What do you get when you add 130 teachers, principals, librarians and superintendents from 37 elementary schools throughout two states together for an intensive, jam-packed literacy conference? One inspiring day and a whole lot of ideas for promoting literacy to take home to your school, library, and community! That’s exactly what happened yesterday at CLiF’s fifth annual FREE Literacy Conference at Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, VT, themed “Making Literacy Fun for All.” Representatives from all past, current, and incoming schools who have received CLiF’s Year of the Book grant (“YOB”) were invited to learn strategies for encouraging reading and writing in their schools and communities and to share ideas with each other. Participants came from every corner of Vermont and New Hampshire to connect to colleagues, learn about ways to make their Year of the Book grant successful (or, for past schools, strategies to keep the momentum around reading and writing going), and get to know CLiF a little better. They were also able to take away lots of free books (as well as purchase Usborne Books‘ fantastic new titles, and for two lucky winners, take home free copies of their popular new flashlight book series, with 50% of proceeds going back to CLiF), earn professional credit, and get lots of ideas for engaging kids and families around reading and writing.
The results are in: everyone LOVED learning about the “Whole Book Approach” from the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art‘s Courtney Waring. Author and CLiF Presenter Marv Klaassen-Landis‘ hands-on writing workshop was also a huge hit. Participants also attended training sessions on conducting their Year of the Book grant (for incoming YOB schools), strategies and ideas for continuing building momentum around literacy in the school (for current and past YOB schools), and shared their thoughts and tips about reading with kids in a discussion around the importance of reading (and engaging with language) for children, ages birth-to-five. We value all of the ideas, suggestions, and feedback shared during these sessions, and very much appreciated hearing what resonated most with educators.
Here’s some of the feedback we received after this busy day:
“We are so excited for our YOB and are blown away at actually how extensive and detailed this grant gets. This is really going to take literacy to a whole new level in our school and community. Thank you for having a great opportunity available!”
“I loved the writing ideas and Eric Carle (presentation) for ideas with working with students.”
“Loved all the “take back” activities, got me reinvigorated!”
“Just being reminded to keep literacy fun, engaging, an important life skill and pleasure(able) is important.”
Getting to (re)connect with so many of our partners around the excitement of the Year of the Book and building cultures of literacy across New Hampshire and Vermont has given us all a boost of inspiration around this important work. We’re very much looking forward to continuing working with these schools in the coming year. Here’s the list of all the Year of the Book grant recipients for the 2017-2018 school year (We expanded the grant to reach TEN schools next year, up a 67% increase in the number of schools served since the inaugural year of this grant, way back in 2011-2012!)
Huge CLiF thanks goes out to everyone who participated, all of the presenters, Carol Varney from Usborne Books, and everyone at Lake Morey Resort who made this all possible!