Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Library of Congress Literacy Award Winners Announced

Library of Congress Literacy Award Winners Announced
Room to Read, SMART, Mother Child Education Foundation Take Prizes

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington today announced at the Library of Congress National Book Festival the winners of the 2014 Library of Congress Literacy Awards, a program originated and sponsored by philanthropist David M. Rubenstein.


The recipients are:
David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000): Room to Read
Room to Read, founded in 2001, believes that world change starts with educated children and that the best way to create long-term systemic change in the developing world is through literacy and gender equality in education. It focuses on literacy as the foundation of all other learning by developing reading skills and the habit of reading among primary-school children. To achieve this goal, Room to Read increases access to culturally relevant, age-appropriate reading materials; increases the effectiveness of instructors teaching literacy skills; and improves the existing school environment so that it is more conducive to learning. The organization also aims to equalize the educational experience for girls by supporting them in completing secondary school with the academic and life skills necessary to succeed in school and beyond. Room to Read’s service area is Africa and Southeast Asia.

The American Prize ($50,000): SMART
The third-grade reading level is widely recognized as a key indicator of a child’s future educational success. A student who cannot read on grade level by third grade is four times less likely to graduate by age 19 than a child who does read proficiently in third grade. In 1992, the Oregon Children’s Foundation created a program to address the growing number of elementary school children who were reading significantly below grade level. Start Making a Reader Today (SMART) now operates at more than 250 program sites throughout the U.S. and serves approximately 9,000 children each year.

The International Prize ($50,000): Mother Child Education Foundation
The Mother Child Education Foundation (AÇEV) was started in 1993 and is the largest literacy organization in Turkey. Its mission is to empower the Turkish people through education and enable them to improve the quality of their lives. It operates a variety of projects designed to address family, adult and early childhood literacy. At the time of AÇEV’s founding, only one in 10 children received any form of preschool education before starting primary school, resulting in large deficits in readiness to learn. AÇEV developed the Mother Child Education Program (MOCEP) for low-income mothers and children without access to preschool education. However, early MOCEP trials revealed that not all participating mothers were literate and therefore many were unable to carry out the collaborative cognitive exercises with their children, 
pushing AÇEV into a complementary area of need, adult literacy.

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