Fort Bragg, NC | May 2, 2014
Today, Mary Ellen Cravotta has a date on Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington, D.C.
A librarian at Irwin Intermediate School, Cravotta is one of three persons who will receive the Reading is Fundamental Volunteer of the Year Award at an annual gala. The award is presented to those who are dedicated to improving children’s literacy.
“I am just really thrilled because Reading is Fundamental is certainly a wonderful organization,” said Cravotta, who has spent 38 years with Department of Defense schools. “To be recognized as one of three national volunteers, it really is a real honor.”
Cravotta has facilitated various RIF events at Fort Bragg, including bringing NBA legend, Kareem Abdul Jabbar to the Irwin Intermediate School to read his childrens book, “Sasquatch in the Paint,” in September 2013 and having a book reading for Devers Elementary School students during the Month of the Military Child, April 2012.
“My job is to create a culture of reading where everyone is excited about reading — the teachers, the students, the parents,” said Cravotta, who invites parents and students to an after-school reading program in Irwin’s Information Center, four days a week.
The after school reading program, which runs each school day but Wednesday, began in October 2013, and supports about 180 students and parents per quarter, she said. Parents are allowed to check out 10 books in addition to the books that the children check out, Cravotta explained.
Miriam Breece, Irwin’s principal, said she nominated Cravotta for the RIF Award.
“She’s (Cravotta) extremely creative, very reading oriented and a reading advocate — that’s the biggest strength is trying to get children to love to read.”
According to a press release, established in 1966, RIF is the nation’s largest children’s literacy non-profit, and has placed 400 million books in the hands of more than 35 million children.
For more information, or to help provide books, visit RIF.org.