will pair Klopp, the school librarian at Lindbergh Elementary School in Madison, Wis., with the school's educational specialist to provide a fun and challenging summer reading program. A primary goal of the project is to demonstrate that reading proficiency levels of the participating students can be sustained through the summer reading program. Additionally, the project also looks to increase the reading proficiency and comprehension of half the students who consistently participate in the program.
The project addresses a real need for the student population at Lindbergh, which is facing numerous challenges and obstacles when it comes to increasing its reading skills. A large percentage of students live in poverty and in homes where English is not spoken and is not their first language. Because many parents work two or three jobs and may not be literate themselves, students must read on their own without any adult assistance. Due to these adversities, Lindbergh teachers find that student literacy levels routinely decline over the summer.
“Square Off for Reading!” will take place during the summer of 2012 and consist of two four-week sessions. During these sessions, the school library at Lindbergh will be open for students during late afternoons/early evenings two days a week. With input from the school's teachers and reading specialist, Klopp and the educational specialist will present students with interactive and age-appropriate reading activities. A Moodle site will be set up for students to discuss their books online with others in the program and Klopp and the educational specialist will create blog posts each week to introduce one or two books from the program. During the final week of the program, the students will compete in a “Square Off” contest that will test students’ knowledge of the books they read. To track reading proficiency, a pre- and post-test will be given to participating students.
Klopp and other AASL award winners will be honored at AASL's Awards Luncheon during ALA's 2012 Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif. The luncheon will be held Monday, June 25. Carmen Agra Deedy, best-selling author and ardent supporter of libraries, will attend the ceremony courtesy of Peachtree Publishing. Ticket information can be found on the AASL website at www.ala.org/aasl/annual.
The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.