Over the past few weeks, CLiF Executive Director Duncan McDougall has packed the CLiFmobile with books and driven to Brownington, Newbury, and Johnson, Vermont, as well as Pittsfield and Berlin, New Hampshire. CLiF has partnered with each town’s elementary school on our newest program, CLiF’s Year of the Book. (We’re also working with Pittsburg, NH. Their kick-off event will be on October 11.)

Each elementary school will receive more than $25,000 in literacy-related events, presentations, support, and free new books for students over the 2012-2013 school year. All six schools have chosen their own local coordinators and advisory boards to decide which events will fit each school’s needs. Possibilities include storytelling presentations, book giveaways, free books for town and school libraries, writing workshops, author/illustrator visits, and mini-grants for teachers.

Duncan’s event at the Brown School in Berlin, NH, was a hit. Two huge groups of elementary school students, ranging from kindergarten to second grade, sat patiently while he introduced himself and told his own story of growing up as an enthusiastic reader. He talked about the joys and adventure to be had in books, then pulled some great titles from an array of hundreds of books (see the photo above) and told everyone a little about each one.

Duncan then launched into one classic story with each group. As he told Tale of a Tail and Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, young readers laughed, gasped, shouted out answers to questions – some even raised their hands – and gave him a rousing round of applause when he finished.

Then each child was able to walk up to tables covered in brand-new books and choose two books to take home and keep.

“The presentation was so good. The kids absolutely loved it,” said Brown School Librarian Ted Pacheco. “But the thing that I’ll take away, that I’ll never forget, is that once they got their books … as soon as they sat down, instead of talking to each other, you know what they were doing? They were all sitting together, reading their books.”

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CLiF has served over 350,000 children since 1998.

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