One goal of CLiF’s Year of the Book program is to help teachers engage students with reading and writing in new and creative ways. To that end we offer mini-grants to teachers in Year of the Book schools to develop projects that meet this goal.

This past school year one of my favorites came from Johnson Elementary technology teacher Charlie Cavanaugh. Charlie’s “Small Moments Stories” project allowed 2nd graders to create digital flipbooks. Students from 5th and 6th grades volunteered to assist the younger students with the process of crafting the short stories.

“I had seen the flipbooks in a number of instances and was impressed with the technology that allowed that,” Charlie explained. “I’ve always been a big advocate of ‘kids helping other kids learn’ so that was nothing new. I think it just came to me to combine the two into one project.”

Charlie used his mini-grant funds to purchase the software necessary to create the flipbooks. Meanwhile, the students wrote and illustrated their stories, with the older kids helping with spelling, grammar, and general suggestions for improvement.

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The final flipbooks can be seen on the JES website. They are wonderful snippets from the minds of young children.

Charlie thinks this project is easy to implement in other schools. It just involves a bit of computer know-how and uploading flipbooks to the internet to share. His main tip to fellow educators is to be flexible and collaborative with the project: “Allowing the older and younger kids to collaborate is perhaps more important than the final product. Learning to work together is invaluable for both sets of children.”

We look forward to seeing what teachers in 2013-2014 CLiF Year of the Book schools come up with for their mini-grant proposals. If you’d like more details about this project, email

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