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Stratford Launching Vicki Soto Literacy Legacy Project At Library

A new literacy project has been started in honor of Vicki Soto, who was killed during the Sandy Hook tragedy, along with the Stratford Board of Education and the Stratford Library.
A new literacy project has been started in honor of Vicki Soto, who was killed during the Sandy Hook tragedy, along with the Stratford Board of Education and the Stratford Library. Photo Credit: Vicki Soto/Facebook

STRATFORD, Conn. -- The Stratford Library, in collaboration with the Vicki Soto Memorial Fund and the Stratford Board of Education, will launch a new reading program Nov. 3 in memory of the beloved Stratford resident and Newtown teacher who was among the victims in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

Miss Soto’s Literary Legacy Project will provide books to each K-6 class in Stratford, fostering a love of reading and innovative learning across the grades, said Sheri Szymanski, the library’s assistant director.

“Each class will have the same book from K through 6, but there will be different learning opportunities at each level,” Szymanski said.

Schools Superintendent Janet Robinson and members of the Soto family are expected to be on hand at the free launch reception at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 3. Schoolteachers, students and the public are invited and asked to RSVP to 203-381-2063 or sszymanski@stratfordlibrary.org.

The library, which is currently under construction, will display the four chosen books for 2015-16, encouraging children to discuss them with their families when they visit the library.

“Eventually, we will set up a dedicated space for these books and we’ll add to it each year,” Szymanski said.

The event was timed around what would have been Soto’s 30th birthday. Schoolteachers have an Election Day in-service program, but they will be finished before the reception begins and library officials and the Soto family hope they will attend to support the initiative.

“We started this project to ensure Vicki’s library never stops growing,” Soto’s brother, Mathew, said on the library’s website.

Some of the books chosen for the inaugural year have special meaning.

Patricia MacLachlan’s “Snowflakes Fall” is dedicated to the victims of the mass shooting and the book’s award-winning illustrator, Steven Kellogg, lived in the Sandy Hook section of Newtown for some time.

Steve Jenkins’ “What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?” was a book Soto had checked out of the Sandy Hook Elementary library on the morning of the tragedy.

The two other books – “The Invisible Boy” by Trudy Ludwig and “Because Amelia Smiled” by David Ezra Stein – feature themes of kindness and finding one’s place in the world.

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