Tag Archives: family literacy

Make Mail! A Letter-Writing Workshop on Wed., June 24 at The Carroll Gardens Library

Make Mail!

A Letter-Writing Workshop for Children, Teens,
and Their Parents/Caregivers

Wednesday, June 24, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.

Carroll Gardens Library, Story Hour Room

396 Clinton St., Brooklyn, NY 11231


Letter-writing, a long-lost art form, is a wonderful way to express yourself, and to keep in touch with friends and family members.

Come join literacy tutor Eleanor Traubman for an afternoon of intergenerational fun.  Stamps are provided!

RSVP to etraubman@gmail.com




It’s one thing to read a book by Roald Dahl, but it’s quite another to see his books brought to life by an entire school.

When I entered the playground of PS 32 in Brooklyn, here’s what I saw:  Parents, children, and teachers dressed as characters from Road Dahl books such as Fantastic Mr. FoxCharlie and the Chocolate Factory, and The Witches.  I saw families playing games based on Dahl books.  I heard songs from the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie soundtrack floating in the air.  I felt the magic of these books embodied by a whole community of readers.

The principal, Ms. Florio (see photo above), was dressed at The Golden Ticket from Charlie.  “The art teacher, Dave,  made this costume for me,” she proudly shared.  The back of the costume read, true to the ticket described in the book, “In your wildest dreams you could not imagine the marvelous surprises that await you!”

Over in another corner, a student was dressed like Violet when she turned into a blueberry.

A father and a daughter wore costumes which depicted the foxes from Fantastic Mr. Fox.

After milling around and taking in the pageantry, I stopped to listen to some of the people who had made this event possible; these included school librarian Adam Marcus and Deborah Florio, the principal.  School Chancellor Carmen Farina, who has a 30-year relationship with PS 32, also spoke to the crowd. Off to the side, I chatted with  Francine Cuomo, the school’s Business Manager.  Ms. Cuomo, who had worked hard to help build the library and organize the day’s event, was heartened by the impact of the library on the school culture.  Dave Chimoskey, the school’s art teacher, was also instrumental in creating the enchanted event.

So how did this event, with its beautiful community of readers, come to be?

In the summer of 2009, Principal Florio asked teacher Adam Marcus to build a library for PS 32.  Marcus, with the help of a library advisory committee, raised more than $500,000 to create what would become the hub of the school.

Fast-forward to 2014, when PS 32 became one of 20 schools in the country to receive a Roald Dahl Charlie and the Chocolate Factory grant.  The grant was bestowed by Penguin Young Readers Group as a team with First Book Advisory Boards in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the legendary book.

The honor included multiple copies of all Dahl’s books, a giant Charlie bean bag for the library,  and last Saturday’s party, which was sponsored by First Book, Penguin Publishing,  Hay Rosie Craft Ice Cream Co., and The Chocolate Room.  The party, took place on September 13, Roald Dahl Day, and was generously staffed by 70 volunteers from places like Good Shepherd Services and The American Association of Publishers.

On a personal note, I am greatly inspired by the work and imagination that this school’s teachers, administration, and parents have invested in creating the gem that is the PS 32 library.  Many public schools nowadays do not have a library, or have turned their library into a computer center.  What better way to foster young people’s love of reading by building a beautiful, comfortable, cozy, friendly space where a child (or an adult!) can plop down on a couch and bury her nose in a book.

Keep up the great work, PS 32!!

PS – Check out the PS 32 Library Blog


Dad reading

Many parents of grade school children, especially children who struggle with reading and writing, express concern that their young ones will fall behind or lose traction with their skills during the summer months.

Here are 5 strategies to keep your child connected with reading and writing in ways that are fun, pleasurable, and meaningful to them.

Approach these activities, as well as your child’s overall literacy development, with a tone of relaxed encouragement.  Doing so will set the stage for them to flourish!

1.  Visit your local library.  A library can be an oasis of calm, order, and, cool in the midst of summer heat.  Many libraries have summer reading programs for children, so ask your librarian what they have planned.

Let your child make choices about what they want to read, even if a book seems too easy or too difficult.  Allow them to pursue the topics, authors, and genres that catch their interest.  Don’t worry if your child wants to read a book multiple times;  it means that they are enjoying it. There’s pleasure in repetition. We adults read books that we love more than once, as well!

2.  Pick chapter books together and read them out loud to your child/ren.  I have great memories of being on camping trips with my family, and sitting on big rocks in the sun while my mom read A Wizard of Earthsea to us.  On another trip, my dad read Stuart Little.  Being read to is such a treat, and keeps children connected to the pleasures of good literature.
You can also have a lot of fun by acting out books in a charade-like fashion,

3.  Create a Writer’s Box.  Fill a box or a drawer with a variety of materials that children can dig into to engage in lots of different writing projects. This idea is particularly great if you live in small living quarters.  You can use a large Tupperware container, or whatever is handy.  Consider including any of these items in your box:  Different sizes of notepads; loose-leaf paper; construction paper; 3 by 5 cards; pens, pencils and markers; stapler; tape; glitter glue; glue stick; stickers; ruler; stamps; envelopes; return address labels; magazines for cutting out images and text.

What else could you add to your box?  Get creative!

4.  Keep a Summer Scrapbook.  Tape or glue photos, mementos, and found objects from your summer adventures into a book that you buy or make.  A simple 3-ring binder will do! Label your photos and mementos; make simple journal entries about what you do each day.  Your child can do the writing herself or dictate the words to you.  (There’s great power in them getting to see the relationship between the spoken and the written word.)

5.  Write Letters. – Summer is an ideal time to sit down and write postcards, letters, and cards to relatives and far-away friends. Pull out that Writer’s Box and let people know about what your family has been up to!

Summer Literacy Tutoring with Eleanor Traubman
Would you like one-on-one literacy tutoring for your child this summer?  I customize sessions to reflect your child’s individual interests and draw out their strengths.

For More information:

Eleanor Traubman