Hard to believe we are almost half way through the school year – 10 schools halfway through their CLiF Year of the Book and for ten more their follow-up momentum year. In the next half of the year, schools will welcome CLiF presenters author/illustrator Jason Chin, author/genealogist Natalie Kinsey-Warnock, author Sandra Neil Wallace, author/illustrator Marty Kelley, author/illustrator John Steven Gurney, storyteller/author Rajnii Eddins, author/illustrator Liza Woodruff, and many more CLiF presenters. Schools will visit the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Barre Opera House, and their local nursing home. Teachers planned projects on poetry, puppets, owls, social emotional learning, memoir writing, and STEAM.

By March, we will have selected ten more schools for next year from whom we will gather more creative ideas on how to make reading and writing more fun for students and teachers and families.

One of the ways CLiF shares the ideas is through our annual Community Literacy Conference held annually the last Wednesday in March at the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, VT. This conference is free for all past, present, and incoming Year of the Book schools – free forever as a way to encourage peer sharing, CLiF’s research and work, and expertise of our presenters.

This year, the conference features Chris Tebbetts and Mary Ann Cappiello. Chris Tebbetts will present to the whole conference, typically 125 teachers, librarians, principals, and reading coaches and interventionists, on using improvisation and play in the classroom. Chris is the author and co-author of many books for young readers including the #1 New York Times bestselling MIDDLE SCHOOL series, as well as PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO, with James Patterson and illustrator Laura Park; the New York Times bestselling STRANDED series with Jeff Probst; and THE VIKING series. His new YA novel, ME, MYSELF, AND HIM came out in July. Chris brings experience teaching adults and students and also an ability to connect with all ages of students.

CLiF Board of Advisors member Mary Ann Cappiello will discuss incorporating non-fiction into curriculum. Mary Ann has been teaching children’s literature and literacy at Lesley University’s Graduate School of Education since 2006. Prior to that, she spent over a decade teaching language arts and the humanities in public schools in New York and New England. Mary Ann is the coauthor of both Teaching with Text Sets (Shell, 2012) and Teaching to Complexity: An Evaluation Framework for Literary and Content-Area Texts (Shell, 2013), writes about using children’s literature in the K-8 classroom at “The Classroom Bookshelf,” a School Library Journal blog, and chaired the National Council of Teachers of English Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Committee through 2018.

This conference will allow more time for peer to peer networking, small group discussions among team members, and idea sharing. CLiF will add new program ideas (see the accumulation of all our ideas on our website); Carol Varney from Educational Development Corporation will be there with new titles from Usborne and more; and CLiF will host a book giveaway for attendees.

If your school has received the Year of the Book grant, please register now by emailing Stephanie at CLiF (stephanie@clifonline.org). If your school has not yet received Year of the Book, please consider applying next year and get started working with CLiF through our Summer Readers grant.

Do you need more incentive to attend the conference or apply for CLiF Year of the Book? Listen to the song Jon Gailmor wrote with last year’s attendees about the conference, reading, and writing. We look forward to seeing you at Lake Morey Resort on March 25, 2020!

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