New Library of Congress Prizes Reward Innovation in Literacy

On the heels of an array of accolades over the past decade, San Francisco-based literacy organization 826 National won the American Prize in the first annual Library of Congress Literacy Awards in late 2013. The award, which includes a $50,000 grant, recognizes a successful project that effectively promotes literacy. Specifically, 826 operates a network of centers for underserved students in eight major cities throughout the United States. Programs include tutoring, writing workshops, publishing projects, and a wide range of other imaginative offerings intended to engage students.

The Library of Congress Literacy Awards also confers the International Award, for work that promotes literacy overseas. The first such honor, also in the amount of $50,000, went to PlanetRead in Mumbai, India. This program is especially notable for its innovative work in literacy instruction using subtitles on popular musical films and television programs.

The final and perhaps most prestigious honor among the Library of Congress Literacy Awards is the David M. Rubenstein Prize. This $150,000 award recognizes uniquely sustainable literacy efforts throughout the world. In its inaugural year, the honor went to Reach Out and Read in Boston, Massachusetts, an organization that integrates literacy into pediatric care, taking advantage of the many doctor visits in a child’s early life to promote reading education.

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