ILLINOIS STATE LIBRARY
Penny Severns Summer Family Literacy Grant Program
Purpose and Outcomes
The Penny Severns Summer Family Literacy Grant Program integrates instruction with educational activities to improve the reading, writing, math and/or English language proficiency of adult caregivers and their children.
Adult caregivers who read below the ninth grade level or speak English below the intermediate level and their children learn together during the summer months when many traditional educational programs are closed.
$250,000 General Revenue Fund
Range of Award
- 4,800 - $4,900
Program Impact in FY2012
Total Dollars Awarded
Number of Grants Awarded
Number of People Served
- 8,005 adult caregivers and children served
- Percentage of learners in Adult Basic Education: 66%
- Percentage of learners in English as a Second Language: 34%
Books purchased by libraries
Books purchased and given to families for home libraries
- Increased skills in reading, writing, math, and/or English language of both adult caregivers and their children
- Strengthened ability of Illinois parents to be their child’s first and most important teacher
- Increased time spent by Illinois families reading and learning together
- Increased knowledge of the public libraries’ resources and services
VignettesDe La Salle Institute, Chicago: Adults learned to read maps as well as improve their English in the summer program. This also helped to prepare them for field trips. Families researched on computers to learn more about the site they would be going to. At the library, they checked out books about Chicago and the places they would be visiting. One family participating in the program rarely ventured outside of their neighborhood. After a group field trip to the Millennium Park, they returned the next week to visit the park on their own. They rode public transportation as a family and spent the day downtown, navigating the city using their improved English. They feel much more comfortable traveling on their own to visit other places in the city.
Carbondale Public Library: A grandmother from Colombia borrowed children's books nearly every day to read to her granddaughter. Each day the grandmother gave a small book report to the class which gave her more practice with writing and speaking English. Not only was this activity great for improving her English skills, but it allowed quality time with her granddaughter.
For more information about the Penny Severns Summer Family Literacy Grant Program, please call 217-785-6921.