Stefanie Throndson receives AASL Innovative Reading Grant

For Immediate Release
Thu, 04/16/2020


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)


CHICAGO – Stefanie Throndson, district librarian at New Hampton Elementary in New Hampton, Iowa, is the recipient of the 2020 American Association of School Librarians’ (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.

“Stefanie Throndson’s project to engage third graders in reading about conservation issues around the world will get them thinking about how they can make things better in their own communities,” said AASL President Mary Keeling. “I love that this project incorporates nonfiction, field trips to local sites, and service learning!”

“Committee members were enthusiastic about Stefanie’s project because it encourages third-grade learners to discover the possibility of being a change-maker and creating something that could truly benefit the planet and society,” said Susan Yutzey, award committee chair. “The project promotes nonfiction reading with an environmental focus and hands-on activities led by the school librarian that excites learners and builds engagement in a social justice issue.”

Throndson’s project, Becoming Global Ambassadors, is two-pronged. She strives to not only increase reading comprehension, but also help her learners be aware of global issues through the reading of nonfiction text. By asking “How can we become global ambassadors when it comes to global issues?” Throndson hopes to engage her third-grade students by brainstorming ways they can solve world problems. Students will choose an issue and then research, design, create, plan a way to communicate their findings to the public. Some of the communication vehicles include podcasts, YouTube videos, fundraising initiatives, posters, or newspapers.

The AASL award winners will be honored during a virtual AASL Awards Ceremony during the fall of 2020. The virtual ceremony will replace the live ceremony traditionally presented during the ALA Annual Conference. Out of concern for the health and safety of all members of the community, the ALA Executive Board felt it was important to cancel the 2020 conference taking place in Chicago. Details for the virtual ceremony will be shared as they are finalized. 

The American Association of School Librarians,, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), empowers leaders to transform teaching and learning.