By Journal Staff
Three elementary school libraries in Southeast Idaho are among the 47 to receive mini-grants from the Idaho Commission for Libraries to help young students become more proficient readers.
Receiving $5,000 grants were A.J. Winters Elementary in the Bear Lake School District, Groveland Elementary, Blackfoot School District; and Downey Elementary, Marsh Valley School District.
This year, the Idaho Legislature approved a permanent increase of $100,000 for school library access mini-grants, bringing the total in annual grant funds to $200,000.
In the past three years, the Idaho Commission for Libraries awarded Read to Me â€śSchool Library Access Mini-Grantsâ€ť to 92 schools to help them increase access to books, improve collections, and change check-out policies to better meet the needs of emerging readers. Grant reports show that the kids, their parents, and the teachers are all delighted with the new nonfiction and fiction books.
â€śResearch shows that the best way to improve a childâ€™s reading skills is to provide convenient access to reading materials,â€ť said State Librarian Ann Joslin. â€śProviding access to hundreds of age-appropriate quality books through school libraries â€” the schoolâ€™s vocabulary vault â€” is one of the most cost-effective strategies to increase literacy skills.â€ť
Schools with developmental preschool programs on school grounds and high levels of students from lower income families were given the highest priority when it came to grant awards.