AASL reading grant recipients help students make personal connections with books

Contact: Melissa Jacobsen

AASL Communications Specialist

(312) 280-4381



For Immediate Release

May 4, 2010

CHICAGO – AASL member Myra Oleynik is the recipient of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Innovative Reading Grant. Oleynik and her colleagues Nancy Hobbs and Kristen Sacco created the program PIE, Making Reading Personal Again. The teachers and school librarians are staff members at Bower Hill Elementary School in Venetia, Pa.

PIE, which stands for the Personalized Independent Enrichment program, supports readers of all abilities. The program encourages students to read from genres that may be outside of their comfort zone. After choosing books from 8 different genres, including realistic fiction, fantasy, biography, historical fiction, adventure/mystery, science fiction, poetry and nonfiction, students track their progress through a reading log. After finishing the book, the students complete and share a Story Element Summary (SES), which helps the students highlight the story's characters, setting and plot. After coloring in the PIE chart to show the completion of reading from a particular genre, students begin the process again.

The goals of the program are to enable students to grow into adults who read widely and take a proactive role in their own learning, give students the opportunity to read independently for both enjoyment and information and allow the teacher and school librarian to work collaboratively. The goals and objectives were written to reflect AASL's "Standards for the 21st Century Learner."

"PIE completely fits the goal of the Innovative Reading Grant while carrying out the School Librarian's Role in Reading position statement," said Nancy Baumann, subcommittee chair of the Innovative Reading Grant. "It is a program that can be easily replicated within elementary and middle schools, doesn't single out struggling readers and involves and encourages all students to be active readers throughout the school year. PIE introduces students to the entire library collection, and having the ability to discuss with peers is a very powerful tool for encouraging all students to read and discover books. I plan to make PIE part of my reading program next year."

Sponsored by Capstone Publishers, 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 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.