KCHS teacher awarded 500-book grant from BLF

Knoxville Catholic High School recently announced that English teacher Ben Wilkinson was awarded 500 books for his classroom library through a grant from the Book Love Foundation.

The Book Love Foundation (BLF) received 136 applications in 2014 from teachers across the United States, and Mr. Wilkinson is one of only 10 to be awarded this prestigious grant. BLF seeks to promote the love of reading among adolescents by providing classroom libraries of highly engaging books to middle and high school English teachers.

Of the 500 donated books, 400 of them will be carefully chosen by the Book Love Foundation, while Mr. Wilkinson will pick out the remaining 100 titles. Additionally, Friends of the Knox County Public Library has pledged to match the BLF grant book for book, which marks the first time that the organization has made a donation of this size. Mr. Wilkinson will work closely with Mary Ann Merrill, KCHS teacher and library volunteer, to select the books. The 1,000 books will be added to Wilkinson’s classroom library of nearly 300 that he purchased during the 2013-14 school year.

During 2013-14, Mr. Wilkinson implemented the Independent Reading Program, allowing students to read a book of their choosing for 10 minutes at the beginning of class. More than 250 students participated in the program; increasing library circulation by three times what it was the previous school year.

Mr. Wilkinson said he hopes to continue to increase his classroom library in the future.