This post is by Judy Lee of the Library of Congress.
Happy International Literacy Day! We are excited to celebrate this day with you by announcing the winners and honorees of the 2023 Library of Congress Literacy Awards.
Based on recommendations from the Literacy Awards Advisory Board, Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden has selected three top winners and 15 Successful Practices Honorees for this year.
These awards are made possible through the generosity of philanthropist David M. Rubenstein.
2023 Literacy Award Winners
This year’s top prize, the David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000) is awarded to The News Literacy Project (NLP). Founded in 2008, NLP advances the practice of news literacy throughout American society, creating better informed, more engaged and more empowered individuals. NLP’s expansive interpretation of literacy skills and their robust approach to helping individuals, including teachers, students and the general public, navigate and analyze media messages comes at a critical time. NLP provides resources and programs to help students develop media literacy skills, including fact-checking, source evaluation, and media bias awareness. Through partnerships with schools, more than 55,000 educators, and journalists, NLP works to create a more informed and engaged citizenry.
The American Prize ($50,000) is awarded to Downtown Boxing Gym (DBG). DBG seeks to improve academic outcomes for high-need boys and girls in Detroit. Through their unique approach—mentoring and literacy intervention offered through a boxing gym—DBG improves young people’s motivation and confidence with reading. DBG builds strong relationships with its participants and their families through one-on-one intervention, tutoring, daily homework prep, and a customized enrichment curriculum. Books and program materials align with community interests, experiences, cultures, and backgrounds. With a strong focus on building positive relationships with students, DBG maintains a culture of achievement. Students actively participate in academic goal setting, mentor their peers, advocate for themselves, and have a voice in what they learn.
The International Prize ($50,000) is awarded to Worldreader. Worldreader provides mobile reading technology to support and advance literacy to more than 21 million readers in numerous countries. Worldreader follows an ABCDE model of apps; (multilingual) books; capacity building for caregivers and partner programs; data tracking; and (social) engagement around reading. Worldreader provides local and culturally relevant digital materials that address socio-emotional learning, gender sensitivity, and cultural and political awareness. It offers partner-led community book programs, customized for the locality, such as book clubs in Sierra Leone where young readers discuss important and sensitive topics.
2023 Successful Practice Honorees
In addition to the top three winners, the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program recognizes 15 organizations for their successful implementation of a specific literacy practice. Together, this year’s Successful Practices Honorees are empowering girls and women leaders, reimagining literacy programs, creating digital spaces for literacy, connecting with authors and illustrators, and elevating culture and communities through their efforts. This year’s Successful Practices Honorees are:
- Ako Aotearoa’s Manako Program; Wellington, New Zealand
- Book Love Foundation; North Conway, New Hampshire
- BookSpring; Austin, Texas
- Building Tomorrow; Indianapolis, Indiana
- Compassion Books; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Dominican Literacy Center, Aurora; Aurora, Illinois
- Get Lit – Words Ignite’s Uni(verse) Program; Los Angeles, California
- An Open Book Foundation; Washington, D.C.
- Pakistan Alliance for Girls Education (PAGE); Islamabad, Pakistan
- PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools); London, United Kingdom
- Queens Borough Public Library; Queens, New York
- Rio Grande Valley Literacy Center; Pharr, Texas
- Virginia Children’s Book Festival; Keysville, Virginia
- WISE Zambia; Phoenix, Arizona
- Yayasan Sulinama’s Collaboration with INOVASI; Ambon, Indonesia
Finally, we want to thank all of this year’s applicants for their commitment to spreading literacy and the joy of 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.
Since 2013, the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program has awarded more than $3 million in prizes to more than 150 institutions working in 38 countries. We invite you to check out the Literacy Awards Program Interactive Map for a visual summary of all the organizations that have been recognized by the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program.
The United Nations General Assembly designates a number of “international days” to mark important aspects of human life and history, including International Literacy Day on September 8th. For more information on International Literacy Day, visit: https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/literacyday.
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