Mass Literacy Champion Jan Plourde Selected as Tribute to Women Honoree

Jan Plourde, a 2014 Mass Literacy Champion and founder of The Real Program, was chosen as an honoree for the 2017 Tribute to Women awards given by the YWCA of Greater Lawrence. According to the YWCA, the award recipients “embody the ideals and values which encompass the common vision of peace, justice, freedom and dignity for which we strive.”

The REAL Program is a nonprofit organization which addresses literacy issues in Lynn, Mass by providing books, homework assistance, healthy snacks, dinners and enrichment opportunities to children in need. They also offer English language tutoring for parents.

Learn more about The Real Program.

Learn more about Jan Plourde.


Boston Public Library Receives Grant From Mass Board Of Library Commissioners

Teen Central at Boston Public Library’s Central Library in Copley Square was awarded a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant for $7,500 from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC), and is partnering with the John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science and the South End Technology Center to develop engineering programs for 7th and 8th grade students.

The programs are offered to 300 student in grades seven and eight and take place twice monthly at the South End Technology Center, Teen Central at the Central Library in Copley Square, and/or at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math and Science. Youth will work with Raspberry Pi, Scratch, Little Bits, Minecraft, and Python programming language. The grant runs from October 2016 through September 2017.

“I am excited about this grant because it networks several institutions critical to advancing student preparation and youth development – Boston Public Library, Boston Public Schools, and a powerful community-based organization in the South End Technology Center,” said Rahn Dorsey, Chief of Education for the City of Boston. “This is what learning should look like for our young people.  Learning in Boston should take full advantage of the city’s assets, should extend beyond traditional classrooms, and should incorporate technology and the modern tools needed to prepare the city’s young people for thriving futures.”

“We are grateful to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners for this grant and are confident teens will explore engineering concepts in a supportive environment, while learning from their peers and working hands-on with tools to broaden their understanding of engineering and technology,” said David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library.

In addition to the direct library grant program, the MBLC uses LSTA funds to support statewide programs and services, including summer reading programs, databases, the Commonwealth eBook program, the Commonwealth Catalog (the new virtual catalog), and, which provides information and resources for residents. LSTA is administered on the federal level by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in the Commonwealth by the MBLC.


Holyoke school eliminates homework

Big changes are in store for students at the Kelly Elementary School in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The kindergarten though grade eight school is piloting a new program that will eliminate homework for the upcoming school year. Instead, students will have an extended school day from 8 am to 4 pm. Learn more from the Western Mass News. 


New partnership helps families make time for reading

The city of Burlington, Mass. has started a new literacy initiative to help babies and young children improve their literacy skills. Through a partnership between the Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce and Burlington Public Schools, youngsters will receive free copies of the book “Make Time for Reading” by Jean Ciborowski Fahey, PhD. The book combines the science behind learning to read with literacy tips for parents as well as a fun story for kids. Fahey is a 2014 Mass Literacy Champion, and she translated her book into Spanish with funding from a Mass Literacy Champions grant.