2019 Karen Thomas Memorial Fund grants presented to teachers in 5 schools

By Andrew Cluley

Literacy efforts in the Ann Arbor Public Schools from kindergarten through fifth grade have once more gotten a boost thanks to the Karen Thomas Memorial Fund. Since 2009, the grants have been presented in honor of Karen Thomas by former School Board Trustee Andy Thomas to celebrate his wife’s love of reading.

To promote equity, Thomas says grants with a focus on providing additional reading opportunities for students that have less access to books at home. He says the grants are also an effort to really promote literacy in a bottom up approach. Thomas says, “These are teacher initiated grants that meet the needs of the particular classroom.”

This year’s grants were presented to:

“Reading Units of Study Texts,” Abbot Elementary School: Emily Wark, Colleen McAlinden, and Pam Sica: This grant is designed for the school to purchase mentor texts that will challenge young readers to work on their comprehension strategies.


“We Need Diverse Books!” A2 STEAM at Northside: Anne Reader: This grant will fund additional books for the library at A2 STEAM that feature diverse characters.


“Whole School Book Tasting,” Haisley Elementary School: Katie Gibson, Katie Hughes, Raj Scott, Ellen McGee, and Patty Koutoulis: This grant will be used to purchase books of a variety of genres to be used at book tasting events in partnership with Peace Neighborhood Center.


“Read to Them: One Book, One School,” Pattengill Elementary: Bernadette Swanson, Liz Lucier, and Lindsay Pawlowski: This grant will be used to buy enough copies of one book so that the entire school can read it at home and then have activities at school connected to the book.


“Choices, Choices, Choices.” Pittsfield Elementary: Shannon Lauer and Meredith Harrison: Students will get to make selections for books to add to their classroom and take home library.


Donations can be made to support the Karen Thomas Memorial Fund through the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation here. Watch a presentation to the Board of Education about the Karen Thomas grants below.

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