This guest post was written by Judith Lee, Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program Manager.
September is an exciting month. Teachers, students, and parents alike adjust to the new school year, shorts and sandals get tucked away, and the words “warm” and “cozy” return. And on September 8, International Literacy Day, we are thrilled to announce the 2022 Literacy Awards winners and honorees!
Based on recommendations from members of the Literacy Awards Advisory Board, Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden has selected three top winners and 12 Successful Practices Honorees for this year. These awards are made possible through the generosity of philanthropist David M. Rubenstein.
2022 Literacy Award Winners
This year’s top prize, the David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000) is awarded to Street Child. Founded in 2008, Street Child is a UK-based international charity currently operating in 20 of the world’s most vulnerable countries. Its programs have meaningfully transformed educational opportunities for over half a million children, often through the help of local partnerships and within the context of post-emergency response. Street Child uses evidence-based pedagogical methods while keeping costs low. The organization believes that all children should be in school, safe, and learning. With the David M. Rubenstein Prize, the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program recognizes Street Child’s outstanding and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels in multiple parts of the world.
The American Prize ($50,000) is awarded to Make Way for Books. Established in 1998, Make Way for Books provides early literacy programming to young children and their families who may not otherwise have access to books or quality early education in southern and central Arizona. The organization’s two-generation approach builds skills in both young children (ages birth to 5) and their caregivers. Make Way for Books is bilingual in content, culturally sensitive in methodology, and representatively diverse in staffing. The program is well-established, highly regarded, and growing. It serves 25 school districts and close to 18,000 young children. The Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program recognizes Make Way for Books for its significant and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels in the United States.
The International Prize ($50,000) is awarded to Young African Refugees for International Development (YARID). Founded in 2007, YARID is an educational nonprofit based in Kampala, Uganda. YARID was established by Congolese refugees who formed connections with fellow refugees and local Ugandan youth through football games. Using sports as an initial and strategic unifier, the participating refugees soon realized they needed a common language in order to communicate with one another and began offering English literacy classes. This initiative encouraged participants to seek and gain employment opportunities. YARID’s target audience grew from 30 young refugees in its first year to now nearly 5,000 learners. The Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program recognizes YARID’s significant and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels in Uganda.
2022 Successful Practices Honorees
In addition to our top three winners, the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program recognizes 12 organizations for their successful implementation of a specific literacy practice. Together, this year’s Successful Practices Honorees are empowering adults in the United States, engaging local communities, promoting a culture of reading in schools and at home, and nurturing partnerships to have a broader effect on reducing illiteracy in the United States and abroad. This year’s Successful Practices Honorees are:
- Concern Worldwide, Niamey, Niger
- DIBS for Kids, Omaha, Nebraska
- Dominican Republic Education and Mentoring (DREAM) Project, Milton, Vermont (operating in the Dominican Republic)
- Impact Network International, Brooklyn, New York (operating in Zambia)
- International Literacy and Development (ILAD), Duncanville, Texas
- Kids Read Now, Troy, Ohio
- Literacy Achieves, Dallas, Texas
- Literacy Action, Atlanta, Georgia
- Literacy Network, Madison, Wisconsin
- ReadWorks, Brooklyn, New York
- ServeMinnesota (Reading Corps), Minneapolis, Minnesota
- World Education, Boston, Massachusetts (operating in the United States, Africa, and Asia)
Finally, we want to thank all of this year’s applicants for their commitment to combating illiteracy and promoting reading both in the United States and abroad.
About the Awards
Through the generosity of philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program honors nonprofit organizations that have made outstanding contributions to increasing literacy in the United States or abroad. The awards also encourage the continuing development of successful methods for promoting literacy and the wide dissemination of the most effective practices. They are intended to draw public attention to the importance of literacy, and the need to promote literacy and encourage reading.
2022 marks the tenth year that the Literacy Awards Program has recognized organizations for their outstanding achievements in advancing literacy. Over the past decade, this program has awarded more than $3 million in prizes to over 150 institutions working in 38 countries. We invite you to check out this interactive map for a visual summary all of the organizations that have been awarded or honored by Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program over the past ten years.