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2009 Literacy Leaders Awards

The School of Library and Information Science’s Annual Literacy Leaders (ALL) honorees for 2009 are Callee Boulware, state coordinator of Reach Out and Read; Rodney Graves, director of secondary education for Spartanburg Seven; and Ida Thompson, director of Instructional Technology Services for Richland County School District One.

The awards were presented at a ceremony in the South Carolina State Library on September 15.

Ellen Hinrichs, executive director for the South Carolina Center for Children's Books and Literacy, said this year’s award recipients have all made great strides in working to reduce South Carolina’s illiteracy rate, which is the third highest in the nation.

“We don't want to focus on the negative but accentuate the positive,” Hinrichs said. “We want to recognize that people are doing wonderful things in our state. All of the winners this year have dedicated their lives to their students and fostering the joy of lifelong reading.”

Callee Boulware

Boulware, a University of South Carolina alumnus with a master’s degree from the journalism school, has been state coordinator for the national Reach Out and Reach program for the past eight years. The program promotes parents’ reading aloud to their children as an integral part of pediatric primary care and brings thousands of books and literacy guidance to young children and their families.

Boulware has helped double the number of Reach Out and Read sites across South Carolina from 60 sites in 2001 to more than 125 sites today, serving about 95,000 children. Her efforts have secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in support for Reach Out and Read, sustaining the program over the past several years without help from public dollars.

Rodney Graves

Former principal of Spartanburg High School, Graves saw book circulation in the high school’s media center dramatically increase during his tenure. He understood that his students would be more inclined to read books of interest to them, and his support of the school’s first summer reading celebration gave principals and literacy coaches across the state a model for engaging students, parents and the community in teens’ reading. Because of Mr. Graves’ vision, summer reading celebrations are springing up statewide.

Ida Thompson

Thompson began working with Richland County School District One’s Reading Is Fundamental program more than 28 years ago when she was an elementary school librarian. She quickly recognized the benefits the program afforded her students, and she decided that Reading Is Fundamental was a great way to connect children and books. As a district consultant and, later, Director of Instructional Technology, she continued to push the program to the forefront. Thompson’s vision helped secure funding for Reading Is Fundamental from the state Department of Education.

Each year, Thompson participates in statewide activities to promote reading, such as the Augusta Baker Storytelling Festival and the annual Read-In demonstration held in April where more than 1,000 students march from the state library to the State Capitol.