Partner Spotlight: World Vision for Education and Development (Cameroon)

The LitClub members getting ready to create and then unravel their human knot.

The LitClub members getting ready to create and then unravel their human knot.

LitWorld's Director of Program Operations, Ana Stern, on our history with WVED and the outstanding work our partnership coordinator completed over the past year there. We are exceptionally proud of the positive impact the organization is making in Bamenda, Cameroon:

We started our partnership in Cameroon through the A World At School initiative with of TheirWorld in 2014. Fideline Mboringong started off as a LitClub mentor and quickly revealed her ability to mobilize, train, and inspire, and we sought to support her work. Fideline is a resourceful and resilient woman working with World Vision for Education and Development in Bamenda, Cameroon. Currently, we run 9 LitClubs for girls, 2 LitClubs for boys, and 1 co-ed LitClub there, serving over 200 children.

The LitClub members mimicking an owl and having fun.

The LitClub members mimicking an owl and having fun.

Daniel Presenting his fine art.

Daniel Presenting his fine art.

In 2017, schools in the English-speaking areas of Cameroon shut down due to political reasons and safety concerns. Our LitClubs were running in those very schools, but instead of shutting down, Fideline decided that her organization would run the LitClubs at the regularly scheduled times from the WVED offices. And just like that, the LitClubs continued: there was no stopping our story sharing! Because of Fideline’s strong organizational support from WVED, not to mention her leadership skills, commitment, and deep ties with the community, she was able to continue the LitClubs for the entire year last year.

Not only did we run LitClubs, but Fideline organized the first ever LitCamp in Cameroon. For three days, 70 LitCampers engaged around the core theme of Hope, one of LitWorld’s 7 Strengths—knowing their optimism and efforts would produce a positive outcome in the future. During LitCamp, children participated in activities like independent reading, group games, and composition of Hope poems. They even organized Hope-themed drama and theatre projects, and created their own Hope mural.

Nixon catching fun on the guided tour of the Savanna Botanic Gardens during LitCamp.

Nixon catching fun on the guided tour of the Savanna Botanic Gardens during LitCamp.

Fatimatou presenting her Four Square Memory.

Fatimatou presenting her Four Square Memory.

This year, schools are back in session, and the LitClub members are more ready than ever to jump back in. They launched the 2018 LitClubs anxious to fill their new notebooks with stories of their lives, document them in each LitClub session, share with their peers, and put out their work out into the world.

In doing so, they will build their confidence and ability to advocate for their hopes. By documenting their curiosities, they will create the worlds in which they want to belong.

LitCamp Tour: Super Reader Road Trip Begins!

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LitWorld's founder, Pam Allyn, is embarking on the LitCamp Tour: Super Reader Road Trip starting on February 14th! Pam will speak at schools and meet with top administrators to talk about the importance and value of summer learning, and LitCamp's restorative magical values and solutions.

Scholastic is officially sponsoring the trip and will be tweeting and instagramming the journey.

Pam will travel by car with her dog Dewey in the passenger seat. They will journey through the U.S. along a southern route, stopping in Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

The tour will last approximately a month and should be very exciting! Pam is hoping to build even more national awareness for the power of LitCamps and to enroll thousands more children on her way for the LitWorld movement!

Stay tuned for updates from Pam's journey.

Say Hello to Our Newest Sponsor, Storiarts!

We are excited to welcome Storiarts to our big LitWorld family as our newest sponsor. Below, the Storiarts team writes from Oregon, U.S.A.

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Hello LitWorld friends! We are Storiarts, the creators of the Book Scarf, Writing Gloves, and other literary home goods and apparel. Our audience attracts creative-minded, compassionate avid readers and writers, which is why we set out to find a long-term charity to sponsor that cultivates a love of reading and writing worldwide.

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We share LitWorld’s vision to strengthen children and communities through the power of their own stories and to connect people with the love of books, which is why we are so excited that now every Storiarts purchase helps children worldwide learn to read, write, and create. The next chapter in our story is helping kids write their own.

It was a few weeks before Christmas Day in 2011 and our founder Tori Tissell had just graduated from Pratt Institute. In typical recent grad fashion, she was struggling to buy gifts for her family, so she turned to creativity.

Combining her affinity for fashion and inherent love for the literary classics, Tori created the very first Storiarts product: The Pride and Prejudice Book Scarf. Within several months, it became clear that this idea was more than just a one-time hand-crafted gift. It was a product that people wanted in their lives to relive their most treasured stories.

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Storiarts was created by husband and wife team, Chris and Tori Tissell. From 2011 to present day, we’ve built our team from one to ten, and we continue to connect people with their love of books - one literary good at a time. We’ve expanded our product line to a multitude of literary items including gloves, t-shirts, infant apparel, headbands, pillows, and totes.

We hope to continuously provide LitClub Members with books and writing supplies for one year, and follow along various LitClubs across the globe. We plan to participate and advocate World Read Aloud Day, which advocates for literacy as a human right that belongs to all people. Our ultimate goal is to strengthen children and communities through the power of their own stories and to connect people with the love of books.

Pam Allyn Talks Reading Aloud With Doctor Radio

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On Friday, January 12th, our founder Pam Allyn spoke live with the hosts of Doctor Radio's "Child Psychiatry/Psychology: About Our Kids" program on Sirius XM.

"Reading has always been about that idea of personal freedom and taking chances in very safe spaces," said Pam, "I find a personal power in what I read—narrative is a comfort and an inspiration, and I want all children to have that."

The program included a lively discussion of child brain development, early literacy skills, educational tools, and LitWorld's signature day of advocacy: World Read Aloud Day.

"Books don't always have to be this heavy thing for kids where they worry about taking a test after reading them," Pam said, "At some point, reading is hard for all of us. For children who struggle with reading, we must ask them what it would take to make it easier. Some will answer that the book they're reading is boring or difficult to follow—these are very different answers, and they require different approaches from parents and teachers."

The program is available to stream on-demand now.

Shannon Miller's World Read Aloud Day

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One of my favorite events every year is LitWorld's World Read Aloud Day.  This year we are celebrating on February 1st, 2018.

Over the last eight years, I have read, celebrated, learned, connected and created with others around the world in honor of World Read Aloud Day and literacy.  

One of the best parts of World Read Aloud Day for me are the connections that libraries and school communities make with other children, teachers, librarians, authors, illustrators, and friends from around the world.  Whether it is listening to them read, reading a book together, or singing along to the words, the celebration of reading aloud is what we lift up on this day.

When I was in the Van Meter Library, we connected with several of our favorite authors over the years, including Seymour Simon, Tom Angelberger, Cece Bell, Erica Perl, Donna Gephart, Laurel Synder, Jesse Klausmeier, and many others.

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We Skyped with our friends in Iowa, Georgia, Chicago, Florida, Philadelphia, New York, Texas, Connecticut, Australia, China, Oman and others around the world.

During one of our visits to a school in Florida this year, we will be having a little "Pig Party," including farm themed books and eBooks—and a visit with a special Iowa friend named Bacon, a pot-bellied pig.  

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The Collaborative Google Doc

As you and your school community plan World Read Aloud Day, Andy Plemmons, Matthew Winner and myself have created a Google Document for all of us to start making plans with others around the world. This year we have done something that will be super helpful to all of you: there is now a Table of Contents for Time Zones, which will help when connecting and planning. Teachers and WRAD participants can click on the time zone that they want and the page will jump forward to the proper place in the Google Doc. Underneath a particular time zone, there is an area for users to add their information.

The World Read Aloud Day 2018 Google Doc can be found here.

Skype in the Classroom + Buncee

I also have a very special new project to share with you, from two of my favorite educational resources to use as a teacher and librarian, Buncee and Skype in the Classroom.

This year, Skype in the Classroom and Buncee are joining forces to celebrate World Read Aloud Day with a global literacy peace project for your library, classroom, and community.

 As Buncee's Teacher Librarian Advocate and a Skype Master Teacher, I couldn't be more excited to share this news and to tell you how you and your students can be part of this project too.

It is called the Skype + Buncee Literacy Project! It is our brand new Buncee Buddies project to kick off 2018. Students will be collaborating, creating and sharing poems with an answer to the question, How Do I Model Peace In My Community?

As shared on the project page on the Skype in the Classroom site:

Words have the power to change our world. Reading & writing have the power to build bridges, foster understanding, and spark ideas. For World Read Aloud Day 2018, Skype in the Classroom and Buncee are asking you to join classrooms from all around to celebrate literacy by coming together to read, write, and spread peace.

Go to the Skype + Buncee Literacy Project page to read all of the details and register to join.

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We are already sharing on the #skypebunceebuddies hashtag on social media, and don't forget to use the official hashtag, #WorldReadAloudDay, in your posts too.  

Students' poems will be added to the Skype + Buncee Literacy Project Buncee Board, and I can't wait to read and share them too. You will find our Buncee Board here

Remember, be creative and have fun with this project.

LitWorld would love for us to connect with authors through Skype in the Classroom for World Read Aloud Day, and this project is now part of the wonderful ways we can connect using Skype.  

The sky is the limit and the possibilities to connect are endless. We will celebrate literacy while connecting and creating for World Read Aloud Day globally throughout the year with Buncee and Skype in the Classroom. 

Empower your students to share peace in the community and throughout the world in 2018 by being part of our project too! 

Have a wonderful time planning World Read Aloud Day, friends. I hope we get to connect too.

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Shannon McClintock Miller is a teacher-librarian who serves as the Future Ready Librarians and Project Connect Spokesperson working with librarians, educators and students around the country, in person and online every day. She is Buncee's Teacher Librarian Advisor and Cantata Learning's Teacher Librarian Advocate. Shannon is the author of the award-winning The Library Voice blog and recently published her first four children’s books about library skills with Cantata Learning. And her most favorite thing: she is blessed mom and wife.