Mora Elementary Reading Program

Volunteers Read to Students at Mora Elementary

For over five years, the Mora Creative Council has engaged in cultural and educational activities that enrich the lives of people in the Mora Valley, thus enlivening Our Mora and increasing civic pride. One of these activities is our monthly reading program in collaboration with Mora Elementary School.

The Adult Reader Program provides volunteers from all walks of life to spend an afternoon reading selected books to students in Mora Elementary School, one class level at a time. The program has been in place for two years. Each month, a theme is selected along with age appropriate books that follow the selected theme. The 2019-2020 school year has included: Heroes, Halloween/Día de Los Muertos, Christmas/Winter Holidays Around the World, Empathy, Courage, and Anti-bullying. For March 2020, the theme will be Sports and Team Work; April will honor Earth Day, with everything from deep ocean to forest to conservation and mindfulness close to home; May will conclude the semester with a theme of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), along with academic and career possibilities for the young learners.

Every book chosen has either a moral to the story, an exposure to culture and geography in far off places, or something thought provoking for the children. For example, under the theme of Courage, there was a book about the history of fireboats in the Hudson River, New York City-- read by a Mora firefighter.  The children are given information and led in informal discussion by the adult readers.  Fun and frivolity are also included, such as rhyming, repetition, and onomatopoeia.  At the end of each school year, all the books that have been read through the program are donated to the school’s library.

So far, the MCC, our guest readers, and local libraries have donated the books for this program. Recently, we have been accepted to the Library of Congress Surplus Books Program, in which the LOC donates its surplus books to qualifying non-profit organizations. Rachel Lentz from Senator Martin Heinrich's office has agreed to be our book selector, so she goes down to the Library of Congress and picks our books, then the library packs them and ships them to us. All we have to do is cover the cost of shipping! We have also secured a partnership with First Book, which is an organization that offers low cost books, school supplies, and other basic needs at a low cost to organizations serving children in low income areas. Through First Book, books that typically retail for $15 each can be purchased for as little as $2, which really helps to stretch our dollar!

The Mora Creative Council would like to extend a special thanks to Thrivent, a purpose driven financial services organization. Ken and Connie Krusemark have secured a $250 grant through Thrivent, which helps us to purchase books and further our fundraising efforts for the reading program. The MCC would also like to thank Norma Philipps, board member, and Faith Rivera, teacher and reading interventionist for all their hard work in organizing the reading program each month. Of course, none of this would be possible without our wonderful volunteers who take time out of their busy schedules each month to read to our youth, so a special thanks to them, as well.

The MCC is currently accepting donations of new and gently used children’s books for our program. We also accept monetary donations, which will be put in a reading fund to purchase more books in the future. Donations can be dropped off this Saturday, March 7th at our annual meeting or at the extension office at the Mora County Courthouse trailers during the week. Community members are also strongly encouraged to volunteer as guest readers!

Questions or comments? Email us at


Authors: Norma Philipps & Mariah Romero




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