The Helen Lanthier Book Project helps promote and support the improvement of reading on local, state, and regional levels.
To support and promote literacy in New England, NERA began a Special Services Project in 1987. This project was originally conceived as a project to donate hard cover books to children’s wards in hospitals. Board members have expanded the project’s sites to prisons, hospices, orphanages, childcare centers, and shelters for homeless people, battered women, and pregnant teens and schools and organizations working with special projects involving reading.
At our most recent conference in 2016, NERA recognized the Alison Keaveney Memorial Fund at Pittston School in Pittston, Maine. Since 1982 students at the school have sold plants to raise money to help support the arts and humanities as part of a memorial for a young girl who was struck and killed by a car. Students and teachers at the school are involved in every step of the process, as they plant, grow, and care for the plants. The plant sale not only unites the school but also exemplifies the power, the promise, and the possibility that school-wide collaboration can provide for authentic literacy instruction. The school’s annual plant sale supports author visits and artists in residence.
Funds from the Helen Lanthier project will enable the school to purchase books to read as part of these visits. NERA is proud to support this effort and to continue the tradition of “growing literacy and readers” throughout New England.
At our 2015 conference, NERA recognized and awarded the Book Love Foundation the Helen Lanthier Book Project. The Book Love Foundation is a non-profit foundation committed to supporting teachers by providing books for classroom libraries. Teacher, author, and advocate, Penny Kittle, accepted the award at the conference.