Ideas for improving literacy through school library grants

Updated April 17, 2017

Many state schools suffer from budget shortages, and unfortunately, school libraries are often one of the first to feel the effects. School library grants can be a useful tool for libraries to overcome budget shortfalls and provide additional programs to help increase student literacy. Many grants are available--it is simply a matter of finding the right one and writing a viable proposal.

Reading Incentives

School library grants aren't always for books. Sometimes school librarians can use grants to fund incentive programs for students. For example, a school library might set a goal for all students to read 10 books each semester, and implement a system to measure student progress. Students who meet the goals are rewarded by getting a gift token or other incentive that is funded by the grant. Librarians can also propose school-wide incentives in the event that the entire campus meets a literacy goal.

High Interest Books

Often school libraries do not have the funding to replenish library shelves with recent books that pique student interests. The library may be forced by its budget to have a bare bones, basic collection. A school library grant can provide a school with the means for the librarian to purchase up-to-date high interest reading materials for the students she serves. Students who read high interest materials consistently show higher levels of reading comprehension, according to Purdue University researchers.

Books for Kids

Ownership of books can help students become more invested in reading. A school library grant can provide books for students to take home and use. First Book, a non-profit organisation that provides books to low-income families, makes community-level grants that support programs that give students their own books. Other grants can provide funds that enable school librarians to purchase books for students to own.

Fund a Tutoring Program

One-on-one tutoring is sometimes all it takes to boost a child's literacy. Apply for a school library grant and propose a program that provides individual tutoring in reading before or after school. The library can develop a framework specifically for tutors to work within a focuses of individual skills which meet the student's needs. Grant funds may also be available to train tutors and to fund a volunteer coordinator position for the program.

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About the Author

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.