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EDUC 897 Independent Study - Young Adult Multicultural Literature:  Grant Proposal

PWCPS Education Foundation Innovative Grants Application            Page A

A. Summary Information

Project Title:  DIVAS READ!

Contact Person/Title:  Jennifer O’Looney, School Psychologist

School/Department:  Ellis Elementary School

Address, City, Zip:  8800 Rixlew Rd., Manassas, VA

Telephone Number/E-Mail Address:  703-365-0287/

Program Location: Ellis Elementary School

Grade Level(s) Served:  5th grade

Content Areas:  Language Arts, History, Guidance

Estimated Number of Participants: (10) 5th grade girls and a parent or adult partner =approximately 20 participants

Total Amount Requested:  $ __________¸by number of participants = $ __________per student

Program Summary:

Briefly summarize your project (This summary will be included in publications if the project is selected):

DIVAS READ! is an intergenerational family literacy program designed to increase motivation for reading in pre-adolescents girls. Fifth grade girls at Ellis Elementary and their adult reading buddies will be provided with copies of high-quality literature featuring female characters of diverse backgrounds.  The stories will provide a forum for book club discussions and art activities.  Parents will be invited to attend a book discussion with the students and are encouraged to engage in home reading with the girls.  DIVAS READ! is intended to help students make connections with literature in order to foster a life-long love of reading.

Will grant funds be used to:

x_ Start new program          __Maintain existing program                          __ Expand existing program

( If grant funds are requested to expand or maintain an existing program, please attach the most recent program evaluation.  If an evaluation has not been performed, please include a statement explaining why not.)


We, the undersigned, authorize the submission of this grant application to the PWCPS Education Foundation and confirm the information contained herein is accurate.

Applicant #1:  _______________________________             Applicant #2: _______________________

Applicant #3:  _______________________________             Applicant #4:  _______________________

Principal/Department Head:  ______________________________

Principal’s/Department Head’s signature certifies that this project is approved and will be supported in its implementation.

PWCPS Education Foundation Innovative Grants Application   Page B

Project Title: DIVAS READ!

B.  Need Statement

Identify the need or issue that the program will address.  Explain the impact of the need on the school/community.  Identify the target/recipient of program services.  Use statistical data to support the need for the program.

Children begin school with the desire to read, however for many students, this desire fades as they grow older.  Reading difficulties, lack of personal connection to reading materials, and difficulties with access to books are a few reasons that children may lose their interest in reading.  Research has shown that family involvement in children’s reading can have a great impact on participation in literacy activities.  For example, intergenerational family literacy programs, or programs that involve family members of different ages, can be especially successful in helping families build connections between the home, school, and community (Nistler & Maiers,1999). Intergenerational family literacy programs can also provide a forum for students and family members to have conversations regarding community and cultural traditions that may not otherwise be addressed in the school setting.  DIVAS READ! is a program designed to promote intergenerational family literacy by providing 5th grade girls and their families the opportunity to participate in a book club program that exposes them to age-appropriate literature featuring strong female characters of diverse backgrounds.  DIVAS READ! will be a voluntary continuation of a 4th grade small group program called DIVAS which focuses on helping young girls build friendship and responsibility skills by honoring individuality.  DIVAS READ! will use current, high quality literature as an invitation for students, parents, and school staff to discuss current issues in early adolescence while fostering an increased interest in reading. 

Participation in reading as a life-long skill is a priority of PWCS, however national information shows students do not continue reading for pleasure after elementary school.   In fact, the Striving Readers Act was developed to specifically look at the issues with reading in children from grades 4-12 including student motivation and engagement (Alliance for Excellence in Education, 2007).  DIVAS READ! will attempt to promote reading as a life-long skill by providing 5th grade girls and their families an opportunity to explore adolescent multicultural literature, particularly stories featuring strong female characters facing coming-of-age struggles.  The program will begin with girls who are familiar with the DIVA small group and will ideally expand in the following year to include boys and their families.


Nistler, R. & Maiers, A.  (1999).  Effects of a 2-year study of a family literacy program in

 an urban first-grade classroom.  Education and Urban Society, 31, 108-126.

Alliance for Excellence in Education Policy Brief (2007).  Federal support for adolescent literacy:  A solid

 investment.  Retrieved August 6, 2007 from

C. Program Summary

Identify what is to be accomplished or what changes will occur.  (Start your sentence with “The purpose of the program is to provide…”.  Then briefly describe the program.)  Make certain there is a clear link between what is being proposed and how it will address the need that was described in section B.

The purpose of this program is two-fold: to provide students an opportunity to use adolescent literature as a forum for promoting reading and increasing awareness of social issues while at the same time building connections between families and schools.  The DIVAS READ! program will use 2 books as the basis of the book club.  The club will meet 6 times during the school year (2 in-school meetings per book and 1 meeting per book at a time to be decided for students and parents to meet together).  Each meeting will focus on a discussion of designated chapters of the book and follow a “book club” discussion format.  DIVAS READ! will provide a copy of the book for each girl and for her parent (or adult participant).  Girls without a parent partner will be allowed to participate, however it will be strongly encouraged that a parent or other adult come to the final joint discussion with each girl.  Using the novels Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan and Ties that Bind, Ties that Break by Lensey Namioka, students will have the opportunity to discuss girl’s issues from historical time periods and relate them to today’s society.  The meeting with parents will give parents and students a chance to dialogue about these issues in an informal setting while tasting food from the region of the books and engaging in a craft specific to the book. 

PWCS Education Foundation Innovative Grants Application     PAGE C

Project Title:  DIVAS READ!

D.  Program Impact

List the anticipated outcomes.  What will change as a result of the program?  Outcomes are defined as the changes/benefits in skill, knowledge, behavior, attitude, condition, status, or awareness that participants experience as a result of program activities. 

There are several anticipated outcomes from the DIVAS READ! program.  The first outcome is to increase adolescent interest in reading by exposing 5th grade girls to acclaimed literature that addresses social issues of interest to girls of diverse backgrounds.  By using a book club format, the facilitator of the program hopes to encourage students to continue to engage in reading outside of the classroom setting, indirectly increasing reading skill growth during their secondary education.  Secondly, DIVAS READ! will increase parent and school interactions by providing parents (or other adults) with a book to share with their daughters and by inviting them to come to the school setting to participate in a fun and informal literacy activity.  Finally, DIVAS READ! will attempt to strengthen motivation for adolescent reading by opening a dialogue between students and parents using adolescent literature as a discussion –starter for tackling topics relevant to 5th grade girls. 

E.  Program Action Plan

Use the table below to describe the activities/events required to meet your desired outcomes, including target dates.

Activity/Event                                                                                                       Target Completion Date

1.  Invitation to Participate:  Flyers and an informative                                                     Mid-November

     talk will be given to the 5th grade classes to encourage participation   

2.  Permission forms collected and books purchased                                                    ~2 weeks after flyers/talks

3.  Short meeting during lunch to pass out books, review program                           

     expectations, and schedule first meeting                                                                    1st week December

4.  Hold first meeting                                                                                                     2nd week of January

5.  Second book club meeting (craft)                                                                             1st week of February

6.  Parent/Student group meeting with food (evaluation completed)                                 Last week of February

7.  Invitation to Participate in 2nd group: Flyers and talk                                                  2nd week of March

8.  Permission forms collected and books purchased                                                    ~2 weeks after flyers/talks

9.  Short meeting to pass out books, etc.                                                                         1st week of April

10. First meeting                                                                                                             Week after spring break

11. Second meeting (craft)                                                                                              1st week of May

12. Parent/Student group meeting with food (evaluation completed)                                 To be scheduled based on                                                                                                                                           SOL exams

PWCS Education Foundation Innovative Grants Application     PAGE D

Project Title:  DIVAS READ!

F.  Program Evaluation

How will this program be evaluated?  Explain what will be measured, who will do it, and what methods or instruments will be utilized.  Describe how the results will be used to improve the program.  A clear connection should be maintained with the problem that was identified in section B and the outcomes anticipated in section C.  Note:  The PWCPS Education Foundation requires a final project and budget report at the end of the grant period.  The Foundation provides the forms for this report.  In addition, a final interview may be required for selected projects.

At the beginning of DIVAS READ!, all participants will be given the Motivations for Reading Questionnaire developed by Wiegfield, Guthrie, & McGough, 1996 for the National Reading Research Center to assess their current level of motivation toward reading.  This measure will be administered again at the end of the school year to assess for any changes in motivation.  In addition, students and parents will be requested to complete an evaluation survey at the completion of each book that will critique the book club and activities.  All information will be submitted anonymously and questionnaires will be administered and examined by a licensed school psychologist.  The Motivations for Reading Questionnaire is openly available to the public in an ERIC document found at

Responses to the questionnaire and survey will be compiled and used for planning purposes for subsequent years.

G.  Program Funding

Identify how Education Foundation dollars will be used.  Indicate the impact of partial funding on the delivery of the program.  Indicate how successful projects will continue without further Foundation funding.  Attach a detailed budget listing the materials, equipment, and/or resources need to carry out the project.  Be specific.

Funds from the Education Foundation will be used to purchase necessary supplies for the reading groups, including books for students and parents and materials for crafts related to the novels.  Partial funding would allow the facilitator to purchase books for the students, and then books for parents and other supplies as funds allow.  The project is intended to be expanded to include 5th grade boys and their families the following school year.  If further Foundation funding is unavailable, the facilitator will attempt to find another source for locating books, such as funding from site-based management or donations from a local bookstore.  If other potential funders are not able to be located, copies of the books will be attempted to be found in local libraries, or the format of the group may be changed to book club where the novel is read aloud once a week to students during their lunch.  Parents will be kept in touch with the group through newsletters and e-mails from both school staff and their children. 

Preliminary budget items:

Books: 20 copies of Esperanza Rising @ $5.99

            20 copies of Ties that Bind, Ties that Break @ $4.99

5 reams of copy paper for forms and parent newsletters

Chinese brush writing demonstration: Materials to try brush writing

            10 brushes



5 skeins of yarn for Mexican yarn dolls

2 packages plastic table utensils

2 packages paper plates

Food for parent meetings featuring items from books

Certificates of completion for students and parents    

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