We’re a little more than halfway through the school year, and, for ten schools in Vermont and New Hampshire this year, the CLiF Year of the Book, which promotes a celebration of reading and writing all year long. As we welcome National Reading Month, which kicks off with Read Across America Day on March 2nd (beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss’ birthday), it feels like the perfect time to take a closer look at what these schools are doing to create a community-wide culture of literacy in their towns.

Year of the Book schools have already had many author visits, writing workshops, family literacy events, and book giveaways, in addition to the new books they’ve gotten for the school library, public library, and classrooms, and funding for special classroom initiatives related to literacy. Here are snapshots from each of our 2017-2018 CLiF Year of the Book schools (We’ll be announcing next year’s Year of the Book recipients soon.)

Alburgh, VT


Year of the Book programming includes a Family Literacy Night, during which the school community is treated to a free dinner, storytelling by one of CLiF’s presenters, and a discussion on tips and strategies for reading together and helping kids develop strong literacy skills. Many schools, including the Alburgh Community Education Center, chose to hold their events before the holidays and invited parents to select new books for each of their kids, which were then wrapped by volunteers.

The school coordinator said, “The excitement preceding the event was palpable and carried over into our evening together. Our café staff served a handmade dinner which included local apple cider. Doug Wilhlem led a fabulous discussion around creating literacy traditions, and families were encouraged to share what they do at home.  Many people contributed their ideas.  While the parents were in the seminar, students had fun throughout the building.  Pre-K-2 danced, read, and played and middle schoolers helped out with the other kids–reading, wrangling, and playing.  Parents were thoughtful in their book choices and talked with each other and staff/volunteers to pick out the best books for their kids.

A parent sent this note after the event:

We’d like you all to know how impressed we were and how much we appreciate the wonderful “Literacy evening” held last night at school. What a great opportunity it was for parents and students alike. We thoroughly enjoyed the dinner, the speaker (very entertaining), the book selections, gift-wrapping, and the over-all excitement and excellent message of the evening. We especially commend the commitment, planning, and hard work of Alburgh School personnel – what a great job you all did!


Ashland, NH



A student putting his wish on Ashland’s Wish Tree, inspired by Katherine Applegate’s book, Wishtree

Bennington, VT


Molly Stark School is celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday and Read Across America Week with a special Dr. Seuss Week, during which students and their families will be invited to attend an evening celebrating the works of Dr. Seuss during the week of his birthday (March 2nd).

Burlington, VT

South Burlington author/illustrator Jason Chin and Sustainability Academy students in Burlington, VT imitate turtles, like the ones Jason writes about in his book, Island: A Story of the Galapagos 

Campton, NH


When Campton Elementary School students got to choose their first of ten books to keep, a kindergartener asked,
I get to keep these until I DIE???


Canaan, VT


Canaan Reading Interventionist Kim Abdoo says,” Although we are only a few months in, I want to speak on the profound impact this experience has provided our students…During the book giveaways, it is incredible to witness the groups of kids perusing a wide variety of books and feel the excitement of being able to choose a new book they can keep…From the visits with Duncan, David Martin…to the writing workshops with Marty Kelley, each author experience has shown students reading and writing can be so much fun!”

Nashua, NH


Watch Dr. Norman W. Crisp School’s Year of the Book kick-off featuring CLiF Executive Director & storyteller Duncan McDougall!

Peterborough, NH


-Note from a young reader at Peterborough Elementary School



Salisbury, VT


Author Natalie Kinsey-Warnock visited Salisbury Community School with her Storykeepers program, which teaches kids to research and tell their family stories. Natalie shares her own family stories, her inspiration for many of her books about growing up on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom. The week-long program concludes with students sharing their projects with their families and community members.

Natalie Kinsey-Warnock shares an old family photo with a Salisbury student

Unity, NH


Author/illustrator John Steven Gurney demonstrates drawing for Unity students.


That’s just a glimpse into the Year of the Book, These schools have plenty more exciting literacy programming coming up!


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