Fostering a love of reading in the Roaring Fork Valley |

Fostering a love of reading in the Roaring Fork Valley

John Gardner
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kara K. Pearson Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Simple things are often the best things, according to Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld.

Simple things like reading and dancing ” both of which she loves.

“I’ve never taught a child to dance, I just dance with them,” Chenfeld said after a chaotic waltz with a group of toddlers at the Our School Preschool in Glenwood Springs Friday.

She may not be a dance instructor, but Chenfeld has taught many a student how to read during her career, and more importantly, to love to read.

“The whole idea of reading is magical,” Chenfeld said. “And the Raising a Reader program really celebrates the love of reading.”

Chenfeld is the guest speaker at the Raising a Reader Third Annual Story Festival, “Celebrating Teachers of Young Children.” The festival was started by Jayne Poss and Bertha Campbell to support and inspire the teachers in the Roaring Fork Valley who offer RAR in their preschool classrooms. RAR is a program that promotes reading to pre-school-aged students through providing books for the kids to read every week.

“The idea behind the program is if the children fall in love with reading early, they will love it forever,” Poss said.

For more than 50 years, Chenfeld has taught and promoted early childhood reading. She’s a teacher and an author of four early childhood development books, including “Teaching in the Key of Life.”

And that is what she will speak about to more than 75 teachers, from Aspen to Parachute, gathering at the Hotel Colorado today.

“The message is to support and inspire the teachers’ efforts in early childhood literacy and to give teachers some fresh ideas,” Chenfeld said.

Poss organizes the festival and is ecstatic to have such a highly regarded childhood instructor as Chenfeld involved in promoting the RAR program.

“If there was a hall of fame for early childhood development, she would be in it,” Poss said. “She is certainly a leader in the field.”

The RAR program has drastically grown since it began four years ago, from about 350 students in 15 classrooms to more 1,300 students in 80 classrooms valleywide.

Chenfeld’s answer for the program’s popularity is simple: It makes sense.

“A student can learn the mechanics of reading and get good grades,” Chenfeld explained. “But this program encourages a love of reading.”

A love she believes will last the rest of their lives.

Chenfeld made an appearance at Our School on Friday to get a better view of the RAR program. And she was impressed with not only the success of the program but the simplicity of its message.

Sometimes simple things are often the best things.

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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