UHV receives $4,000 grant from Dollar General to support youth literacy

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation recently awarded UHV a $4,000 grant to create a bookmobile to encourage youth literacy in Katy.

Amy Barnhill

This local grant is part of $4.5 million in youth literacy grants awarded to about 1,000 organizations across the 43 states that Dollar General serves. Given at the beginning of the academic school year, these grants are aimed at supporting teachers, schools and organizations with resources to strengthen and enhance literacy instruction.

Amy Barnhill, a UHV associate professor of literacy education, and Janelle Bouknight, a UHV assistant professor of literacy education, are making plans to start a traveling bookmobile in January. The idea is to reach students who lack transportation to the public library or who do not have books at home.

The UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development will host book clubs for students in grades four to six, seven to eight and nine to 12. UHV students working on teaching degrees will lead the book clubs. The books will be selected biweekly based on various themes. Students will be able to choose from four or five books that fit the theme.

Janelle Bouknight

“Besides having access to books, we are providing students a place to talk about books,” Barnhill said. “We expect to see a 25 percent increase in motivation, comprehension skills and the quality of readers’ responses from students who participate.”

The project will begin in January and will be active during the school year and summer. The bookmobile will visit low-income areas of Katy weekly. The grant money will be used to purchase 700 nonfiction, fiction, picture books and graphic novels for the bookmobile.

“By awarding these grants, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation is committed to making a meaningful impact in our local communities,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s chief executive officer. “These grants provide funds to support youth literacy initiatives and educational programs throughout the communities we serve to ensure a successful academic year for students.”

Committed to helping increase the literacy skills of individuals of all ages, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $127 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping nearly 7.9 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy or continued education since its inception in 1993. The Dollar General Literacy Foundation awards grants each year to nonprofit organizations, schools and libraries within a 20-mile radius of a Dollar General store or distribution center to support adult, family, summer and youth literacy programs.

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation also supports customers interested in learning how to read, speak English or prepare for the high school equivalency test. At the cash register of every Dollar General store, customers may pick up a brochure with a postage-paid reply card that can be mailed in for a referral to a local organization that offers free literacy services.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Jeremy Shapiro