Bristol, NH students squealed with delight as storyteller Duncan McDougall recounted the classic story of Sylvester and the Magic PebbleDuncan jumped around and used funny voices to bring the beloved story to life. This was the first of many visits from CLiF’s 64 talented authors, illustrators, poets, and storytellers that Bristol Elementary School will get this year as part of their Year of the Book grant. The school was one of five New Hampshire elementary schools (along with five in Vermont) selected for this school year’s grant.

The CLiF Year of the Book provides selected elementary schools in VT and NH with $25,000 in literacy programming, including:

  • Inspiring author visits and workshops with CLiF’s talented presenters
  • Family Literacy events, such as free community dinners with storytelling and a discussion on sharing books together
  • Fun new classroom projects
  • Mini-grants that fund programming to connect literacy to the real world
  • New books for the school library
  • New books for the local public library
  • New books for classrooms
  • TEN new books for each child to choose

The grant kicked off with storytelling with Duncan (pictured above), then local high schools students helped each child choose the first of their new books.

Bristol is a small community struggling with the effects of substance abuse and high poverty rates. One of the school’s goals is to increase parent and family engagement in their children’s education. One way CLiF helps families engage in what’s happening at school is by hosting Family Literacy Celebrations. Families get to enjoy a free dinner together and storytelling from one of CLiF’s presenters. Then the CLiF presenter talks to families about easy and fun ways to share books with kids and each child gets more new books.

Bristol students choose their first of ten new books


The Year of the Book program is designed to build a culture of literacy within a community, connect more families to the school, ensure all students have access to a variety of high-quality reading materials, and increase a love of reading and writing.

A young reader in Bristol shows off her new books


This year, authors Deborah Bruss, author/illustrator Jim Arnosky, and author/illustrator John Steven Gurney will visit the school to share with students their process for creating books and generate excitement around reading and writing.

Bristol Curriculum Coordinator Kim Sarfde says, “We are beyond grateful that CLiF chose Bristol Elementary School to participate in the Year of the Book grant. Our students have been exposed to a diversity of books, authors, and experiences that would not be possible without the grant. We are thankful for the ability to continue building our school library, as well as individual student access to texts for personal reading. We have had a tremendous amount of support from our community partners, which has been inspiring because we are collectively sending the message that literacy is important to everyone.”

Is your school interested in applying for the Year of the Book grant for the 2019-2020 school year?  Applications will be available at in December. Contact Meredith with any questions.

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CLiF has served over 350,000 children since 1998.

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