The Island Readers & Writers’ ‘Island Book and Author’ program brings authors, illustrators, scientists, reading enthusiasts and historians together with children in Maine.
These programs are designed to stretch imaginations, explore the why of things, and open minds to the many possibilities in life. Children get to try their hand at writing, drawing, exploring, discussing and discovering. Each child receives a free book personally inscribed by the author or illustrator, a treasured component of each visit. For some children, this is the first book they have ever owned.
IRW supports area teachers and school administrators by developing materials, aligned with Maine Curriculum Standards, that prepare kids for our visits and also extends learning beyond the visit.
Staffing is very thin in most of the schools and libraries that we serve, making the expertise of our professional staff and resources both appreciated and a valued service to partnering schools and communities.
Island Book and Author programs reach large numbers of kids and families and are diverse in content.
Please see our drop-down list under ‘Programs’ for a full list of participating authors.
“Friends Over Books” is a summer and after school program. Book-loving adults come together with readers, ages 9-14, on Mount Desert Island and island libraries to read and discuss carefully selected, theme-oriented books. Skits, demonstrations, field trips and author visits are part of this six-week program. Copies of the books to be read by the group are provided to each child. Everyone loves this: the children (who are thrilled to have fascinating visitors come to their island just for them), the teachers (who see good results from the summer reading) and the island communities (who – above all – value enriching their kids’ lives).
BookGear: Exploring through reading together
Learning to become a nature detective is just one example of the skills that young readers can learn when they take part in Island Readers & Writers ‘Book Gear’ program. Book Gear has been created by a group of enthusiastic readers of all ages to help others share a passion for books. An adult facilitator will work with a group of young readers, first to read a specific book, then to engage in discussions and activities inspired by the book. IRW provides the activities, questions to get you (the educator) started, and all the materials. You provide the readers and the enthusiasm. Together, we will create some fun! Book Gear has grown out of IRW’s popular Friends Over Books program.
‘Community Outreach’ focuses on large events that bring together people of all ages to celebrate reading. We seek to build supportive and healthy reading communities that encourage kids to love reading by sharing with families and community members the book-related activities that bring a story to life. Island Readers & Writers’ ‘Big Read: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,’ held in Jan-Feb 2012, is one example of IRW’s ‘Community Outreach’ program. This particular event drew 1290 readers for a month-long program. It included seven island communities, 11 libraries, 22 non-profits, two school districts, along 100 miles of coastline. A grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest and matched by Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, and private donations made this program possible.
Authors taking part in other Community Outreach events include:
- Lois Lowry – ‘7th Grade Island-wide Read’ 2012
- Gary Schmidt – ‘8th Grade Island-wide Read’ 2011
- Linda Greenlaw – ‘Engaging students in math, science and more’ 2011