2016-07-19 / Front Page

Library literacy event aims to keep kids reading over break

By Tory Jones Bonenfant

Storyteller, author and photographer Marv Klassen-Landis of Windsor tells the story of Lazy Jack and his misadventures to a group of about 50 children, parents and grandparents on Monday, July 18 at the Rockingham Free Public Library. — TORY JONES BONENFANTStoryteller, author and photographer Marv Klassen-Landis of Windsor tells the story of Lazy Jack and his misadventures to a group of about 50 children, parents and grandparents on Monday, July 18 at the Rockingham Free Public Library. — TORY JONES BONENFANTBELLOWS FALLS — Nearly 50 children and adults took part in an annual interactive storytelling session in Bellows Falls that culminated in two free books for every child who attended.

The Rockingham Free Public Library, under the organization of Youth Services Librarian Sam Maskell, presented the activity on Monday, July 18 at the library to help prevent the “summer slide” in literacy skills that can accompany school summer vacation, according to Maskell.

Storyteller, author and photographer Marv Klassen-Landis of Windsor talked to the group about literacy and about being an author, photographer, actor and poet, and and shared his book “Jump, Children, Jump” with them.

The program was presented through a Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF) Summer Readers grant.

“Research shows that children who don’t read over summer vacation tend to lose literacy skills while children who do read improve their reading abilities,” Maskell said in a press release from the library. “Research also shows that kids who are able to self-select the books they read over the summer experience the same positive impact as if they had attended summer school.”

Infants, toddlers, children and pre-teen readers laughed, called out lines, and moved their arms along with one of Klassen-Landis’s original works, which he performed as poetry-on-stage. He also entertained the group with his animated telling of a folk story from England, “Lazy Jack,” before inviting every child in attendance to pick out two books from a wide selection to bring home and keep.

A 9-year-old reader named Hadley picked two books in the “Lunch Lady” series by author Jarrett Krosoczka.

“They’re funny!” she said.

Oscar Johnson, 6, picked out two Dr. Seuss books. He was at the event with his brothers Calvin, 4, Teddy, 14 months, and their parents Matt and Jackie Johnson of Saxtons River. They had also picked out Dr. Seuss and Richard Scarry board books for the youngest member of the family.  

Izabel Arvin, 9, visiting from Savannah, Georgia was at the library with her grandmother, Elaine Arvin of Saxtons River.  

“I like that we get free books to keep forever,” Izabel said. The story “Lazy Jack” was funny, too, she said.   

“I love to read and write, and that’s why I’m here,” said Klassen-Landis who has been taking part in CLiF storytelling events since the organization’s second or third year. CLiF was founded in 1998, with a mission to “inspire a love of reading and writing among low-income, at-risk, and rural children up to age 12 throughout New Hampshire and Vermont,” according to the organization’s website

Telling stories and giving books away is “a delight,” Klassen-Landis said. “I love what they (CLiF) do.”

The literacy program, in its second year at the library, was free and open to the public. Two more events are planned as part of the library’s summer series: “Lindsay and her Puppet Pals,” at 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 19, and “Animal Athletes” with the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 26.

For more information on upcoming events, call (802) 463-4270, email youthservices@rockinghamlibrary.org, or visit the library online at www.rockinghamlibrary.org.




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