Literacy Is Empowering Project
The purpose of the Literacy is Empowering Book Drive is to bring more books into the homes of children. According to reading research, access to print-awareness enhances reading skills and language development.
Many educators in the USA believe that children need to learn to analyze text (comprehend it) even before they can read it on their own, and comprehension instruction generally begins in Pre-kindergarten or Kindergarten.
The project aims to have Native American children in and around the Navajo Nation find interest in reading and enjoy it. Many children sometimes do not have the resources, which powers a drive to read on most American Indian reservations. Its founders felt it was a badly needed program to help many children find interest in reading which would then lead to higher test scores.
The Literacy is Empowering Book Drive began in November 2004 by Rozanna Benally during her reign as 2004–05 Miss Utah Navajo, and her family (father-Ray, mother-Rebecca, brother-Ryan and sister-Rhianna). Books were collected for children across the Navajo Nation communities. The book drive was a success and collected 876 books.
As Miss Utah Navajo, her platform was “the importance of education.” Rozanna became interested in providing more books to children from previous experiences in book drives in college and the joy it gave to children. She graduated from the University of New Mexico, with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech & Hearing Sciences, and continues to work in the field of Education in the Speech-Language Pathology area.
The book drive has become a Benally family effort to get books to children across the Navajo Nation.
Continuance of project
The need to get more books is a continuous effort, to support reading readiness and literacy skills, book drives are a year round effort conducted by the organization. Family Literacy Night events are arranged with the Literacy is Empowering Project Coordinator-Rebecca M. Benally. Several locations are selected across the Navajo Nation to distribute books to children. The Literacy is Empowering Project Director- Rozanna R. Benally has a goal to collect 2,000 books this year.