In a normal school year, volunteer storytellers from Larimer County Spellbinders make monthly visits to about 380 classrooms in Fort Collins and Loveland. While COVID 19 restrictions have eliminated on-site visits for more than a year, some storytellers worked with kindergarten through fifth-grade teachers on monthly virtual platforms.
“But we heard that children really missed our stories,” Spellbinder Mike Forney said. “Our storytellers decided to dedicate some of the non-profit organization’s reserves to purchase Mary Ann Homberman’s classic book “You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You” for distribution to local families with young children.“
Sue Lind, director of McBackPack included 250 copies in their weekly distribution to Fort Collins school children. Tom Carrigan, head of Loveland’s KidsPak program identified 160 families with young children who received weekly food deliveries. Those books were included in one of their final school year distributions in late May.
Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins provided the books at a substantial discount, and Spellbinder’s volunteers inserted a special message inside each book to parents and children. “Reading can be listening with your eyes,” the message said. “As you share this book hear the spoken words and see them on the page. Words heard become words seen and understood.”
The Larimer Spellbinders group was formed 18 years ago. About 60 members continue to tell stories actively. Most tellers average 5-6 classroom visits a month throughout a normal year. Sessions usually last about 30 minutes.
New storytellers participate in 12 hours of training in the fall. Spellbinders will conduct in-person training again in September. The first session begins on Monday, September 13th from 8:45 to 12:30 in Fort Collins. Three additional sessions will be held later in September. Attendees will learn storytelling techniques and sources to find and develop their own stories. To learn more about the training or to sign up contact Linda Larkey, 970-310-4605 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Spellbinders, go to https://spellbinders.org/larimercounty