We ask that you please make a donation to Judith’s Reading Room, in support of our ongoing recognition of what is being accomplished in the great world of literacy, as well as funding our shipment of children’s books, both domestically and internationally.
Congratulations to Chris McGilvery for meriting this coverage!!
Email from 2020 Grand Prize Winner Chris McGilvery!
Hope you are having a good week. I am so honored to be the grand prize winner and represent Judith Krug’s legacy. What an honor. Please let the board know how appreciative I am and look forward to living out her legacy for my lifetime. 🙂 Have a great day!
***** see below for news links *****
Kindly, Chris McGilvery
Founder and Executive Director
Vicky Xanthopoulou- “Let’s Play Book” Potamia, North Greece
Children in the village of Potamia on Thassos Island in North Greece have little access to books; without a library, it had been difficult for the community to foster solid reading skills. That’s why Vicky, an elementary school teacher, jumped into action. She created “Let’s Play Book,” which encourages children to interpret the world around them through reading and playing with books that she and other local authors have created.
In her honor, we announce the establishment of its 98th library in Vicky’s village of Potamia, starting with a donation of 75 children’s books.
We also happily recognize Vicky and her “Let’s Play Book” program as winner of the 2019 Judith’s Award.
Let’s play book (LPB) is a reading promotion project based on sociocultural, constructivist, ecological systems and experiental theories of learning. LPB focuses on the social and cultural dimensions of learning and promotes equal opportunities for all students. Children are encouraged to understand and interpret the world around them through reading and playing with books. By setting the book at the center of the learning process and through a diverse range of reading animations I am trying to create social landscapes inside the classroom which stimulate children and incite them to interact with each other.
I am hugely honored to receive ‘Judith’s Award’ by Judith’s Reading Room whose visionary work and ideals appeal to the highest of my aspirations.
Alvin Irby, a passionate social entrepreneur and former teacher, had a simple idea: why not use the time you get your hair cut to build literacy skills? And with a laser-beam focus, Barbershop Books was born. Irby’s community-based program creates inviting, child-friendly reading spaces in urban barbershops for young black boys.
Originally developed in Harlem, Barbershop Books has spread to 140 barbershops (and counting!) across more than 30 cities and 20 states, reaching 5,600 boys per month.
We warmly honor Alvin Irby as the Grand Prize winner of the 2019 Freedom Through Literacy Award for his creative approach to bring culturally-relevant, age-appropriate, and gender-responsive books to foster literacy skills and a love for reading amongst young black boys.
East Java is a place where a great story of a great story of IMPACT is told, starting with a seed and watching it grow.
Arif Darmawan is an 2015 Freedom Through Literacy Award HONORABLE MENTIONS winner. At the time of the award, Arif was credited with helping promote literacy and education by developing 55 libraries with more than 42,000 books and programs that plant the seeds of leadership, environmental consciousness and community connection in East Java, Indonesia through the organization The World is Just a Book Away. These libraries impacted 28,000 Indonesian school children.
NOW, WIJABA is working in close partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), WIJABA is in the process of introducing the Jane Goodall Institute’s “Roots & Shoots” environmental awareness program across WIJABA network libraries in Sidoarjo (East Java) and Padang (West Sumatra), Indonesia.
Matthew Weimann and Julia Dweck “Release Your Fireflies” — Macungie, Pa
Matthew Weinmann and Julia Dweck (shown here with Ibiyinka Alao)
“Release Your Fireflies” is best described as a storytelling-movement. Matthew Weimann and Julia Dweck, two ‘stellar’ teachers according to their principal, inspired their students in grades 3-5 to interpret Ibi’s true story. The children wrote an award winning picture book entitled, “Ibi’s Fireflies,” published by Scholastic. The goal of “Release Your Fireflies” is to equip children to navigate the world through storytelling, paving the way for an appreciation of human literature. Matt and Julia’s project promotes storytelling inside and outside the classroom — nurturing literacy skills, creative thinking, communication, empathy, increased confidence and self-esteem. The duo, described as “true pioneers in the pursuit of a global classroom of storytellers,” created a website where teachers can access a library of storytelling curriculum that encourages children to share their stories and reflect on them through prompts and questions. “Ibi’s Fireflies,” is under consideration by producer Tim Burton, as a full-length animated feature.
UN Art Ambassador Ibiyinka Alao’s true life story provided the inspiration for the project.
Julia Dweck — “Nelson Mandela once said, ‘That we are only people, because of the people.’ This is the spirit of ubuntu embodied in the Freedom Through Literacy Award. Our mission to share stories is a natural extension of this philosophy. After all, a story is only a story when there is someone there to listen.”
Matthew Weimann —“We are super excited to share this project with the world and help students learn and practice great story-telling. This prize will help us achieve our dreams of connecting with teachers and students from all walks of like and roads in distant lands.”
Carin Mileshosky “FleetwoodSUMMER 2018”— Fleetwood, Pa
Fleetwood Area Public Librarian Carin Mileshosky is the driving force behind this community’s effort to counter-attack the syndrome known as ‘summer slide’ where students can lose up to 2 months of learning, adding up to a full year behind grade level by the time they reach 5th grade. Carin constantly champions the fact that a public library has an important role to play in the community. This summer her initiatives attracted over 180 patrons by offering quality service, information and new technology while promoting an early and lifelong love of learning. It is no wonder that the Fleetwood Library earned the PA FORWARD Library Association’s “Gold Star Library” designation. Carin is committed to providing her community with resources, programs, and opportunities to grow as readers — to be inspired, curious and to become successful lifelong learners. She believes that by promoting all facets of literacy, she can provide her patrons the freedom to become whom they want to be and to help make their dreams a reality.
Carin Mileshosky — “After graduating from college in 1999, I did not immediately set out to become a Librarian. It was a gradual realization that came about after many years of searching for what I wanted to be when I grew up. Once I finally began my career in the library world, it seemed such an easy decision and I still often wonder what took me so long. The title of this award speaks directly to my mission as a Librarian.”
Christopher Dew “Mini-Library for Lehigh Valley H.O.P.E.”— Easton, Pa
Christopher established his library at Lehigh Valley H.O.P.E., an organization that provides clothes and household goods to the homeless. He did this as his Boy Scout’s of America Eagle Project, making him the youngest recipient of a Judith’s Reading Room Freedom Through Literacy Award. Under his leadership, Chris collaborated with other Boy Scouts to build and stain bookcases. He organized a book drive that resulted in the collection of over 600 books. Finally, he obtained furniture and a rug to turn his mini-library into a comfortable reading area. Christopher acknowledges that when you have nothing, the focus is on clothes, food — the basics. For some, books are generally not thought of as a basic need. He disagrees. Chris believes that while literacy is the foundation for education, access is the key element for literacy. Homeless families, whose needs are so great, also need to have access to books, especially children’s books so that they can expand their imagination and see what the world has to offer.
Christopher Dew — “While literacy is the foundation for education, access is the key element for literacy. Literacy is 100% dependent on having access to any kind of reading material. When I found out I was being recognized by Judith’s Reading Room, I was so shocked that I was actually speechless. I’m not even sure how I responded because I really couldn’t believe it.”
2018 Board Option $300
Ana Ramirez Luhrs “The Leadership Center Library”— Zambrano, Honduras
Ana Ramirez Luhrs
Lafayette College Skillman Librarian, Ana Luhrs, recently led a group of students to The Leadership Center (TLC) to Zambrano, Honduras to work side-by-side with 25 hand-picked young women eager to develop business and leadership skills. The goal of TLC is to educate, train and develop a new generation of female leaders by providing English immersion, business seminars and leadership training. Nominated by teachers, pastors, community leaders and government officials, this elite group of women, ranging in age from 18-29, watched as Ana curated the fledgling library and learned the importance of creating a culture of reading for pleasure. During Ana’s tenure at TLC, she noticed the gaps in genres that she felt would enhance the students’ experience. Ana has been selected to lead another group of Lafayette College students to TLC in January 2019 where they will hand-carry books to establish the 97th Judith’s Reading Room library in our organization’s 20th country!
Ana Luhrs — “Judith Krug fervently believed in the power of books and their ability to transform lives. With this award, I am honored to carry this message back to the young women leaders of The Leadership Center who are transforming their lives and their communities through education.”
2018 Board Option $200
Cheryl Stoner-Gutshall “Outdoor Education Book” — York, Pa
Cheryl, an 18-year veteran fifth grade science and social studies teacher, is also responsible for the Dover School District’s common core standards for non-fiction. Brilliantly dovetailing these two responsibilities into the “Outdoor Education Book,”she teaches every 5th grader in the district how to write and publish non-fiction e-books using I-Pads. The outdoor education program covers such diverse topics as stream and pollinator studies, vermi-composting and waste water treatment. Using the Book Creator app, students use their notes, photos and videos to compose a book (see above) about their 2 1/2 day outdoor education adventure. Books are then posted on a digital portfolio, shared district-wide. The book is the culmination of all that the students have learned about non-fiction writing.
Cheryl Stoner-Gutshall — “It is very exciting to have the Outdoor Education of Dover School District recognized by this global non-profit organization. I have always known that the Outdoor Education program was special, but now I know others do too.”
2018 Board Option $200
Marsha Townsend “Bringing Up a Bookworm”— Leesport, Pa
Marsha Townsend (left)
“Bringing Up a Bookworm,” a nonprofit initiative by 4th grade teacher Marsha Townsend, educates expectant parents about the value of reading aloud to their child even before he/she is born! Marsha and friends fill literacy-rich gift bags and deliver them to obstetricians’ offices. The doctors and nurses — wholeheartedly trusted by parents-to-be — hand the bags to their patients along with supportive ideas about the importance of reading to their babies and children. The gift bag contains a copy of Reading Magic: How Reading Aloud to Our Children will Change their Lives; a children’s board book and information about the Berks County Library system. Marsha champions the need to read aloud to newborns, infants and toddlers. She acknowledges that read-aloud time provides the basics of how a book works, the language of books, an abundance of vocabulary and bonding time with parents.
Marsha Townsend — “Both the skills for reading and the love of reading can start to develop at birth.”
The documentary, “Cracking Open the Universe,” you are about to view, is emblematic of the mission of Judith’s Reading Room, the Producer of this film. This film, as the embodiment of that mission, “Freedom Through Literacy,” demonstrates the sociological impact of literacy to promote peaceful human interaction. The vehicle employed to facilitate that peaceful human interaction is the Book Club, and the empowering fuel is Literacy.
Copyright 2015 by Judith’s Reading Room
Directed and Edited by Joel Vargas
To learn more about Judith’s Reading Room and its work to recognize and support those whose mission it is to promote and spread literacy, please visit www.judithsreadingroom.org. Thank you.
On Dec. 22 Judith’s Reading Room shipped two boxes of children’s books to the amphibious carrier the USS CARL VINSON (CVN 70), home to 5,000 troops. This first shipment will help establish a children’s book resource center to support the Navy’s program, “United Through Reading,” which allows sailors to read a book aloud, be taped, and have the tape sent home. According to naval sources, this program is the #1 morale booster for sailors. For those sailors whose wives give birth while they are out to sea, the tape recording of their voice is the first time a newborn can hear their father’s voice. A Judith’s Reading Room library will be officially dedicated on the carrier in early 2015.