Next stop: Whoville!

WASHINGTON—Grab your passports and hold on to your "Reading Hats" . . . Next stop, Whoville!  Carly Hockenberry, a student at Glendale High School in Flinton, Penn., is one of the 2005 Youth Leaders for Literacy Grant winners for her creative after school event "Passport to Whoville," which took students on a reading trip through the imagination.

Joining Carly in this year's diverse group of winners is Matthew Her Many Horses of the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Mission, S.D., who stood at school bus stops dressed as the Cat in the Hat to encourage students to read.  Other winners include James Buchanan high school students from the Technology Student Association and the Spanish Club who put on their "Author Hats" to write, illustrate and distribute bilingual children's books.

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest teachers organization, awarded 24 grants totaling more than $12,000 to student-led initiatives. Across America students were honored by the Youth Leaders for Literacy, a joint program of the NEA and Youth Service America (YSA) to help youth direct their enthusiasm and creativity into reading-related service projects.

This year's competition received more than 200 grant applications—the largest number in the program's five years.  A combined panel selected both individual and group projects based on youth leadership, originality, potential impact on the community, and contributions to literacy development.  Grants will be used by the youth to fund their winning projects. 

"Reading opens doors, both in children's imaginations and their lives," said Reg Weaver, president of the 2.7-million-member NEA. "And although we cannot match with dollars the value these young people will bring to their communities or to themselves as productive citizens, we are proud of all the young people who know reading activities crucial to their development."

The NEA and YSA developed the program in 2001 to encourage and celebrate literacy service of our nation's young people, and to provide them with resources to conduct reading-related activities that benefit others.

MTA's Reading Matters Web site