Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) Building Bridges with Books

About the Program

The School District of Philadelphia’s (SDP) Building Bridges with Books initiative provides students in Kindergarten through third grade at ten SDP schools with literacy support in partnership with the municipal public library system, known as the Free Library of Philadelphia (FLP).  Building Bridges with Books is funded by a federal Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) grant. The IAL initiative seeks to improve curriculum and instruction for students, re-envision the student learning environment, and meaningfully engage parents and caregivers in the improvement of their children’s early literacy development.

The first IAL three-year grant began in 2014-15. Across ten schools, 2,862 individual students participated in the project during the first three years of programming: 939 students received a full three years of services, while an additional 697 received two years of programming and 1,226 students received one year of programming. Programming consists of a variety of activities involving students, parents, librarians and library staff, and teachers.

About the Evaluation

The current evaluation, which will continue through SY17-18, consists of teacher, librarian, parent, and student surveys; focus groups and interviews with parents and teachers; observations of all program activities including Read Alongs, Family Engagement Nights, classroom visits to libraries, and librarian visits to classroom; and an analysis of student literacy outcomes.