Operation Literacy Engaging Everyone

We don’t know his name, or that of his older sister, but we were still moved when he exclaimed, “I love Dr. Seuss! Daddy can I take this one?”

chapman-literacy1We glanced at one another excitedly as the boy clumsily pulled the Seuss work out of the book station we had just inaugurated. His sister found one, too, and was proud to be like her brother, book held high above her head.

Smiling, his father asked him which books he was going to bring back for other kids to take.

As they walked away hand in hand, the boy, his sister, and their father continued their conversation about books, and about reading. We were filled with a sense of gratitude for a moment that brought our vision of free neighborhood book stations to life.

These seemingly unplanned moments where learning connects families, communities, and each of us to a deeper self are what we live for as educators and future educators.

This year’s Literacy Alive! project brought many such moments to the members of Chapman’s Chi Beta Chapter.

Each year, the chapters of Kappa Delta Pi connect around a national literacy campaign called Literacy Alive! to “create programs and events in their communities that bring empowering literacy skills to their participants.” This year, more than 150 projects were submitted nationally, adding up to 57,052 people served and 44,625 books collected for distribution. As a chapter, Chi Beta was recognized for its partnership with a local initiative: Operation Literacy Engaging Everyone (Operation L.E.E.) in Anaheim, California.

Operation L.E.E.’s Facebook page reads, “We are a group of community members out to promote literacy and spread the love of reading in our community by providing book stations with free books.” The book stations are located at various homes and businesses in Anaheim, and represent a true community effort. A vision of local educators, the book stations are filled with donated books that anyone can borrow or take or donate. Operation L.E.E. started with five book stations and hopes to increase that number throughout Anaheim and in other interested cities.

chapman-literacy2Our first adventure with Operation L.E.E. was at the South Junior High School Service Day, where Chapman’s KDP members were tutored in making book stations by students. The amazing woodshop teacher, Chapman alumnus Matthew Bidwell, guided us around the classroom while seventh and eighth graders made assistants of us and demonstrated their mastery of carpentry. It was a fun and exciting day of building book stations from instructions, wood, and know-how.

As future educators, we talked about how it reminded us that our students will always be our greatest teachers, and that our classrooms can be spaces for doing good.

chapman-literacy3We also helped sort more than 500 donated books, prompting a recognition of our community’s generosity and spirit.

As book donations rolled in they were collected at the home of Operation L.E.E. leader, Juan Alvarez. A local educator and parent, Juan welcomed a collaboration with Chapman, and KDP members helped distribute books to book stations around Anaheim. Juan also welcomed us to his home, where we hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Operation L.E.E. at the location of the first official book station.

chapman-literacy4Here, Operation L.E.E. was presented with congressional recognition from Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, and the book stations officially went live!

In recognition of the success of Operation L.E.E., KDP awarded Chapman’s Chi Beta Chapter with a Silver Award.

chapman-literacy5As the project continues to grow, you can help by donating books, providing funds or materials to build more book stations, or volunteering to host a book station at your home or business (contact operationleeoc@gmail.com).

It was exciting for us to help support local educators who are moving beyond their classrooms to make an even greater impact in their community. And we were able to practice engaged citizenship by helping local educators bring a model program into fruition.

In addition to strengthening our relationship with one of our partner districts in Anaheim, we also developed new partnerships with other collaborating organizations such as Los Amigos de Orange County and the Anaheim Public Library.

chapman-literacy6Toward the end of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, we had our serendipitous visitors, our first book station patrons, and they knew exactly what to do. For us, it was like watching from a distance—watching our efforts and those of the community sprout into an opportunity.

For the father and his children, it was a seemingly spontaneous moment to talk about reading.

But we saw meaning in our project and could envision many such moments happening at this book station and at others around the city. Operation L.E.E. had come to life, and Chapman’s Kappa Delta Pi chapter helped make it happen.

Guest author Anat Herzog is an educator who has a deep love for her students and their families. She is a doctoral candidate at Chapman University and Literacy Alive! Coordinator for the Chi Beta Chapter of KDP. Her eventual goal is to open a school based on the pedagogical principles of John Dewey and Paulo Freire.

Two Books Are Better Than One

The initiates, officers, and members of the Delta Rho Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi at Kean University were pleased to support the needs of elementary students in a public school setting with 601 books that were given to them on Read Across America Day. IMG_7574

Our chapter held a book drive throughout the Fall 2015 semester to collect these books. In February, we started by hosting a Literacy Alive! social event. This was a great way to prepare for our project and have everyone get to know each other in a comfortable setting. At the event, members, initiates, and officers created bookmarks for the students, and created bags with bookmarks and pencils to go with the theme of Dr. Seuss.

IMG_7575To celebrate Read Across America Day, Delta Rho visited Menlo Park Terrace School #19 for the day. The books were delivered, and the students received their gift bags. Some officers and members dressed up as Dr. Seuss characters to add to the spirit of the day. All who attended read a book to an elementary classroom and visited various grades throughout the building.

The second part of the project supported the needs of children and young adults at the children’s hospital who are undergoing cancer treatments. The hospital restricts paper books, so the children read books on iPads. These children need funding for purchasing books. Our project supported their needs through an iTunes gift card so they will be able to purchase books to read while they receive their treatments. Our project supported the non-medical needs of these children and they families.

Our chapter was recognized by the faculty and principal at Menlo Park Terrace School # 19 as well as the director of Embrace Kids Foundation.

This was truly an experience for our chapter, as it was the largest scaled project for literacy in chapter history.

IMG_7576The members, initiates, and officers gained experience in the areas of service, networking, and experience being in the classroom. The communities that were served—although different—were immersed in the love for learning and reading all Kadelpians have and show. Delta Rho is proud of Two Books are Better than One, and we are excited to receive the silver award for it.

The real reward, however, was knowing how many children and youth we touched in both communities through our project.

Guest blogger, Leana Malinowsky, is a first grade teacher at Pvt. Nicholas Minue School in Cateret, NJ, where she teaches the inclusion class. She is also a certified Reading Specialist. Leana is the Associate Counselor of the Delta Rho Chapter at Kean University, and she has been an active member since 2007—over 9 years!

Literacy Alive! Top Projects Announced

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It is with great pleasure that we announce the top projects from the 2015-2016 review cycle.

Gold Projects

  • The University of North Carolina at Charlotte  (Omicron Pi Chapter)
  • Bethune-Cookman University  (Pi Delta Chapter)
  • Fitchburg State University  (Xi Psi Chapter)
  • Madonna University  (Sigma Xi Chapter)
  • Liberty University  (Pi Sigma Chapter)

Silver Projects

  • Ferris State University  (Alpha Alpha Iota Chapter)
  • Kean University  (Delta Rho Chapter)
  • University of St. Thomas – Houston  (Pi Lambda Chapter)
  • Chapman University  (Chi Beta Chapter)
  • University of North Texas  (Alpha Iota Chapter)

Bronze Projects

  • St. Joseph’s College, Brooklyn Campus  (Alpha Epsilon Omega Chapter)
  • Armstrong State University  (Nu Zeta Chapter)
  • University of Pittsburgh  (Omicron Phi Chapter)
  • Marian University, Indianapolis  (Alpha Alpha Tau Chapter)
  • Concordia University  (Pi Psi Chapter)

2015-2016 proved to be another awesome year for Literacy Alive! with more than 100 projects submitted, 35,444 people served, and 26,631 books were collected for distribution globally!

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To learn how you can participate in the 2016-2017 review cycle, and read a summary of each of the Gold Project award winners, visit the Literacy Alive! homepage on the KDP website.

Receiving a Literacy Alive! Gold Award at #KDPconvo15

In October, Literacy Alive Panel Session Screen (C602)we had the amazing opportunity to represent Niagara University at the Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) Convocation, or #KDPconvo15, in Orlando, Florida. Andrea Nicolia and I initially attended the conference to accept a Literacy Alive! gold award, from more than 150 submitted projects, for Alpha Alpha Beta Chapter at Niagara’s Halloween-themed children’s literacy program, “Spooktacular”, but was also invited to speak at the first ever Literacy Alive! Panel Session.

Niagara’s Family Literacy Center, with partnership from the New York Power Authority, presented Spooktacular as an event that served local children in kindergarten through eighth grade. The focus was to encourage literacy in multiple formats, expose families to the importance of literacy integration, and stress the ease of incorporating literacy into their everyday lives while promoting the value of higher education. This was achieved through participation in a spooky story writing center, a Halloween read-aloud, and arts and crafts stations.

Literacy Alive! is KDP’s signature service initiative that invites its collegiate chapters and professional members to create different programs and events that empower literacy skills in their community. Through the work of all KDP chapter’s Literacy Alive! programs across the country, 44,625 books were collected for distribution and 57,052 people participated in the 2014–2015 award review cycle, alone!

  • Check out a summary of all of the Top Projects from the 2014-2015 Review Cycle
  • See what you missed from the Literacy Alive! Panel Session at #KDPconvo15
  • Get your questions about Literacy Alive! answered on the FAQ page
  • Be sure to submit your chapter’s Literacy Alive! Collegiate Achievement Form by May 1st

J. Bialkowski and A. Nicolia (C602)Jessica Bialkowski (left) is a graduate assistant at Niagara University and currently the vice president of the Alpha Beta Pi chapter. Andrea Nicolia (right) is a graduate student in Niagara’s School Counseling program and currently the president for the Alpha Alpha Beta Chapter.

Monday Morning Update – October 12, 2015

Good morning, friends – 2015.10.12 Gandhi

#MondayMorningInspiration: “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” – Mahatma Gandhi. Check it out and share it on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram.

Here is a quick update of what you need to know this week:

  • KDP has been invited (by the office of the Leadership_BlockU.S. Secretary of Education) to recommend individuals qualified for nomination to one of five open positions on the National Assessment Governing Board, the entity that sets policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)—better known as The Nation’s Report Card. If you are interested in being considered as one of Kappa Delta Pi’s nominees for these significant appointments, please complete the application form and submit it with a résumé or curriculum vitae to Kappa Delta Pi Headquarters by October 23, 2015. Call 800-284-3167 or email Faye Snodgress, Executive Director, at faye@kdp.org with questions.
  • While registrationregclosed has officially closed for #KDPconvo15, it’s not to late to attend! Onsite registrations are available and include the full conference. We look forward to seeing you in beautiful Orlando, FL!
  • Did you knowtee that you could get $100 for a literacy project in your school and community? Unlike our Classroom Teacher Grants, this signature service initiative and funding opportunity does not have a limit for how many stipends are given. Learn more here!
  • Education policy has long been a matter of concern for the nation and the states.headphones Our federal system, however, does not clearly specify the role government plays in this critical policy area. In order to be effective educators, we must understand the dynamics of this system and work within its structure to improve the quality of education for all participants. Tomorrow, October 13 at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern), learn how educators, including YOU, can make a difference.

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Chris Beaman is the Manager of Marketing & Communications for Kappa Delta Pi.

Got a Minute? Week of April 27, 2015

Got a minute for KDP? See what’s going on at headquarters in a one-minute(ish) video.

This week:

  • Deadlines are quickly approaching, including the KDP Scholarship deadline. We’re awarding $66,000 that can be used for anything from tuition to classroom supplies. Submit your application before May 1.
  • Literacy Alive! Turn in your achievement form so we know the impact this program makes on literacy. Deadline is May 1.
  • Awards for Education Excellence. We want to celebrate what makes your chapter excellent. Submit Chapter Awards by May 15 and Counselor Awards by June 1.

https://youtu.be/3hhJvQCwn6o

#TBT Literacy Alive!

Katie Heath
Katie Heath is the Northeast Regional Chapter Coordinator and Literacy Alive! Coordinator for Chapter Services.

If you’re anything like me, you love sorting through old documents and unveiling historical information. Recently, I dug out the records for the first year of Literacy Alive! and was amazed by what I discovered!

It is remarkable to see both how little and how much has changed with the Literacy Alive! service initiative over the last 22+ years. Perhaps the most exciting finding was that several of the chapters that have participated in Literacy Alive! in recent years are the very same chapters that took an active role in the program’s initial stages.

I was impressed by the statistics from Literacy Alive’s! first year as KDP’s signature service initiative. While modest growth is often expected in the first few years of any new program, to have impacted so many people from the very beginning shows the true hearts of KDP members everywhere. Roughly 22 years later, I am overwhelmed with pride as I reflect on the progress Literacy Alive! has made and the impact this program continues to have on communities across the country.

For this week’s #TBT take a look at the statistics from the first year of Literacy Alive! (1993) compared with those of last year’s programming.

4.2.2015 #TBT

We hope you plan to participate in Literacy Alive! this year as KDP’s signature service program continues to grow and expand. If your chapter has already held an event, don’t forget to submit the Literacy Alive! Achievement Form by May 1. If you have not yet participated, it’s certainly not too late. Check out our website for more information about hosting a Literacy Alive! project, or contact me with questions!

Serving Together,

Katie