Friday, May 30, 2014

NEA Awards Hope College a "Big Read" Grant to Support Community Program

A grant to Hope College through the “Big Read” program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) will support a broad-based effort to encourage reading community-wide during the month of November.  The NEA awarded Hope $16,000 for the Holland-area event.  Hope and the other participating organizations will match the grant with additional financial and in-kind support.
“The Big Read,” which is managed by Arts Midwest, is designed to revitalize the role of reading in American culture by exposing citizens to great works of literature and encouraging them to read for pleasure.  Hope is one of only 77 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive a grant to host a “Big Read” project between September 2014 and June 2015.
The Holland-area program will focus on “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee.  Hope is partnering with Herrick District Library, the Holland Museum, five area schools and others to organize reading groups and schedule a variety of related events throughout the month.

 “The Big Read” provides communities nationwide with the opportunity to read, discuss, and celebrate one of 36 selections from U.S. and world literature. The 77 selected organizations will receive Big Read grants to promote and carry out community-based reading programs featuring activities such as read-a-thons, book discussions, lectures, movie screenings, and performing arts events. The NEA has also developed high-quality, free-of-charge educational materials to supplement each title, including reader’s guides, teacher’s guides, and audio programming, all of which are available to the public at
The Hope grant’s administrator, Dr. Deborah Van Duinen of the college’s Education faculty, believes that reading and discussing the award-winning “To Kill a Mockingbird” and the related activities will be an engaging and meaningful experience for participants of all ages, from teen through retiree.  A specialist in adolescent literacy and young-adult literature, she even guided students through “To Kill a Mockingbird” as a high school teacher herself before transitioning to higher education.
“This Pulitzer Prize-winning book deals with many different issues—coming of age, race, class, justice, ethical values.  These issues are just as relevant to us today as when the book was written in 1960,” said Van Duinen, an assistant professor of Education.

Posted 5/30/2014 03:37:00 PM

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