Storybook Theatre of Hawai‘i awarded $10,000 literacy grant

HANAPEPE — The Storybook Theatre of Hawai‘i recently received funding from the Hawai‘i Pizza Hut Literacy Fund of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, which supports the nonprofit’s Reading Readiness Coaching for the Education Community program.

“Receiving this literacy grant to work with Head Start children is what I have spent my entire career as an educator preparing for and doing,” said Mark Jeffers, theatre executive director. “I am fascinated by how children learn, and reading and comprehending is so essential for success.”

Jeffers applied for the grant in the summer, and received a $10,000 grant in September.

“These funds will be used to work directly with teachers and parents as they prepare their children to learn to read, with reading-readiness activities,” Jeffers said. “The program is meant to provide teachers and parents with direct coaching as they read, speak and listen to their keiki, through virtual meetings and in person.”

Jeffers recently built a new, distance-learning studio.

“For the purpose of creating communication opportunities for people who interact with young people, and for young people themselves to use,” Jeffers said of the studio.

According to HCF, in 2000, the National Reading Panel summarized several decades of research that shows effective reading instruction addresses five critical areas: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

Recipients generally receive grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 for one year. The fund could award up to $30,000 in total for literacy grants.

Grants for one or two years may range from $5,000 to $25,000 per year. Annual progress reports must be submitted for multi-year grants.

HCF said program evaluation and ongoing improvements must be clearly incorporated into program design. HCF said they would award up to $77,000 in total for family-literacy grants.

“The goal of this grant program is to increase the literacy of Hawai‘i residents. Storybook Theatre of Hawai‘i’s focus on increasing reading readiness and pre-literacy skills for children is critical for our community,” said Elise von Dohlen, HCF program officer.

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