In the village... (PrimeTime reading program) 2011.11.09

Written by David Green.

Relationships in the Village 

By Melissa Elliott, Storyteller 

PRIME TIME Family Reading Time 

Elliott’s essay about her experience with the 2010 PRIME TIME series appeared in the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities “News and Views” September/October e-newsletter. Excerpts are reprinted here. 

Our librarian and local PRIME TIME director, Colleen Leddy, believes it takes a village to create an award-winning library. (Our town’s library was honored with a State Librarian's Excellence Award sponsored by the Library of Michigan Foundation in 2009) As a member of our community, I am reminded by this that relationships are important for us to nurture whenever we can in order for us to be the best that we can. As a PRIME TIME storyteller, PRIME TIME offers me an opportunity to help foster communication among individuals, families, and our community: building, nurturing, and expanding relationships in the village.

Building the Village 

 PRIME TIME offers a way in this time of media overload to celebrate the oral tradition in a way that it has been shared for thousands of years: face to face in community with others. 

During our first series at Stair Public Library in Morenci, Michigan, we used the concept of the village council fire to introduce our families to the idea that this PRIME TIME experience was a place and time set aside to join together in community and really talk with and listen to each other. This idea comes from the story “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears.” As we gathered together in a large circle, we encouraged children to sit very near their parents. We established norms for our group in a warm, authentic way so that parents knew they were respected and expected to join in the management and conversation of the group.  

 As a classroom teacher in our local elementary school, I am fortunate that many of the children in our PRIME TIME program know me from school. During our series, many students would stop me in the hall at school to ask me if I “would be there on Thursday.” I assured them that I would. I could tell that they were eager to spend quality time with everyone, dine together, hear the stories read aloud and engage in the discussions with their parents, and the other children and adults. 

Nurturing the Village through Literature and Discussion 

 Over the course of our six week series, as the participants grew more comfortable with one another and us, our discussions of the PRIME TIME literature increased even more in depth, tone, and emotion. Parents shared their responsibilities, their dreams, and even their fears. 

Children shared insights that proved they were wise beyond our expectations. We compared stories from the past with the way we live our lives today. 

What a great privilege it has been for me as an educator and a storyteller to promote character qualities of responsibility, personal accountability, forgiveness, and redemption through interpersonal connections, quality literature, dynamic, thoughtful discussion and authentic experiences. PRIME TIME offers me, along with the other adults in our group, an enhanced opportunity to be a part of the Village involved in the raising of my community’s children. Thank you PRIME TIME for the opportunity of a LIFE TIME. 

  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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