Andrea Catania-Stephenson receives AASL Innovative Reading Grant

For Immediate Release
Tue, 04/12/2016


Jennifer Habley

Manager, Web Communications

American Association of School Librarians (AASL)


CHICAGO – Andrea Catania-Stephenson, school librarian at El Camino Fundamental High School in Sacramento, California, is the recipient of the 2016 American Association of School Librarian’s (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.

The goal of Catania-Stephenson’s program, Enhancing Literature through Personal Expression, is to improve reading scores across the freshmen level classes at El Camino High School. She also hopes to foster an appreciation for reading while also improving students’ ability to discuss, evaluate and respond to literature. Catania-Stephenson will collaborate with the freshman English teachers to expand the existing literary program at El Camino and further integrate the school library in the work of promoting literacy development.

Grant funds will allow Catania-Stephenson to purchase copies of high interest young adult novels representing a wide range of reading abilities. Book discussions will take place during the weekly library study group and/or daily during English class. The students’ final project will be a video book talk that accurately and effectively “pitches” the book to other students. The book talks will be published on a district-wide technical interface modeled after Facebook, which will allow students to communicate about reading in a social space familiar, comfortable and safe for all students. Upon success of this program, Catania-Stephenson hopes to create reading mentors for all incoming freshmen.

“Andrea’s proposal really resonated with the committee,” said Kelly Hincks, award committee chair. “The project supports student learning by fostering a love for reading. It also allows students to connect reading to their interests and provides support for their diverse learning levels. Students will be given the chance to develop their discussion and collaborative working skills due to having access to books that engage them.”

The AASL award winners will be honored at the AASL Awards Ceremony during the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando. The ceremony will be held from 9 – 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 25. All are welcome to celebrate the accomplishments of their peers during this recognition event taking place prior to the AASL President’s Program.

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