Written by Denise Gary
Photographs © Bruce Matsunaga and Denise Gary

Kids Need to Read has been awarded a $2,020 grant from National Home Library Foundation to be used toward Reading Revolution, our pilot program aimed at increasing literacy rates and decreasing dropout rates among middle school students. Kids Need to Read and Arizona State University have been working together with ASU Preparatory Academy to develop the innovative program, which launched in September.

The National Home Library Foundation funds have been used to purchase hardcover class sets of twelve titles for English language arts literacy circles. The books will help inspire students to overcome adversity and to seek peaceful resolutions to conflicts, while correlating to their studies of World War II during social studies classes. According to Executive Director Joan Sahlgren, this objective appealed greatly to National Home Library Foundation:

Board members were happy to hear about your dedication to teaching middle school children peaceful conflict resolution and about overcoming adversity.

The books will be paired up by theme similarities at two different reading levels. ASU Preparatory Academy English teacher Andrea Enger describes the goals of this particular unit of study:

Students will choose a pair of books to read. They will start out with an easier read to get a feel for the symbols, motif or theme represented. Students will then move on to a harder book that has similar symbols, motifs, or themes. This will serve as an outstanding exercise for their brains: How is survival depicted in one novel as opposed to the other? What are ways the characters in both books overcame adversity? Does a rose always mean the same thing when presented in literature?

Books used in this unit include:

Does My Head Look Big in This? – Abdel-Fattah, Randa
Esperanza Rising – Ryan, Pam Munoz
Habibi – Nye, Naomi Shihab
Letters from Rifka – Hesse, Karen
Patron Saint of Butterflies – Galante, Cecilia
Tangerine – Bloor, Edward
Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood – Barakat, Ibtisam
Bluford High: The Bully – Schraff, Anne E.
The Chocolate War – Cormier, Robert
The Hunger Games trilogy (3 titles) – Collins, Suzanne

ASU Preparatory Academy reported a substantial increase in reading self-motivation during the first unit of study produced by Reading Revolution. Kids Need to Read and Arizona State University sincerely thank National Home Library Foundation for funding our next unit of study for our partners at ASU Preparatory Academy, as we all endeavor to build a better future for their enthusiastic students.

Kids Need to Read is receiving additional grant funding to continue developing Reading Revolution. Future plans call for the expansion of this pilot program throughout the United States in middle schools seeking to inspire their students with cutting-edge approaches to literacy improvement and reduced dropout rates.

What you do is so important. Literacy lifts us all up. – Joan Sahlgren, Executive Director, National Home Library Foundation

Reading Revolution Program Partners

Arizona State University
ASU Preparatory Academy
Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation
Avnet Contributions Council
Carus Publishing
National Home Library Foundation
Skype Limited

Learn more about Reading Revolution:

Related Blog: Reading Revolution: Stupendous Student Softwire Presentation

Related Blog: KNTR and ASU Youth Literacy Initiative Kickoff was “Out of this World”

Related Blog: Kids Sign Reading Pledge Pumpkins at ASU Prep Fall Festival

Press Release: Kids Need to Read and Arizona State University Launch Innovative Youth Literacy Program

Video: Student Softwire Presentation at ASU Preparatory Academy, Part 1

Video: Student Softwire Presentation at ASU Preparatory Academy, Part 2

Video: Aliens Land at ASU Preparatory Academy


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