Karen Snay receives AASL Innovative Reading Grant

For Immediate Release
Thu, 05/06/2021


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)



CHICAGO – Karen Snay, district media specialist at South Elementary School in St. Peter, Minnesota, is the recipient of the 2021 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.

Snay’s project, the "Buy into Reading Bookstore,” has two goals. The first is to assist the economically diverse families of South Elementary in the creation of home libraries. The second is to help the parents/caregivers of those families develop an understanding of how children gain literacy skills at home as well as at school. Using grant funds, the bookstore will be stocked with current titles for kindergarten and first-grade learners. Students will be able to “buy” books at the bookstore with “book bucks,” which students earn by telling someone in the school (teacher, paraprofessional, custodian, secretary, etc.) about a book they have read or was read to them at home.

The second facet of Snay’s project includes offering literacy nights to parents and caregivers. Collaborating with the reading experts in the school, the literacy nights will focus on helping parents promote literacy at home with activities like reading together, talking, singing, and/or playing rhyming games. These events will be hosted four times per school year.

“I am so grateful to receive the AASL Innovative Reading Grant,” said Snay. “I firmly believe in the power of books to change lives, and this grant will allow kiddos at South Elementary to grow and learn with more than just library books. With this grant, students will be able to build their own libraries at home and their parents will have the chance to practice literacy strategies that will help them help their kids love books.”

“The committee loved the ‘Buy into Reading Bookstore’ because we think it is an excellent way to get entire families involved in reading,” said Alexa Lalejini, grant committee chair. “Helping families build home libraries while also providing events at school to teach parents how to promote literacy at home is an innovative idea that can easily be replicated by other AASL members. We are very excited to see how Karen and her students are rewarded with this wonderful program and we hope it will encourage others to promote family literacy at their schools!”

The AASL award winners will be recognized during the 2021 AASL National Conference taking place October 21-23 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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