Through its Education Department, SHI sponsors Baby Raven Reads, a program that promotes early literacy, language development and school readiness for Alaska Native families with children up to age 5. Eighteen books have been published through the program since 2016, all of which focus on Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian cultures.
The project is based on ample research that has shown that Alaska Native students do better academically when culturally relevant content is incorporated into learning materials and classes. The books also help educate non-Native families about Alaska Native cultures and languages, place-based storytelling, and traditional oral literature.
In recognition of SHI’s success in applying research-validated practices to promote literacy through Baby Raven Reads, the Library of Congress selected the program for its 2017 Best Practice Honoree award, making it one of only 15 programs in the world to receive the honor that year.