A love of reading will be promoted at Westerville Central High School in January, thanks to a new club forming through Project LIT Community.
Amy Farris, a teacher-librarian at the school, applied for a grant through the Westerville Education Foundation and received $1,694 for a proposal related to Project LIT (Libraries in the) Community.
The national, grassroots literacy movement is a network of teachers and students who are committed to increasing access to culturally relevant books and promoting a love of reading in schools and communities, according to Colleen Moidu, director of the Westerville Education Foundation.
"Project LIT is linked to a broader literary movement about bringing books of choice to high school students," she said.
Farris said the grant money will be used to purchase books the students select from the 2019-20 Project LIT Community list.
"And we will have a high-energy book discussion club," Farris said. "Generously, a grant to provide audio versions of the same titles was approved so that our club can be inclusive to ELL (English Language Learner) students."
That grant, in the amount of $780, was funded by the education foundation with support from Alliance Data.
"We are grateful to have passionate and committed teachers like Amy Farris bringing innovative programs to our schools that empower our students as readers and engage our students with high-quality, culturally relevant books," Moidu said. "The WEF is honored to support Amy in her efforts with Project LIT."
Although there are more than 300 Project LIT Community chapters in 40 states, Farris said, the movement is new to Westerville.
Because of the vast number of resources chapter leaders can access, the leaders have the tools they need to ensure their chapters will be successful, Farris noted in her grant application.
"We know from multiple research studies, most recently a large-scale study from the U.S. Department of Education, that low-income students and students of color are less likely to have access to books in their homes," the application said.
"A book-rich environment is linked with academic success in schools and lifelong literacy."
Project LIT Community increases access to -- and, more importantly, interest in -- culturally relevant books, according to Farris.
"While it would be ideal to purchase books that students could keep and take home, I want this project to be repeatable and so adding materials to the library will increase access to these highly relevant titles for all students," she said.
This program was just one of 16 grants funded in the foundation's traditional grants program.
The traditional fall grants distributed $19,623 for projects that will reach thousands of Westerville students, Moidu said.
"These grants are only possible thanks to the support of our generous donors and sponsors," she said.