Reading is in the air

Community consciousness is high and readers of all ages are finding ways to get involved in the work of raising readers. This month we take a quick survey of the current literacy landscape.

Reading Buddies are mentors in the schools

Would you enjoy volunteering once a week to share your love of books with a child?  Children who could use some extra reading practice are waiting for you at six different elementary schools. Become a Reading Buddy; the job is simple. A Buddy listens, offers help with new vocabulary, and guides discussion that builds confidence along with skills. Students are selected for this program by their classroom teachers and all sessions occur during regular school hours.

There are openings for volunteers at Fairacres, Jornada, Central, Sonoma, Highland, and Mesilla Park elementary schools.  For more information contact Jan Reed at  phone: (575) 644-9867. To volunteer at Mesilla Park Elementary School contact Janet Jaquess at  phone: 575 571 -5192

First Teacher parent classes start now

First Teacher/Primer Maestro classes are currently in progress in five locations.

The purpose of the six-week First Teacher/Primer Maestro program is to support parents of three to five year olds while they create learning-rich environments at home. Parents, as their children’s first and most important teachers, learn that talking, playing and reading at home develop their children’s skills. Parents receive bi-lingual books for read-aloud time and other basic tools to lay the foundation for a successful start in kindergarten. All First Teacher instructors are graduates of First Teacher classes themselves.

Late afternoon classes are currently in progress at Dona Ana Elementary School, Del Cerro Community Center, and Booker T. Washington Elementary. A class at Myrna’s Village NMSU begins on Sept. 19.  Enrollment is underway for a class at Lynn Community School which begins Sept. 20. Classes run once a week for six weeks and are open to parents and caregivers of children ages three through five years.  For more information about First Teacher/Primer Maestro classes call Maria Zuniga at  575-522-3713.

New book by local author

In time for Halloween, local children’s author Yossef Lapid, has published Halloween with Snowman Paul. This latest installment in the Snowman Paul series takes Dan and his imaginary friend Snowman Paul on spooky adventures.

As with all of the previous Snowman Paul stories, Halloween with Snowman Paul is written in light verse.  The entire story is an invitation to a Halloween party in a tree house. Clever warnings lure the reader into Halloween festivities.  Joanna Pasek’s delightful illustrations are reassuring accompaniments to the slightly scary text and the combination is deliciously funny.

Halloween with Snowman Paul is a perfect October read-aloud to prepare young children for the potentially frightening costumes, decorations, and parties they are likely to encounter during the season.

All of Lapid’s Snowman Paul books are available at Amazon in print and kindle.

Local authors and illustrators of books for children or parents, are invited to contact me at

More citizen involvement opportunities are available

You don’t have to love books or even like kids to join the effort to improve educational outcomes for all of our children.  The work of the Children’s Reading Alliance requires grassroots action teams on all levels. As programs grow so does the need for more organizational infrastructure. Children’s Reading Alliance is looking for knowledgeable committee members in the areas of policy development, research, program evaluation, grant writing, financial stability, promotion, public relations, media, and fund development. Please visit our website. to learn more about us.

As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”