One of the ways CLiF shares ideas is through our annual Community Literacy Conference typically held the last Wednesday in March. This year, join us for a re-envisioned, free event with all the most popular features of our typical in-person conference: training from our presenters, peer-to-peer sharing, updates on CLiF’s research and work, and free books!

This year’s conference will include all the beloved aspects of our in-person gathering:

  • Learn from educator Mary Ann Cappiello, cartoonist Marek Bennett, and author/humorist Chris Tebbetts
  • Three live, virtual events on March 10, 17, and 24 from 3:00-4:30 EST (details below).
  • Idea Sharing – CLiF will share new ideas at the start of each session, and we count on participants to share their experiences, too.
  • Register for the series or individual events. Recorded versions will be posted, but we ask that everyone register. Each session will feature a workshop and time for questions and sharing.
  • All CLiF partners invited – librarians, teachers, school staff, administrators, out-of-school time providers, early educators.
  • Professional Development will be given, but you must register, even if you plan to watch the recorded sessions.
  • Book giveaways – books will come to attendees after the sessions. You must register and attend to receive books!
  • Raffles – look for opportunities to win prizes as we lead up to the conference and at each session. 
  • Follow-up sessions? CLiF and the conference presenters are open to scheduling follow up sessions if participants want to learn more, have critiques of their work, or to connect more deeply on certain topics. 

Talented attendees created these clever four-panel comics.

THANK YOU for being part of another CLiF experiment as we all navigate through this COVID-era.


Wednesday, March 10, 3:00-4:30
Incorporating Nonfiction in your Curriculum
CLiF Board of Advisors member Mary Ann Cappiello will discuss the role of nonfiction books across the curriculum. She will highlight a few different new nonfiction books (over the last year) and some teaching ideas connected to the strengths of those books, and she will model one of those activities in a combination of presentation and active application. See the brainstorming document created by attendees and Mary Ann’s slideshow.

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 Teaching with Text SetsTeaching to Complexity: An Evaluation Framework for Literary and Content-Area Texts, and the forthcoming Text Sets in Action: Pathways Through Content Literacy (Stenhouse, April 2021) and writes about using children’s literature in the K-8 classroom at The Classroom Bookshelf,School Library Journal blog and The Biography Clearinghouse. She chaired the National Council of Teachers of English Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Committee through 2018.

Wednesday, March 17, 3:00-4:30
Using Comics Across Subjects
Marek Bennett will lead the group in creating a four-panel comic and discuss techniques for using comics in conjunction with primary resources, poems, and personal journals. 

Marek Bennett, M.Ed., is a cartoonist, musician, and educator who leads Comics Workshops for all ages throughout New England and the world beyond! His graphic novel, The Civil War Diary of Freeman Colby, Volume 2, features the adventures of a NH school teacher in the Union Army, as well as the stories of the soldiers, nurses, writers, and refugees from slavery during the year 1863. The first book in the series, The Civil War Diary of Freeman Colby, was named a 2017 Great Graphic Novel for Teens by the Young Adult Library Services Association. Marek is also the author of several comics for the Vermont Folklife Center’s El Viaje project, the graphic novel Slovakia: Fall in the Heart of Europe, and the NH history webcomic “LIVE FREE AND DRAW!” 

Wednesday, March 24, 3:00-4:30
Finding Your New Story Idea
Chris Tebbetts will lead us in a multi-part exercise aimed at identifying writers’ fascinations/favorite kinds of story elements, and using those as inspiration for a new story idea. We’ll begin and end the session with discussion, including Q&A, as well as sharing work from a few brave souls. This activity has mostly been delivered to middle grade classrooms, but is also flexible enough to be adapted for others.

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 YA novel, ME, MYSELF, AND HIM came out in 2019. Chris brings experience teaching students as well as adults with an interest in writing for young readers. 

Contact Meredith with questions or if you would like to participate in the conference with the recorded sessions.

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