Houston Public Library Wins Grant to Support Summer Learning
Grant Connected to Local, National Efforts to Ensure More Students Read by 3rd Grade
The Houston Public Library has received a $250,000 grant to promote summer learning among low-income children, part of a $2.5 million grant program that aligns the work of the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) with the goals of the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.
In December 2011, IMLS announced that it would provide up to $2 million over two years to museums and libraries for projects that further the work of the Campaign, which works to increase the number of low-income children reading on grade level by the end of third grade. Museums and libraries throughout the U.S. answered the call with so many strong proposals that IMLS awarded more than $2.5 million this year and plans to repeat the call again next year.
To encourage summer learning, the Houston Public Library will partner with the Children’s Museum of Houston to establish the "Pop-up Library" program. Designed to reduce summer reading loss in children in Grades K-3 and to involve families in summer reading programs, the Pop-up Library will be a transportable unit that brings library materials, resources and programming into a variety of public spaces.
Research has shown that low-income students often lose two to three months of reading skills over the summer, while their more affluent peers continue to improve. Engaging programs can stop the summer slide and keep all children learning.
Despite major public and private investments over the past decades, more than 80 percent of children in poverty nationwide are not reading at grade level by the third grade. This sets these students up for failure in the later grades, fueling achievement gaps and dropout rates.
Aligning IMLS grants with the goals of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading makes it possible for libraries and museum to stand together with the 124 cities, county and towns, including Houston, that have developed plans to improve early literacy.
IMLS plans to broadly disseminate the results of these grants to continue to improve library and museum service nationwide. “I am delighted at the response to this effort,” said IMLS director Susan H. Hildreth. “The projects we are supporting are as diverse as the communities we will be reaching. They involve a wide range of partners from schools and Head Start to United Way and Boys and Girls Clubs and demonstrate the power of libraries and museums as community anchors that can help us reach children early and be a consistent presence throughout the school years and beyond.”
A total of $2.5 million has been awarded to museums and libraries in 19 communities across the United States, including 10 working with the Campaign. Many of the awards involve partnerships at the local, state and national levels to act on the latest research and provide opportunities for young children and their parents and caregivers that really make a difference.
“We need to reach these children before they enter kindergarten, and we need to keep them learning through the summer,” said Ralph Smith, managing director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and a senior vice president at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Museums and libraries provide ideal venues for this work and, as such, are key partners for our communities.”
The Campaign, launched in early 2011, is a collaboration among foundations, national nonprofits, state and communities across the nation to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship.
About Children’s Museum of Houston: America’s No. 1 Children’s Museum” by Parents Magazine, among Forbes’ “Best Children’s Museums in the U.S.,” winner of Nickelodeon Parents’ Picks “Best Museum in Houston 2009 & 2010,” Click2Houston’s “Best Museum 2010,” the Children’s Museum of Houston is a Citysearch.com’s nationwide 5-star children’s museum. It is dedicated to transforming communities through innovative, child-centered learning with a vision to spark a passion for lifelong learning in all children. Founded in 1980 and housed in a whimsical building designed by internationally acclaimed architect Robert Venturi, the Children’s Museum of Houston offers a multitude of innovative exhibits and bilingual learning programs for kids ages birth to 12 years. The Museum serves more than 1,100,000 people annually and operates as a 501(c)(3) under the direction of a Board of Directors. It is located at 1500 Binz in Houston’s Museum District. Admission is $9 per person and $8 for seniors 65 years and older and for members of the military. Children under one and Museum Members receive free admission.
Free Family Nights are offered Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. courtesy of the Houston Endowment, the Wortham Foundation, Inc. and the John P. McGovern Foundation. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from Noon to 6 p.m. The Museum is open at 9 a.m. on the Second Saturday of every month for Museum Members. The Museum is closed Mondays but open on Federal Holidays, during Houston Independent School District’s Spring Break and during the summer months from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, please visit www.cmhouston.org or call (713) 522-1138. The Children’s Museum of Houston is A Playground for Your Mind™ Can your mind come out to play?™
About the Houston Public Library: The Houston Public Library (HPL) operates 35 neighborhood libraries, three HPL Express Libraries, a Central Library, the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, The African American Library at the Gregory School, and the Parent Resource Library located in the Children’s Museum of Houston. Serving more than 4 million customers per year, HPL is committed to excellent customer service and equitable access to information and programs by providing library customers with free use of a diverse collection of printed materials and electronic resources, Internet, laptop and computer use, and a variety of database and reference resources with live assistance online 24/7.
For further information, visit the Houston Public Library at www.houstonlibrary.org or call 832-393-1313.