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.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
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    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
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    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
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    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
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    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.
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    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.
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    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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