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Ann Grabowsi, of North Berwick, earns 2018 Gold Award


With 65% of fourth grades reading at or below the basic reading level, and 1/3 of new kindergarteners lacking the skills needed to learn to read, Gold Award Girl Scout Ann Grabowski recognized that our country faces a literacy crisis. Her own community’s school falls short of the district’s 85% pass rate on standardized reading test scores.

Studies show that parental involvement is the biggest roadblock to a child’s success in school, so Ann created “Explorer Packs,” a fun and engaging tool to help parents and children to work together to grow their enthusiasm for reading, and to cultivate their literacy skills.

Housed at the Martha Sawyer Library, Explorer Packs are full of science-based explorations, easy, fun activities and books that families can check out, take home, and explore together. By introducing STEM-based subjects and supporting activities, Ann believes the packs will help promote literacy to reluctant readers in a fun way, increasing their enthusiasm for books.

Collaborating with the Lebanon Community Learning Center, Ann held an open house at the library to showcase the Explorer Packs, and introduced her projects to over 40 students from an after-school program.

The Explorer Packs are cataloged and will routinely inspected and maintained by the library. The library will also feature a “Family Scientists” Bulletin Board, where families can post pictures of their explorations, as well as share their experiences in a logbook of each of the packs.

Already Ann has seen the Explorer Packs at work, sparking children’s interest in literacy, as well as the excitement of the families who get to share that experience with them. She hopes that, in the long-term, the school’s district will see an improvement in test results because of her project.

Ann says she learned a lot from her project, from overcoming obstacles to learning how to work with others. But most of all, she says she has discovered how wonderful it is to feel for people in the community, to see the world from their perspective, to understand a problem and work hard to make lives better.