Library of Congress Literacy Awards

Winners

Organizations that receive the David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000) have make outstanding and measurable contributions in increasing literacy levels and demonstrate the highest standards of excellence in operations and services. The American Prize ($50,000) is awarded to organizations based in the United States that make a significant and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels or national awareness of the importance of literacy. The International Prize ($50,000) is awarded to organizations based in a country outside of the United States that make a significant and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels.

2016

David M. Rubenstein Prize

WETA Reading Rockets was developed to address the need for evidence-based resources and services for literacy providers, educators and parents. Reading Rockets disseminates its information and resources to teachers, parents and caregivers via its free website, which is accessed 5.7 million times each year. Some of these resources include professional development webcasts, a television series about the stages of reading development, and book and activity suggestions.

American Prize

The Parent-Child Home Program develops school readiness in children with disadvantages by combining intensive home visits with weekly gifts of books and educational materials. Literacy specialists model good practices to educate parents about the importance of parent-child interaction, give them the tools they need to inculcate early literacy skills in their children and encourage them to see themselves as active participants in their child’s education. The Parent-Child Home Program has more than 50 years of success in educating parents to develop school readiness in children with disadvantages. Their work has been replicated in 400 high-need communities in 14 states and in Chile, Canada, Ireland and Bermuda.

International Prize

Libraries Without Borders works to increase access to literacy, education and culture for underserved populations around the world. Working in collaboration with local communities, it creates libraries, provides books and electronic resources and supports local publishers. One initiative, the Ideas Box, creates a temporary classroom, library and media center that provides safe educational space for those without regular access to these resources. Libraries Without Borders supports communities in more than 20 nations in innovative ways that use libraries and related technology to bridge gaps in social, economic and political environments.

2015

David M. Rubenstein Prize

First Book focuses on promoting literacy by increasing children’s access to books. Because cost is the primary barrier to book ownership by children and the programs that serve them, First Book dedicates its resources to facilitating access to quality children's literature for groups and families across the U.S. and Canada. Since its inception, 130 million books have been donated to educators, programs and children.

American Prize

United Through Reading helps active-duty military personnel stay involved in their children’s literacy development by filming them reading storybooks and distributing the recordings and books to their families. The program has more than 180 recording stations on military bases and outposts, in USO centers and on half of all U.S. Navy ships and makes more than 25,000 recordings each year.

International Prize

Beanstalk is a volunteer-based literacy organization that provides one-on-one support to children ages 6 to 11. Tutors work consistently with their assigned students, meeting twice a week to read, play and talk together. In this less structured environment students can engage with and enjoy reading and learning.

2014

David M. Rubenstein Prize

Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in Asia and Africa by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, Room to Read develops literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children and ensures girls have the skills and support needed to complete their secondary education.

American Prize

SMART, a program of the Oregon Children’s foundation, matches volunteer tutors with children from pre-K to third grade. The students meet one-on-one with the tutors twice a week for seven months to share books, and learn and experience the joy of reading. At the end of the program the child has received 14 new books to keep, as well as 28 hours of individualized volunteer attention.

International Prize

The Mother Child Education Foundation in Turkey operates a variety of projects designed to address family, adult and early-childhood literacy. One of these, the Functional Adult Literacy Program, a women’s empowerment initiative, uses volunteer instructors to teach basic adult literacy and has been adopted as a model by the Ministry of National Education. Other successful projects include the Mother Child Education Program, a national literacy hotline to connect learners with services, and the Web Based Literacy Program targeting rural learners.

2013

David M. Rubenstein Prize

Reach Out and Read encourages early-childhood literacy by capitalizing on the relationship between parents and their children’s pediatricians. By integrating basic literacy awareness into regular office visits, children are exposed to books and reading at the earliest age, well before they start school. Free books are distributed during the visit as well. Reach Out and Read achieves sustainability because it has integrated literacy education into a widely practiced experience (the well-baby visit).

American Prize

826 National uses unique storefront offices in eight cities as bases for addressing community problems of both literacy and aliteracy. One-on-one tutoring for at-risk K-12 students is offered along with a range of free core programs, including storytelling, bookmaking, in-school writing workshops and publishing projects.

International Prize

Planet Read in India is an innovative program that reinforces literacy skills, primarily through subtitles for popular musical television programming. SLS (Same Language Subtitling) was developed in India based on solid research. It is simple to implement and easy to replicate, reaching 200 million low-literacy TV viewers in India. SLS is notable as a highly motivational approach for getting low-literacy adults to read, particularly where access to books is difficult.