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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, April 15, 2006

Grant to help Nanakuli pupils

Advertiser staff

An O'ahu elementary school is a recipient of a national award that provides money to upgrade cash-strapped libraries.

Nanakuli Elementary School is among 20 winners of the D.E.A.R Bookshelf Award sponsored by the National Education Association. The winners were announced this week as part of National "Drop Everything And Read" Day.

The 2.8-million-member NEA, the nation's largest professional employee organization, along with HarperCollins Children's Books, developed D.E.A.R. Bookshelf Awards to provide financial support to organizations that serve students, in an effort to rebuild public school libraries.

A total of $10,000 is being awarded.

The grants will be used for projects developed and carried out by young people.

The competition received 1,500 entries.

At Nanakuli Elementary, award funds are earmarked to purchase homework supplies, such as pencils and paper, for pupils, a majority of whom come from low-income families.

More than 20 percent of children across the U.S. live in poverty. Among low-income families, 61 percent of children have no books at all, according to the NEA.

D.E.A.R. Bookshelf Awards will help enrich book collections in classrooms and in school and community libraries, with a goal of increasing access to titles that will draw youngsters into taking up reading.

"In the time that it takes to watch a rerun of "Friends," parents can get a book off the shelf and engage their children in reading fun," NEA President Reg Weaver said in a statement released by the organization.

"To increase access to books, the D.E.A.R. Bookshelf Awards provide funding for public schools and libraries and the communities they serve to purchase books, supplies and materials so that everyone can make reading a family affair."

The National Education Association represents elementary and secondary school teachers, higher-education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

For more information on NEA and D.E.A.R., visit www.nea.org and www.dropeverythingandread.com.