Project LIT Community logoWe’re honored to partner with Project LIT Community at ILA 2018 to help bring culturally relevant books to classrooms across the country! If you’ll be in Austin, swing by booth #423 in the Exhibit Hall to browse our diverse selection of titles—and then add your favorites to our interactive #BooksourceBookshelf! For every sticker you add, Booksource will donate $5 to Project LIT Community. Not sure who they are? Read on to learn, in their own words, a little more about the mission that drives this passionate group of students and educators.

WHAT IS PROJECT LIT COMMUNITY?

We are a national, grassroots LITeracy movement, a network of dedicated teachers and students who are committed to increasing access to culturally relevant books and promoting a love of reading in our schools and communities. We work together to:

  • Empower students as READERS and LEADERS in their school and community.
  • Host monthly or quarterly Project LIT Book Clubs.
  • Flood our schools and communities with high-quality, culturally relevant books.
  • Champion & celebrate reading daily.
  • Inspire and support one another through sharing of lesson plans, resources, strategies, and book recommendations.
  • Create opportunities for students to connect with peers around the country.
  • Advocate for policies & practices that will help our students become lifelong leaders.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

First, educators apply to become a Project LIT chapter leader. Once accepted, chapter leaders access our resources and checklists and connect with our community to develop a game plan for their school. From there, they empower their students to organize Project LIT Book Club events and engage in service & project-based learning that address literacy needs in their community. Through the process, our Project LIT educators & students become passionate readers and leaders who change the world.

ABOUT OUR PROJECT LIT CHAPTERS

There are now more than 300 Project LIT chapters in 40 states across the country, and all look a little different! Whether you’re in an elementary or high school, rural or urban community, as long as you and your students are increasing access to culturally relevant books and spreading a love of reading, you’re doing it right!

What do all successful Project LIT chapter leaders have in common? 1. You have to be a reader. 2. You have to love your students and already have a strong reading & classroom culture in place. 3. You have to be willing to make it work. With passion and persistence, we are confident you will make a difference in your school and community!

We are committed to:

Empowering our students and educators to be leaders and change agents in their own communities.

Connecting passionate students and educators who support and inspire one another.

Celebrating reading every day in as many classrooms, schools, and communities as possible.

Improving literacy attitudes and outcomes, one book and one conversation at a time.

OUR JOURNEY  

After reading an article about book deserts, Jarred Amato, a high school English teacher at Maplewood High School, asked his students: What can we do to eliminate book deserts in Nashville? The rest, as they say, is history.

Our first step was to launch a book drive, and thanks to our students’ successful social media campaign, we collected more than 15,000 books. From there, we placed many of these books in our LIT libraries, converted USA Today newsstands, which we set up in local community centers and YMCAs.

However, we soon realized that the solution wasn’t simply to increase book access—it was to increase access to high-quality, culturally relevant books. Books that allow ALL students to see themselves in the pages. Books that communicate to ALL students that their voices & their stories matter—that they matter. Books that spark difficult, but necessary conversations and affect change. Books that help promote empathy and kindness and invite us to look at the world through a different lens. Books that inspire students to fall in love with reading again or for the first time. 

And with that in mind, we started Project LIT Book Club. At its simplest form, it’s a monthly opportunity for students, teachers and community members to come together in our library to eat breakfast, discuss themes and takeaways from amazing books like All American Boys and The Hate U Give, and test our close reading skills in a trivia competition.

But, it’s also an opportunity to empower our students (who plan and lead every aspect of the event) and engage our community in a meaningful way. Through the process, our Project LIT students gain essential SEL and 21st century skills, from empathy and kindness to teamwork and communication, as they become the leaders and readers who change our world.

Now, thanks to the power of social media, we’ve welcomed all-star teachers and students from across the country to our growing LIT community! And yes, we’d love for you to join our movement, too! If you’re interested in joining Project LIT Community, complete our chapter leader application or contact us at projectlitcommunity@gmail.com!

To connect with Project LIT Community on social, follow them on Twitter: @projectlitcomm #ProjectLITchat #ProjectLITBookClub