Grand Valley State University College of Education Michigan Literacy Project – The Winner is Rebekah Nagy
The Michigan Literacy Project was developed by faculty and staff in the College of Education with the purpose of supporting our COE graduates as they begin their teaching careers.
Often when new teachers begin their careers, they are thrilled to be landing that first teaching position. They arrive with fresh ideas and new energy but soon find that despite their idealistic outlooks, their jobs come with a big empty classrooms and little or no funding available for some of the very basic tools to provide a quality education to their students. Beginning a teaching career can be daunting in and of itself but when a new teacher is faced with paying for classroom basics, it can be simply overwhelming. We recognize the importance of the availability of quality, children’s literature in each classroom, yet it often takes new teachers several years of personal spending to develop a functional classroom library.
The Grand Valley State University College of Education Michigan Literacy Project (MLP) was developed to address the needs of our recent graduates and their young students. MLP’s mission is to provide quality classroom libraries to recent College of Education graduates teaching 3 years or less in a K-5 general education classroom in an underserved Michigan public school districts across the state.
MLP’s goal is to provide rich and meaningful encounters with quality children’s literature that will encourage students’ love of reading first. Fostering joy and wonder for the written word will help children develop into adults who are curious and insightful and who will use that curiosity to expand their knowledge and passion for the betterment of society.
Research shows the more books children have ready access to, the better readers and life-long learners they will become. Regular exposure to quality children’s literature in multiple genres will foster a healthy love and respect for the written word and will lay the groundwork for bringing up Michigan’s next generation of forward-thinking, creative and skilled workers and entrepreneurs.
With the help of a $2,500 grant from The Meemic Foundation, the 2013-2014 Michigan Literacy Project pilot program provided classroom libraries to six Michigan classrooms. Recently MLP received a $20,000 grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Outstate Michigan that will fund the purchase of 45 classroom libraries over a 3-year period. College of Education graduates with elementary teaching certificates were notified of the grant opportunity. 15 classroom library grant winners were identified for the 2015-16 academic year. This process will be repeated in 2016-17 and again 2017-18.