Literacy Awards to Give $30,000 to Libraries

By Amanda Luong
Amanda Luong
Amanda Luong
December 2, 2011 Updated: December 2, 2011
Maria Ruiz helps 10 year-old son Antonio with a question

For the third year, the National Center for Families and Literacy will award three libraries $10,000 in grants for exceptional family literacy programs.

The Center’s stated mission to inspire and engage families “in the pursuit of education and learning together,” is the basis of their Better World Books/NCFL Libraries and Families Award.

Families learning together are an essential part of the Center’s work.

“Parents being involved, doesn’t matter if they have a GED or PhD, can equally support their child’s reading, learning, homework, at all times,” said Emily Kirkpatrick, Vice President in a phone interview.

Kirkpatrick added that their research has shown that families learn best when they learn together.

“There is a direct correlation of students scoring 10 points higher on standardized testing when there is a parent involved.”

One creative and interactive parent-child initiative they use is their Wonderopolis website, where each day there is a brand new “wonder” of the day. The site gives parents an opportunity to learn with their child through the use of technology.

In addition to its web initiative, the Center is partnering with Better World Books to help libraries expand their family and literacy programs. Better World Books, which calls itself a for-profit social enterprise, collects used books and sells new and used books online, matching each purchase with a donation, book for book. Each sale generates funds for literacy initiatives, including the three $10,000 Better World Books/NCFL Libraries and Families Award.

The awards go to libraries that are making a difference, like in the case of the story of Maria Ruiz. Ruiz emigrated from Spain in 2000. She has a 9-year-old son named Antonio, but she was unable to help him with his homework because she did not know English. She found the ‘Learning English-A Family Affair’ literacy program at the Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library in Shirley, New York.

Through the library’s program Ruiz was able to learn English and help her son with his homework. The Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library was a sub-recipient of the NCFL/Better World Books Libraries and Families Award in 2009.

Kirkpatrick said she invites readers of The Epoch Times to apply for this grant. The deadline is Feb. 6. Details on the grant requirements may be found on

Amanda Luong