By Caroline Jones, CLiF’s Summer Intern
I know what you’re thinking: “Who is that budding reader and aspiring politician in the blue dress in the front row? Why is she in this group of small children holding books with pre-scream Governor Dean in this painfully ‘90’s photo?”
Fear not, faithful readers.
Embarking for a recent family vacation, I knew that books would be an important ingredient for the first international trip with my nine-month-old daughter, Nora. Six flights and countless retellings of The Pout-Pout Fish later, I was grateful for the durability of the humble board book.
I came home from my term abroad with rolls and rolls of undeveloped film. The excitement of seeing the real photos months later inspired me to document my adventures in scrapbooks. I very rarely looked at the books again…until my daughter’s increasing reading habit prompted the albums’ resurgence (for better or worse).
What do skiing, books, and microcontrollers all have in common?
The CLiF Community Literacy Conference, of course!
In all honesty, the skiing was only a background as attendees sat slopeside in the conference room at The Mountain Club on Loon. While the spring skiers glided past the window, teachers, principals, librarians, and other eager past, present, and future participants in the CLiF Year of the Book (YOB) grant shared ideas on how to make CLiF programming efficient, effective, and sustainable.
Well, maybe not a “slugger.” More like a clunker.
His pitching is anything but fast, his tiny hands can barely close his glove, let alone catch with it, and he usually forgets to run the bases when his bat finally makes contact with the ball.
In February, my family took my six-year-old to a Friend-a-Versary at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. For the younger set, this is a dream come true – a day of face painting, tattoos, open spaces with kids running everywhere, a visit with Elephant and Piggie and free E&P books (donated by CLiF partners First Book) plus art projects, scavenger hunts, and famous illustrators reading from their books.
I’ll be honest – I burst into tears.
At first I didn’t believe it. Emmett’s friend (who is nine) had been sitting with him looking at a book when she alerted me: Emmett can read. I said, “What?! Really? Are you sure?”
“Watch,” was her response.
As parents we often exhaust ourselves prodding our kids to use their manners:
“Remember to say please.”
“How do you ask nicely?”
“What’s the magic word?”
“What do you say now?”
We want them to be polite, appreciative, socially appropriate beings, and sometimes forcing them to use manners doesn’t feel like the most effective or authentic way to do it.
I went to the Vermont AfterSchool Conference on October 24 where I was inspired by the variety of programming available for out-of-school-time programs. Surprisingly, I was even more inspired by the keynote speakers.
The conference kicked off with Rebecca Holcombe, Vermont Agency of Education Director, sharing her four key values: show passion, create partnerships, be innovative, and be humble.
Sarah Stewart Taylor, a CLiF presenter and author, interviewed CLiF’s founder and executive director Duncan McDougall for a recent parenting piece. Sarah summarizes the aspects of reading supported by our programs – relaxing and enjoying the moment, modeling by reading yourself, repeating books, and letting kids choose.