Community Building, Family Literacy Nights, Book Drives, At-Risk Children Application, Giving Tuesday

November 2017

Building Communities through CLiF's Newest Literacy Program

First graders at J.J. Flynn Elementary School in Burlington, VT chose new books to read with their Senior Reading Buddies at the Kindred Birchwood Terrace Retirement Home

At CLiF, we're always on the look-out for new ways to encourage reading and writing and to help strengthen the communities we serve through literacy. Last year, we offered a
new CLiF Community Building grant to any classroom, club, or group serving low-income, at-risk, and rural kids in New Hampshire and Vermont to build deeper connections between kids and their communities through reading and writing. It was such a success that we're doing it again! This year, we offered some of the programs that have been successful in the past, in addition to an exciting new opportunity for young writers. 

We're thrilled to announce the Community Building initiatives CLiF is sponsoring this year:

  • Senior Reading Buddies programs: For the second year in a row, we're sponsoring reading buddies partnerships between local retirement communities/senior centers and students at Belmont Elementary School (a CLiF Year of the Book school 2016-2017) in Belmont, NH; J.J. Flynn Elementary School in Burlington, VT; and Morristown Elementary School in Morrisville, VT. We're also sponsoring new senior reading  buddies programs at the Wolfeboro Area Children's Center in Wolfeboro, NH and Newport City Elementary School in Newport City, VT.

    Poet Geof Hewitt reads aloud and talks to Morristown Elementary students about reading with others at the weekly Lamoille Senior Center/Meals on Wheels of Lamoille County lunch, where students and their Senior Reading Buddies read together

  • "1,000 Books Before Kindergarten": This year, CLiF is sponsoring Building Bright Futures' "1,000 Books Before Kindergarten" initiative in Bennington, VT for the second year in a row. We're also sponsoring a new initiative to encourage kids to read "1,000 Books Before Kindergarten" led by the Ingalls Memorial Library in Rindge, NH. The stated goals of "1,000 Books Before Kindergarten" are "to promote reading to newborns, infants and toddlers" and "to encourage parent and child bonding."
For both of these programs, the CLiF grant provides a training on reading out loud together with one of CLiF's professional presentersan on-site library of children's books ($500 value) for the classroom or program, and two books for each child to choose and keep to read together or practice at home.
  • "My Community Story": An exciting new opportunity offered through this year's Community Building grant is the Young Writers' Project's new "My Community Story" digital platform for students to share their stories and be inspired by fun prompts and challenges. Cutler Elementary School in West Swanzey, NH will use this platform to continue developing their own stories and share their work. According to 3rd grade teacher Megan Neurock, "They love writing, don't want to stop writing, want to keep writing!"
As part of their grant, they'll get a writing workshop from one of CLiF's presenters, the digital platform, and funds to host an end-of-year celebration to showcase their work to their families and community members.

We're proud to help these schools, libraries, and after school programs maintain ongoing partnerships and launch new efforts to connect kids to their communities through reading and writing. Thank you for helping us make this all possible!

Warm wishes,
Duncan, Meredith, Jana, Erika, and Stephanie

    Literacy Fun for the Whole Family

Literacy development doesn't just happen at school, which is why several of CLiF's literacy programs include a special discussion with parents and families about why reading regularly with young kids is so important to their development, vocabulary and communications skills, bonding, and learning readiness. CLiF's experienced presenters offer tips and strategies for reading together, even for family members who may not feel confident reading out loud, and help break down the barriers many families face to engaging with their kids' emerging literacy skills.

As the holidays approach, our Year of the Book partners will host family literacy nights, which include a free dinner for the school community, literacy discussions for adult family members while the kids have other fun activities planned, and end with each adult choosing two books for each of their children. Many schools choose to provide volunteers to wrap the books so they can be holiday gifts.


CLiF's At-Risk Children program also offers optional family literacy discussions for programs serving low-income, at-risk, and rural families, from afterschool programs to affordable housing communities. This fall, many of our At-Risk partners opted to host these discussions, in addition to storytime for the kids with a CLiF presenter, new books for the program, and new books for each child to choose and keep.

In November and December, CLiF Family Literacy Nights at Year of the Book schools include Unity Elementary School in Unity, NH; the Alburgh Community Education Center in Alburgh, VT, the Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes School in Burlington, VT, and Peterborough Elementary School in Peterborough, NH, as well as At-Risk Children partners Stewartstown Afterschool Program in Stewartstown, NH; the Family Center of Washington County in Montpelier, VT; and the Upper Room Family Resource Center in Derry, NH.

Year of the Book school Dr. Norman W. Crisp Elementary School in Nashua, NH recently combined their Family Literacy celebration with an annual international night into "International Dinner and a Book Night." CLiF presenter Marty Kelley shared his popular stories with a record 240+ students and their family members (students had read Marty's latest book, Albert's Almost Amazing Adventure, during library class to get excited for the event). The local children's librarian was also there to help many families sign up for library cards. In the words of school librarian Danno Hynes, "This was a very successful event for our school, attended by all of our administrators as well as many of our teachers and also volunteers from the school community...Many thanks again to the team at CLiF and your generous sponsors for making events like this possible!"

Photos: Top: A Nashua parent digs into the new books her son chose at Dr. Crisp School's International Dinner and  Book Night; Middle: Volunteers wrap books at Marlboro School (Year of the Book school 2016-2017); Bottom: Parents and students peruse their new book choices.

Holiday Book Drives for CLiF

We gave away more than $700,000 in books to low-income, at-risk, and rural kids in more than 150 towns in New Hampshire and Vermont last year. That's only possible because of generous donors like you - and partners like these bookstores hosting book drives for CLiF this year. You can purchase a children's book (or a few!) for CLiF at each of these stores this holiday season, and they'll go to kids throughout NH and VT.

Participating stores:
  • Bridgeside Books in Waterbury, VT (shown above: Bridgeside's haul of books donated to CLiF last year under their "Giving Tree")
  • Ebenezer Books in Johnson, VT
  • MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH
  • Morgan Hill Bookstore in New London, NH (popular local storyteller & CLiF presenter Simon Brooks will be give a fun storytelling session at this store later this month - stay tuned for details!)
  • Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, VT (CLiF is proud to be one of the four nonprofits/service agencies that receive books from the store's annual Book Angels program)
  • Phoenix Books (4 locations: Burlington, Essex, Chester, and Rutland, VT. Note: Author/CLiF presenter Lynda Graham Barber will be reading from her newest book at the Phoenix Essex & Rutland stores this Saturday, Nov, 4!)
  • Toadstool Books in Keene, NH
Huge thanks to these bookstores for hosting book drives for CLiF! If you live in own of these areas - or find yourself passing through - please consider stopping in your local bookstore and adding a children's book for CLiF to your purchase. It will make a young reader in our region very happy!

And thanks to all who donate books for low-income, at-risk, and rural kids (up to age 12) in New Hampshire and Vermont.

Some generous individuals also choose to run book drives for CLiF at their holiday party, office, or other gathering. If you're interested in collecting new books for kids in need, please contact Erika at

At-Risk Children Grant Applications Due December 6!

Applications for CLiF's At-Risk Children grant are available now! Deadline to apply for Spring 2018 cycle is December 6, 2017.

Who is Eligible: Organizations or programs serving at-risk, low-income, and rural kids in Vermont or New Hampshire who can gather at least 30 kids for a storytelling presentation

What the grant offers:
A fun presentation with one of CLiF's talented presenters, an on-site children's library, an optional parent/family seminar on literacy, and two new books for each child to keep!

Click here to apply.

Contact Jana Brown at (802) 244-0944 or with any questions.

Fall 2017 At-Risk Children partners include:
  • The Champlain Valley Head Start Open House at Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, VT (shown above);
  • Twin Pines Housing in West Lebanon, NH and Brattleboro Housing Partnerships in W. Brattleboro, VT;
  • Lund Adoption Services based in Burlington, VT (CLiF brought storytelling and books for more than 200 children to their 20th Annual Adoption picnic, in addition to donating children's books for their offices for families going through the adoption process);
  • Stewartstown Community Afterschool Program in Stewartstown, NH, Colebrook Elementary Afterschool Program in Colebrook, NH; and Stratford Public Afterschool Program in Stratford, NH;
  • The Family Center of Washington County in Montpelier, VT and Otter Creek Child Care Center in Middlebury, VT; and
  • The Upper Room Family Resource Center in Derry, NH.

Give a Book to a Child for #GivingTuesday

This #GivingTuesday, November 28th, please consider giving a book to a child by donating to CLiF. If you believe all children deserve access to high-quality reading materials that interest them, there are 3 ways you can help encourage a love of reading (and writing!) among NH and VT's low-income, at-risk, and rural children this Giving Tuesday. 

1. Donate to CLiF. 
A $10 donation provides a book for a child. You can give online or mail a check to CLiF at 1536 Loomis Hill Rd, Waterbury Center, VT 05677.
If you want to give a specific book you or your kids love, just put the title and author in the memo line of your check or online donation. We'll do our best to accommodate your request so the kids we serve can benefit from a story you and your family loves!

2. Send a new children's book to CLiF. 
If you'd prefer to purchase your favorite (unused!) children's book and send it to us, we welcome that, too! If you're in NH or VT, we recommend shopping at the bookstores hosting book drives for CLiF (see left); you can skip the post office and support a local bookstore as well as the kids CLiF serves! But wherever you choose to get your books, they will make a huge difference for the young readers we serve, many of whom have few or no books at home until their first CLiF book giveaway. Our book lists can help answer most of your questions about the kinds of books we give away. We're happy to answer any more questions you may have! 

Donated books can be sent to CLiF at 1536 Loomis Hill Rd, Waterbury Center, VT 05677.

3. Spread the word!
We know that there are so many important causes to support, and are grateful for every single person, bookstore, business, foundation, partner, and organization that helps us spread the joy of literacy! If inspiring a love of reading and writing among low-income, at-risk, and rural kids in NH and VT is important to you, please tell your friends, family, and colleagues about it! Encourage them to learn more about CLiF and attend an event if they can (please let us know first). Post on social media that you're supporting CLiF for #GivingTuesday. One of the best ways you can help us have an even bigger impact on literacy in our region is to help spread the word!

Copyright © 2014 Children's Literacy Foundation. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address:
Children's Literacy Foundation (CLiF)
1536 Loomis Hill Road
Waterbury Center, VT 05677
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