Annually, CLiF invites past, present, and recently-accepted Year of the Book partners to attend the CLiF Community Literacy Conference. The main goal of the conference is to connect teachers, librarians, and administrators with ideas for making their Year of the Book fun and for continuing the momentum the grant generates. This year’s conference agenda included sessions on diversity in books with Cass Mabbott, on poetry and personal storytelling with Rajnii Eddins, and on comics in the classroom with Michelle Ollie and Kane Lynch from the Center for Cartoon Studies.

CLiF happily shares the ideas collected during the day with our greater community.

From our session presenters:

Diversity – Here is Cass’s presentation, including resources, book lists, and vendors.

Center for Cartoon Studies – Did you know that graphic novel sales have been growing by 26% for the last 8 consecutive years? Michelle and Kane reminded us that it is not about drawing well; It is about using simple drawings to tell a story and to show understanding and empathy. Here is the link to the comics training materials. For more information on Kane Lynch, here is his website. Here is the Center for Cartoon Studies’ summer session link.

Rajnii Eddins hosts events in his role as Artistic Director for the Young Writers Project. Here are some tips for incorporating spoken word poetry into the classroom.

CLiF thanks Carol Varney from Usbourne Books for again attending the conference. With sales from conference day and an ongoing online sales, CLiF earned almost 250 new books that will show up in book giveaways soon! You can support CLiF by shopping here.

Here are some of the ideas schools shared:

Mystery Reader: A special envelope is delivered to the class on Monday. Each day for four days the teacher pulls out one piece of paper from the envelope and reads aloud a clue about the identity of a mystery reader who will arrive later in the week. As the week goes on the students try to guess who it might be. At the end of the week, the teacher opens the door with great fanfare and the mystery reader is revealed. Then the reader joins the kids and reads a book. Here is a similar idea from CLiF’s resource page.

Reading to a Tree:  Students select a favorite tree around the school and adopt it. Then they would periodically go outside and read to the tree. They also do some other project (e.g., draw the tree or study the species). Schools have also read to live and stuffed animals. 

Book Reviews from Older Kids:  5th graders read some favorite books from when they were in 1st or 2nd grade. Then they record on audio file a review of the book. The reviews are linked to a QR code that is placed on the back of each book. With their iPads the 1st and 2nd graders scan the QR codes and hear the 5th graders giving their review of that particular book.

Blind Date with a Book:  Here are photos and a description of the Marlboro School’s Valentine Day’s event.

Poem Town:  Many poems are copied and rolled up into small tubes and wrapped in ribbon. They are placed into a big bowl. Students select them at random, read them, and/or keep them for the day to share with others. Poem in your Pocket and Poem City are variations.

Quilt of Stories: In one school after Natalie Kinsey-Warnock visited, each student wrote and illustrated a family story on a square of paper. The teacher taped all the squares together, and then the students stitched the outside with yarn, and they hung the story ‘quilt’ for Natalie to see when she arrived. A variation is to include a photo and writing.

Hall Sprawl:  A variation on Drop Everything and Read, in this school students came to school with a beach towel. At the appointed time, students could go anywhere they wished (within a prescribed area) set out their beach towel, and read. Kids were sprawled down the hallways and all over the place.

Readometer: The librarian set up a “readometer” recording the number of minutes kids read. When they reached the goal, they watched a movie. Perhaps incorporate Rock n’ Read to get to the goal.

Draw Your Most Recently Read Book’s Cover: As a way to celebrate finishing a book and to help remember the story, have kids draw the cover as it is or as they think it should be. A variation – create a Wanted Poster for the bad guy in the story.

One participant wrote:
“Definitely stepped outside my comfort zone to open myself up to learning at ‪#cliflitconference – Such an awesome day of learning ‪@cliforg

Don’t forget to visit our resource page for more ideas. Each year, CLiF offers a few new ideas that will be added to this resource page – see the new ideas here.

CLiF loves to participate in everyone’s learning and to share it! Thank you to everyone who came with ideas and left some new ones with CLiF.

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