21st Century Charter School will create and host a monthly after school literacy program for children in grades 1 to 3 called Building Literacy with Legos with help from a Ken Woodruff Mini Grant awarded by the Northwest Indiana Literacy Coalition.

The $200 grant was presented to Megan Anderson of 21st Century Charter School at the coalition’s Time Out for Reading awards reception.

This academic program will allow children to sharpen their literacy skills, think critically and creatively play, communicate, and support one another. “The Ken Woodrufff grant will allow us to purchase Legos and healthy snacks for the program,” said Anderson. “The activities will not only provide a safe and healthy place for children to learn and grow, but will also instill the love of reading, writing, and creativeness to enhance their quality of life.”

The literacy program will take place in a classroom from 3:45 to 5:15 p.m. the first Wednesday of the month, September through June. Students will be accepted into the program by teacher recommendations using a rubric of the skills that will be created by the program director in conjunction with classroom teachers.

Each monthly meeting will focus on a theme that is supported with the reading of a fiction and nonfiction picture book. The children will be exposed to 10 themes and 20 pictures books over the course of the school year, including pirates, fairy tales, Medieval Times, flags around the world, aerospace technologies and outer space.

The program framework will begin with quick introductions, a book walk, and think aloud about the theme using one of the books. The program coordinator will read aloud both fiction and a nonfiction selection pertaining to the theme. Other guest readers may be invited as well, such as the school principal, local police officers, pilots, and other community leaders.

After reading and discussing the books, the children will be given a bucket full of Legos and a work space to construct an object that coordinates with the monthly theme. Theme music will play, and the children will use their creativity, background and newly learned knowledge, as well as fine motor skills to construct. After the construction of the object, children will participate in a quick writing activity about the theme, Lego creation, or picture book.

Children will end the session with a healthy snack, share their creation and quick write response and have their creations displayed.