Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) Building Bridges with Books

About the Program

The School District of Philadelphia’s Building Bridges with Books initiative provides kindergarten through third-grade students 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 grant from the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) initiative, which seeks to improve curriculum and instruction for students, re-envision the student learning environment, and meaningfully engage parents and caregivers in improving their children’s early literacy development.

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

About the Evaluation

The current evaluation, which will continue through 2017-18, 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 library visits, and librarian visits to classrooms; and an analysis of student literacy outcomes.