As my mind turns to my new career as a school media coordinator, I find myself even more committed to promoting literacy than I have been as a reader, a student, and a teacher. So for those of you who may not have heard of all of them, here are seven resources for literacy activists.
- America's Literacy Directory, http://www.literacydirectory.org/ Use this directory, provided by the National Institute for Literacy, to find local literacy programs. You can search for programs for children or adults, programs for employers, Learning Disability organizations, and volunteer opportunities.
- First Book, http://www.firstbook.org/ First Book provides access to books to children who might not otherwise have it. Local advisory boards select programs to receive book grants and then work to fulfill those grants through fund-raising and other activities. The site provides resources for individuals interested in finding or starting an advisory board. The Campus Advisory Board program provides college and university students the opportunity to directly make a difference.
- Kids Need to Read, http://www.kidsneedtoread.org Founded by actor Nathan Fillion and author P. J. Haarsma, KNTR donates books to schools which may lack funds to develop their own libraries and to clinics which then give the books to low-income families. This organization is a favorite of pop culture and sci fi/fantasy fans, as evidenced by its recent success in auctioning a photo of the cast of the online web series, The Guild.
- The National Center for Family Literacy, http://www.famlit.org While many organizations focus on providing support for literacy in public spaces like schools and libraries, NCFL focuses on the place where most of us gain our love of reading: the home. NCFL's site provides listings of local family literacy programs which provide training to parents on how to read with their children, as well as an action center which sends out advocacy notices and provides information about government policies affecting literacy.
- The National Institute for Literacy, http://www.nifl.gov/ NIL is a government agency established by the National Literacy Act in 1991. The website provides information on literacy for all ages, as well as publications, grant listings, and several literacy-related online discussion lists.
- Reading is Fundamental, http://www.rif.org/ RIF sponsors several initiatives to promote literacy and provides information for educators, parents, and kids on subjects like motivating kids to read and choosing good books. RIF also frequently emails action alerts and includes a list of volunteer opportunities. My favorite part of the site is the Generation RIF page, a place for adults who benefited from the program in their childhood to reminisce through text and photos.
- Share a Story, Shape a Future, http://shareastory-shapeafuture.blogspot.com/ This kidlitosphere initiative, inspired by Jen Robinson's exploration at her blog of how we can encourage reading aloud, now has its own blog. It includes an archive of the blog tour which kicked off the program, as well as a Literacy Resource Kit, downloadable bookmarks, and promotional materials for the program.
Do you have any resources to add to the list? Please share them in the comments!
UPDATE! Other Resources for literacy activists include: Everybody Wins, http://www.everybodywins.org/, dedicated to building the skills and love of reading among low-income elementary school students.
Reading Rockets, http://www.readingrockets.org, a multimedia project that includes television programs, online services, and professional development opportunities.
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