Literacy grant gives boost to summer reading program

Children can read with Dr. Barkley, a certified therapy dog.

With the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library summer reading program already in full swing, library staff learned in early June that the Dollar General Literacy Foundation had awarded the library a $2,000 Summer Reading Grant to support early literacy.

So far, $800 has been spent to buy books that will be given away when children sign up for summer reading. The grant will also support summer reading programming, including Books and Barks, where children can sign up to read with a certified therapy dog, Dr. Barkley, at the Noble Neighborhood Library on July 18 and Aug. 15.

“We are thrilled to have received this funding for our summer reading program, as it will provide more incentives for children who are new and emerging readers,” said Beth Hatch, special projects manager for Heights Libraries, who applied for the grant.

The summer reading program, “100 Years of Stories,” runs through Aug. 7 for children and teens, and through Sept. 8 for adults. The children's program is designed to encourage children and families to practice reading and early literacy skills throughout the summer, to avoid summer learning loss and help prepare for the upcoming school year. Children will have nine weeks to complete their activity and reading goals. Afterward, they can enter a raffle for a book-themed basket and receive a special prize.

“Consistent with our mission of serving others, we are excited to provide Heights Libraries with funding to further literacy and education across their community,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s CEO. “It is always so exciting to see the true and meaningful impact the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has on both children and adults looking to improve their lives through literacy.”

Sam Lapides, youth services manager at Heights Libraries, is excited about this gift. “We’ve had more than 600 people sign up for summer reading already, and it’s only about half way through.”

Heights Libraries summer reading program is also participating in a project of the Public Library Association’s Project Outcome. “This is a survey that we’ll send out at the end of summer reading, to parents of emerging readers,” said Lapides. “The idea is to combine data from many libraries to compare your library nationally, and see what the library can do to help improve reading, and early literacy in particular. It’ll also help us set a bench mark for having even stronger efforts next year.”

Julia Murphy

Julia Murphy is the marketing and volunteer coordinator for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.

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Volume 9, Issue 7, Posted 10:51 AM, 06.21.2016