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.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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