Three organizations working to expand literacy and promote reading in the United States and worldwide were awarded the 2018 Library of Congress Literacy Awards at the National Book Festival gala, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced tonight.
Hayden and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein awarded the top prizes to: Reading Is Fundamental of Washington, D.C.; East Side Community School of New York City; and Instituto Pedagógico para Problemas del Lenguaje of Mexico City.
The Literacy Awards, originated by Rubenstein in 2013, honor organizations doing exemplary, innovative and replicable work, and they spotlight the need for the global community to unite in working for universal literacy.
“Literacy empowers people around the world, giving them the chance for learning, fulfillment and participation in civic life,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “Thanks to the generosity of David Rubenstein, the Library of Congress is proud to honor these innovative and exemplary organizations working to raise reading levels. We look forward to their ongoing progress in building a culture of reading.”
Prizes and Recipients
David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000)
Reading Is Fundamental, Washington, D.C.
Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) works to create a literate America by inspiring a passion for reading among all children, by providing quality content and engaging communities in the solution to give every child the fundamentals for success. Founded in 1966, RIF is a national nonprofit focused on children’s literacy and, in partnership with a grassroots network of volunteers in schools and communities nationwide, has distributed more than 415 million books and affected the lives of more than 40 million children. Signature programs and resources include: Books for Ownership, enabling children to select age-appropriate books to own; Read for Success, an intervention program addressing literacy backslide during the summer months; Literacy Central, a free digital site for supplemental learning resources aligned with favorite children’s books; Literacy Network, a portal for local literacy partners; and the Reading Log App, used to track and share time spent reading.
American Prize ($50,000)
East Side Community School, New York City
East Side Community School is a 6-12th-grade Title I public school in New York City. During a time when the national focus on high-stakes standardized tests has caused many schools to focus on test prep and quick fixes that may affect students’ interest in reading, East Side has responded differently by creating and sustaining an independent reading program where students read on average over 40 books each year, improve literacy skills, address their social-emotional and political needs through literature, and fall in love with reading. Strong reading instruction, daily extended time to read inside and outside of school, exposure to appealing books and choice, book clubs, author visits, constant conversations around books and a full commitment from all stakeholders has made East Side a national model for the capacity of schools to create a powerful culture of reading.
International Prize ($50,000
Instituto Pedagógico para Problemas del Lenguaje, Mexico City
Instituto Pedagógico para Problemas del Lenguaje (IPPLIAP) is a nonprofit organization founded 50 years ago that is dedicated to supporting deaf children and children with language and learning disabilities, primarily from impoverished families, through educational programs and after-school support. IPPLIAP carries out its mission through specialized programs that guarantee full access to education for these children with literacy at their core, by holding continual reading and writing workshops with children and striving for them to learn the joys of reading, writing and how to become lifelong learners. IPPLIAP believes that literacy is the vehicle to guide any child, to build rational and critical thinking, and to reach a better understanding of themselves and of the complex world in which they live.
The Library of Congress Literacy Awards program also is honoring 15 organizations for their implementation of best practices in literacy promotion. These organizations are:
- America SCORES, New York City
- Fundación A Mano Manaba, Jama, Ecuador
- Learning Ally, Princeton, New Jersey
- Mango Tree Literacy Lab, Lira, Uganda
- Minnesota Literacy Council, St. Paul, Minnesota
- Philadelphia Office of Adult Education, Philadelphia
- Project Read, Provo, Utah
- ProLiteracy Worldwide, Syracuse, New York
- Reach Education, Inc., Washington, D.C.
- Resources for the Blind, Quezon City, Philippines
- Sesame Workshop India Trust, New Delhi, India
- Transformemos Fundación Para El Desarrollo Social, Cundinamarca, Colombia
- Umuhuza, Kigali, Rwanda
- Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2), Washington, D.C.
- World Possible, Irvine, California
Rubenstein is the co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group. He is a major benefactor of the Library of Congress and the chairman of the Library’s lead donor group, the James Madison Council.
The Library of Congress Literacy Awards are administered by the Library’s Center for the Book, which was created in 1977 by Congress to “stimulate public interest in books and reading.” A public-private partnership, the center sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages, nationally and internationally. The center provides leadership for affiliated state centers for the book and nonprofit reading-promotion partners and plays a key role in the Library’s annual National Book Festival. More information on the awards is available at: read.gov/literacyawards.
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