PIERCETON — After graduating from Indiana University Bloomington, Hilary Stouder began the search for a teaching position. She applied at Whitko and began her career as a second grade teacher. She has been with the Whitko school system for 18 years.
She later transitioned to a full-time instructional coach for teachers. In this position, Stouder coached teachers on how to set goals with students with the ultimate goal being to support teachers in their growth. She also acted as a reading coach and would coach teachers on how to read to students.
Soon a position as librarian traveling between Pierceton Elementary School and South Whitley Elementary School became available. “With my background in literacy, it was natural for me to step into that role,” Stouder commented. She has now been the librarian for five years. She continues to help on a part-time basis as an instructional coach for teachers, primarily meeting with teachers and helping them to work out plans on how to help students who are struggling. Stouder has also since gotten her special media license.
As the librarian, she teaches library classes to kindergartners and first-graders at both elementary schools. These classes help students to learn how the library works and the different sections located in the library. Her goal is to help students “develop a love of reading,” she explained. She also teaches students how the books are organized, how to properly treat the books and the importance of putting books back where they belong.
In the library classes, she reads a book aloud, such as Ashlyn Anstee’s book, “Are We There, Yeti?” Stouder then plays a video of Emily Arrow singing a song that corresponds with the book she just read. On this day, she introduced a first-grade class to the nonfiction or informational section of the library. Once students reach second through sixth grade, Stouder helps them as needed when they come in to find and return books.
Compared to her career as a second grade teacher, Stouder enjoys seeing a different side of kids, getting to see them grow from kindergarten through sixth grade. “You get to know their interests as you help them find books,” she described.
One of Stouder’s goals is also to introduce students to various authors. On Nov. 14, Cindi Clawson visited to read aloud to the students for her Read Across Michiana program to promote literacy. On World Read Along Day, Stouder plans Skype sessions with various authors so that, ideally, each class is able to watch and hear a different author read their book aloud. In order to help connect students with the author the class Skypes with, she puts baskets of books out written by that author.
“My favorite part of the day is sitting in between the shelves and talking to kids about books,” she reflected. During the summer months, she also helped organize the opening of the library once a week for any Whitko students. Recently she was also a part of placing two little free libraries, one in Pierceton and one in Larwill.
Growing up in Warsaw, Stouder decided to return after college to be close to her family, including an older sister and twin sister. She lives in Warsaw with her husband, Kevin, and their 5-year-old son, Saul, who is in preschool.