Organization celebrates CLiF grant

NASHUA — Literacy is an important foundation to any child’s education. Thanks to a grant from the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF) received by the Southern New Hampshire Services Child Development Center in Nashua, children and their families will be able to learn a little more.

The CLiF Grant’s mission is 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.”

Thursday, author and illustrator Erin Moulton visited the SNHS Child Development Center in Nashua to read stories to the children, and provide parents tips on reading with their children. Moulton gave tips on reading aloud. She discussed the importance of having many different choices in reading material. She emphasized that parents should be having fun with their children when they’re reading to them by making it interactive.

Some tips she gave included pointing out things on the page, asking and answering questions about the story and not forcing them to “sit still and be quiet.” This can sometimes make active children view reading as a negative experience. Moulton was able to give these tips through her own experiences with reading to her young son.

Once she finished, she told an animated story about fairies and giants to the children before picking out a few books to read.

The books she chose from were those purchased with the CLiF grant and have now become part of the center’s library lending program, through which students may borrow a book. The night concluded with the children visiting a separate table of books, where they could choose two to take home and keep.

Moulton said telling stories to children is not only important, but also rewarding.

“I love seeing the kids take the stories and then be inspired and do something else with them,” Moulton said. “So if I’m doing a storytelling presentation and they like one of the characters, that gives them an idea for something else. I really like to encourage their own thinking and imagination and inventiveness.”

Children were given stickers that read “junior authors.” Moulton said it reminds them they are creators, too.

Reading to children has other benefits as well.

“It’s a way to learn about the world because a lot of kids, and really all of us, are stuck in our own little ‘house’ and our own little spot in the universe, and then when we read books about all sorts of different places, it lets you learn about those places without going there,” Moulton said. “I think that’s really important, especially in the world that we live in now, the more widely we can read, the better off we are.”

Along with reading, Moulton said oral storytelling is something that brings people together, and in a sense, it’s more relaxed.

“I like how you don’t necessarily focus on phonics or grammar, or doing it correctly. It’s just about telling a story, and if you can do it verbally, eventually you can be able to write it down.”

The rest of the books that weren’t taken home by children will be available in the center’s library lending program.

Grace Pecci can be reached at 594-1243 at gpecci@nashuatelegraph.com.