aasl selects 2008 innovative reading grant recipient

Contact: Melissa Jones
AASL Communications Specialist
(312) 280-4381
For Immediate Release,
May 6, 2008

AASL selects 2008 Innovative Reading Grant recipient

CHICAGO – The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is pleased to announce that Barbara Powell-Schager is the recipient of the 2008 Innovative Reading Grant. Ms. Powell-Schager will receive the award at the AASL Awards Luncheon during the 2008 ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

In a letter of support, Lynne Hutnik, principal of Big Shanty Intermediate School in Kennesaw, Ga., said, "…based upon researched causes of reading problems [Barbara Powell-Schager] has determined that a one-size-fits-all solution will not work. Specifically, Barbara has identified boys as being at particularly high risk for reading problems."

The goal of Powell-Schager's project, entitled "The Boys' Lunch Bunch: Improving At-Risk Boys' Reading," is to increase reading interest and comprehension in at-risk boys by at least 125 points on the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) and at least 10 points on the Georgia Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT). Powell-Schager also hopes the project will increase reading comprehension one grade level. Recruiting male staff, which includes administrators as well as teachers, to serve as mentors and role models, Powell-Schager's project will create boys-only reading clubs that use books that appeal to boys to encourage and interest in reading.

Charles Cook, a fifth-grade teacher at the school and a mentor of the Boys' Lunch Bunch program, said, "I believe her plan is well thought out, and it will really help the boys' self-esteem and improve their reading. I am really looking forward to working on this project next year."

The AASL Innovative Reading Grant is sponsored by Capstone Publishers (Capstone Press, Compass Point Books, Picture Window Books, Stone Arch Books and Red Brick Learning). Established in 2006, the $2,500 AASL Innovative Reading Grant supports the planning and implementation of a unique and innovative program for children that motivates and encourages reading, especially with struggling readers. The AASL Awards Luncheon will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on Monday, June 30, at the Marriott Hotel-Anaheim. The fee to attend is $49. Special guest speaker for the event is award-winning author Wendy Mass. For more information about this event and more AASL programs in Anaheim, visit http://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 media 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 media field.