Big Love for “Book Love”

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PSU English Teaching Lecturer Penny Kittle’s Book Love Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping students and teachers develop a passion for reading and writing, is the recipient of a “Successful Practices” award from the 2023 Library of Congress Literacy Awards program.

The award, which carries a $5,000 grant, is awarded to select organizations from across the globe who have implemented highly successful practices in literacy programs.

Kittle, who teaches Composition at PSU, founded Book Love in 2012 to focus on “putting relevant, engaging books into students’ hands” and supporting teachers through professional learning opportunities throughout the year.” Since its founding, Book Love has raised over a million dollars “to provide teachers (from 41 states and six Canadian provinces) with grants to build classroom libraries.”

“The Book Love Foundation is run by a dedicated board of directors who give countless hours of time,” says Kittle. “Our goal is to empower teachers in the U.S. and Canada through classroom library grants and professional learning. Grant recipients are having a tremendous impact in their schools and state organizations. Twenty-five Book Love grant recipients will be presenting at the annual convention of the National Council of Teachers of English in November.”

Kittle spent 34 years as a teacher and literacy coach in public schools and is the author of Book Love and Write Beside Them, which won the James N. Britton Award from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). She co-founded Book Love based on the assumption (supported by tremendous evidence) that “students who are determined nonreaders become committed, passionate readers given the right books, time to read, and regular responses to their thinking.”

“Our Composition students are so fortunate to have the opportunity to work on writing and reading with Penny Kittle,” says PSU English Coordinator Liz Ahl. “Her belief in students’ capabilities is evident to them and very empowering to them.” One student wrote, of Kittle’s class, “I would love to take the class over again, which I don’t think I’ve ever felt about a class before.” Another commented, “She really cared about each of her students’ progress and just their wellbeing. She really understood each of us individually and knew how to help us.”

The 2023 Library of Congress Literacy Awards ceremony will take place in Washington, D.C. in October.

English Program