Alums awarded classroom libraries through grant
COE alums Kelsey Curlett and Annie Kim Sytsma recently received classroom library grants as part of the Book Love Foundation's 35th annual classroom library grant awards. Since 2013, the Book Love Foundation has given $141,000 in grants for books to classroom teachers. Ten 500-book libraries were granted to middle and high school English Language Arts teachers from the United States and Canada in 2016, and Curlett was among the ten teachers selected. Curlett is a high school teacher in Zeeland, Michigan. Curlett presents at state conferences and said, “Providing me with this grant won’t just help me and my students, it has the potential to change our school climate.”
In addition, the Foundation also presented Sytsma with one of six $500 grants to be used in developing her classroom library. Sytsma currently works as a middle school teacher in Cedar Springs, Michigan.
The mission of the Book Love Foundation is to help teachers engage all students in reading. Penny Kittle, President and Founder of the Book Love Foundation explains, “The Foundation works with Booksource to select books which cover a wide range of genres that are of high interest to student readers,” said Kittle. “The books are then chosen by the grant winner from our curated list of hundreds of titles.”
“Each of our grant winners has demonstrated a commitment to developing a rich reading life in even the most reluctant readers. Most of our grant winners teach in high poverty areas, and all of our grant winners have spent their own money to purchase books to build their libraries,” reported Kittle. “We want to support their hard work and their dedication to their students.”
“Research has repeatedly shown that students who are given choice in reading and time to read increase their interest in books, improve their vocabulary and are better prepared for the challenges of post-secondary education,” notes Kittle.