NORFOLK, Neb. – Northeast Community College has been selected to receive grant funding that will assist in providing reading literacy materials to families across the institution’s 20-county service area.
The 2021 Family Literacy Grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation is designed to assist with efforts related to adult education instruction, children’s education and Parent and Child Together Time (PACT). It is part of the foundation’s recent $10.5 million donation to support summer, family, and adult literacy programs, representing the organization’s largest one-day grant donation in its 28-year history.
Lisa Guenther, early childhood education instructor at Northeast, is using the $2,000 grant to create Read Aloud Joy kits.
“The goal of this grant is to provide diversity, inclusion, peace, and healthy books, hands on activities, and modeling of positive read aloud experiences,” Guenther said. “These read aloud experiences are for children, their families, and future educators for the children in their care and their own families. We want to pass the passion of reading on to the world one book at a time.”
Guenther used the grant dollars to purchase plastic containers through Dollar General that will include ten Read Aloud Joy kits that she has prepared. Each kit contains books with complete activities to go with each title and different activities for children ages birth and up. Kits will be shared with area libraries to allow families, childcare centers, preschools, and schools in their area to check them out.
Kits will also be shared with Guenther’s students in her Early Childhood Education classes.
“They will in turn model the use of the kits to the adults and children in their practicum sites, work sites, and future career sites,” Guenther said.
"For nearly 30 years, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has been proud to invest in literacy and education programs in our hometown communities," said Denine Torr, executive director of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. "The recent and significant shifts in the educational landscape have made the Foundation’s mission more critically important. As we work to create access to high-quality instruction for all individuals, we share our gratitude for the educators who are working to uplift and empower others. We hope these funds will have a meaningful impact on students and teachers across the country and look forward to seeing the positive impact they have on learners.”
Guenther said the impact of the grant will go far beyond its one-year funding timeline.
“Once the habit of daily reading aloud is developed within the child, they grow into adults who continue to read daily. The development of comprehension, vocabulary growth, and critical thinking in these individuals grows the parents, career workers, and leaders of tomorrow,” she said. "Reading aloud daily to a child can change the world and the world for that child!"
Lisa Guenther, early childhood education instructor at Northeast Community College, assembles Reading Aloud Joy kits, that have been financed through a $2,000 grants from the Dollar general Family Literacy Foundation. Kits will be shared with area libraries to allow families, childcare centers, preschools, and schools in their area to check them out. Guenther’s students will also use them in their education preparation.