A few months back, I was invited to join a new group that had been formed on Facebook. A group may not be the best turn of phrase, it’s more of a community. A Community of fellow authors, teachers, parent’s and ones who are doing all they can to support Children’s Literacy. I have enjoyed all that I have been learning, the interchange of ideas, and expressions has been encouraging.
I felt I would be remiss if I did not take this blogging opportunity to share with all of you, this hidden gem. I’ve thought about this for awhile now, but how would I go about it? After mulling things over, why not invite the founding members to share their personal expressions with us!
I’ve asked each of the four members to tell us a little bit about KidLit Parade from their perspective. To share with us the story behind the community, and how it has impacted them. So without further ado, I now turn things over to Nelson Suit!
KidLit Parade is a collaborative project dedicated to inspiring kids to read and enjoy books. We are comprised of a motley group of authors, teachers, parents and care givers, artists and other creatives who enjoy each other’s company and who, each in our own way, believe in the importance of children’s literacy.
When the four of us (that’s Jill Cofsky, K. Lamb, Cat Michaels and Nelson Suit – more about us below) first started to talk about the KidLit Parade idea last fall, what we had in mind was to gather a group of creative people together who would not only share children’s literacy ideas and resources we came upon but that would be a source, a wellspring if you will, for generating new creative literacy ideas and resources. And, of course, we wanted to have fun while doing it!
Have you considered making a read-aloud video? What are the different ways kids can write and make their own books? Are there fun word games that inspire kids to learn new words? Can you intersperse literacy ideas into something as fun and whimsical as tea time? How have you used online resources and learning apps to support reading?
Each month, we announce a creative prompt that is intended to spur ideas and discussion around literacy themes such as these. We currently use a closed Facebook group [https://www.facebook.com/groups/KidLitParade/] as the forum for our discussion and shares. The group is intended to be a place where members can feel safe about sharing new ideas. It’s a place where we can experiment.
We are slowly building a small community of like-minded individuals with our Facebook group. Our aspiration: to be creative, original and fun literacy advocates who are supportive of one another.
What is always challenging, of course, is time. Most of us in the group are involved in myriads of projects at the same time (not to mention having to balance family and work). So the Facebook group is what we are focused on at this time. The four of us are grateful for the group that has coalesced around KLP. Writing, narrating, illustrating or otherwise publishing children’s books and reading resources or working with kids on reading is not easy work. It all takes dedication and, if nothing else, the group is a place you can go and know that someone will always have something nice and supportive to say.
We have plans for the future though. For one, we are hoping that members who generate literacy ideas and resources within the KLP group would be able to share it via the KidLit Parade website . We may post (with permission, of course) a member’s ideas on the site with a link to the member’s webpage or simply link to the member’s page where the resource would be located. This is an idea we are working on. Also, if a member has a children’s literacy page, we may exchange links and create a “parade” of children’s literacy pages.
There’s also a presence for KidLit Parade on Twitter: @KidLitParade, and we look forward to expanding our activities there. We currently retweet children’s literacy posts (use hashtag #kidlitx for literacy tweets and we’ll search for those) and, as time allows, we hope to share more original literacy ideas and resources there. We hope to create a network of KLP members who will support each other by retweeting posts with the #kidlitx hashtag. If members are posting literacy-related posts on their blogs, for example, or have a new children’s book or other literacy resource available, KLP members can support each other by being engaged in conversation and sharing.
As the group matures and there is interest, group members might also collaborate on specific children’s literacy projects that are more concrete in nature (fun, creative ones, of course, and ones that will have real impact on kids being inspired to read and write).
Thank you Carmela for giving us the opportunity to say something about KidLit Parade. We’re also so grateful that you are part of our community. Whether you are author, librarian or gardener, if part of your work involves finding creative ways to inspire a child to read and write, we invite you to learn more about us via our website at KidLitParade.com and to connect with any of the us (below). Join us on the march in support of children’s literacy!
Here’s a little more about ourselves (the founding members) in our own individual voices and a bit about what attracted us to the project.
Jill Cofsky: Hello! My name is Jill Cofsky. I’m a professional voice actor and a first grade public school teacher. As a voice actor, I work behind the scenes to add a voice to projects, such as children’s audiobooks, book trailers, promotional videos, or educational materials. In my role as a first grade teacher, I do my best to ignite a love of reading in my students. Additionally, I also volunteer as a community news broadcaster for the visually impaired in my area and as an audiobook narrator for Learning Ally, a U.S. nonprofit serving students with learning and visual disabilities.
I am honored to be one of the founding members and the voice talent for KidLit Parade. Nelson, Kristen, and Cat are amazing friends who kindly share their love for, and knowledge of, children’s literacy with others. When asked to be involved with KLP, I knew instantly that it would be an incredibly rewarding experience to be a part of this supportive and inspirational project. We hope to come together with other members of our group to share ideas and inspire a love of reading in children. Together, we can do so much!
K. Lamb: I’d like to first thank Carmy for inviting us here today and for wanting to learn more about KidLit Parade. My name is K. Lamb. I am the author of theDani P. Mystery Series. My own interest in this collaboration that hopes to encourage literacy among children is the importance of earlyliteracy. It is my strong belief that if you capture a child’s imagination at a young age they will develop a love of literature that will last a lifetime. Not only does this promote academic success, but it helps a child to become aware of the world around them. One of my favorite ideologies in education is don’t teach a child what to think, but teach a child how to think. With this as a foundation, a child can strive and accomplish goals that might have once been unimaginable. Please join us in our mission to help promote literacy. Remember, it is never too early to start a child upon their path to the future. #PromoteLiteracy
Cat Michaels: Hey, it’s Cat here. Lovely meeting you! I’m a blogger, educator, and author of the Sweet T Tales Series of chapter books for early readers. I live with my family in North Carolina where I write, design pocket gardens, and dabble in digital photography. Currently, I’m writing my third Sweet T Tale for publication in winter 2016.
I’ve had many career paths, including time in classrooms and on college campuses, but my professional life always included helping people of all ages develop their best selves. And that’s what drew me to this community. KidLit Parade offers a unique opportunity to come together with other creatives, educators, and family members to pool their resources and ideas to promote literacy…..the great stuff that helps us help kids. With my special education background, I also look for ways to support those who struggle with reading and writing.
Plus truth be told, I’m majorly jazzed working alongside the talented folk in the KLP community…..love learning from them and soaking up ideas they generously share. We are growing slowly to make sure this parade grows in the best way. The possibilities for our future are beyond exciting!
Nelson Suit: My name is Nelson Suit and I am the author of the middle gradeTilley Pond Mouse book series. The three books in the series chronicle the adventures of Els the mouse and his friends as they travel in the wilds beyond his home at Tilley Pond. I am also an editor at Inkspokes, a literacy e-zine dedicated to authors, illustrators and other creatives who indie publish or publish via small presses.
My interest in KidLit Parade stems in part from my own interest in writing, but it also arises because I have two kids at home. One is about to enter kindergarten and the other is in fourth grade. It always seems easier to find books to inspire a kindergartener – for them books emanate love and magic. It’s often more of a challenge to reach an older child, especially these days with all the distractions that digital technology brings to the home. So partly I wanted to experiment with new ideas, creative ideas that would inspire a nine or ten-year-old to maintain a love of reading (at the same time also looking for new resources for the younger one). And I was hoping to have some friends to do this with!
Lamb, Cat Michaels, Jill Cofsky and I had crossed paths a number of times in our book-making pursuits and I knew their work and thought it would be really fun to have an opportunity to work with them. Have you read E.L. Konigsburg’s middle grade book The View from Saturday? Sometimes I think we could be the four Souls meeting at Sillington House for high tea (well, if you haven’t read the book, here’s a reading idea – it was a good read-aloud book for me to read with my 10-year old). Of course, now the group is bigger, and there are more folks dropping by for tea!
Thank you so much Nelson, Cat, Jill and K for stopping by my humble blog to give an inside peek of the working of KidLit Parade. If you would like to to learn more about KidLit Parade and would like to join us in promoting Children’s Literacy, please visit kidlitparade.com
You can learn more about each of our guest by visiting their links here: