Reluctant reader learns “books are pretty amazing things!”
Calgary Police Chief: “Warning: Do Not Open This Book!”
Sharing the fun of reading was inspiration for one young student.
High attendance a happy surprise for family event organizers.
Teens are sharing the joy of reading with kindergarten buddies.
Calgary Reads volunteer helps turn reading from a chore into a joy
“Hi. My name is Avery and I am in Grade 4 at Colonel Walker School in Inglewood. I am a huge fan of Calgary Reads, and I want to talk for a moment about how special Calgary Reads is!
Before I met my volunteer, I wasn’t a big fan of reading. I thought it was just ‘exercise for my eyes.’ To be honest, one of the reasons I didn’t like to read very much was because I wasn’t that good at it. I thought that sounding out words was kind of hard, and when I read I felt kind of alone.
But then I met my Calgary Reads volunteer. She came into our classroom at Colonel Walker twice a week to read with me. I didn’t feel alone anymore, and I began to look forward to the times when she would come to visit. Sometimes she brought little presents for me, and she always had a smile ready.
My volunteer was fun to be around. And when she helped me sound out new words, she never got mad at me if I didn’t get it right away.
Pretty soon, I was reading chapter books!
Books are pretty amazing things. They don’t look like much on the outside, but inside there are stories that are magical. Adventures and new friends.
Every night before I go to sleep, I read a little. It helps me to relax, and I like it. Sometimes when I’m reading and I get to a hard word, I remember my Calgary Reads volunteer.
No enforcement required as police officers share joy of reading
Scary as it might sound – Chief Rick Hanson’s caution was all part of the fun at a recent Reading Rally event! The Chief was our special guest and read Adam Lehrhaupt’s lively Warning: Do Not Open This Book! aloud to 100 Grade 1 and 2 students from Patrick Airlie and Holy Trinity schools. The children were enthralled with tales of monkeys, alligators, and a whole lot of silliness.
Gathered in the gym too, were 35 members of the Calgary Police Service, who each read aloud other engaging books to small groups of children. Teachers got into the fun and performed a Readers’ Theatre. Bonus: Each child took home a bag of new books!
“For me, participating reiterates the importance in investing in programs that promote positive family and community experiences for young children. In my day-to-day work, I see the combined efforts of partnerships that impact the early years of life of a child’s development which are crucial in setting the foundation for lifelong learning, behaviour, and healthy outcomes. The Calgary Reads Reading Rally is an exciting opportunity to work together to set that foundation. It was a pleasure to participate!” – Staff Sgt. Dominic Mayhew, CYSS Youth Education Unit
Tutor helps reluctant Grade 1 reader find the joy
“I hate to read, you know,” Daniel said to his new tutor, Joanne Biegun. But Joanne, a Calgary Reads-trained volunteer, was undeterred. She assured the Grade 1 student that they would have fun. “Just a few sessions later, Daniel would actually jump up to come and read with me,” Joanne says. “I no longer had to drag him from class.” With Joanne’s support, Daniel read three books, three times at every level before moving to the next. He made steady progress, and near the end of their 33 sessions together, the two of them looked back at books he had read early on. He saw his own progress. At their last session, Daniel read to the principal. “He proudly pointed out how many words were on each page and how he was a good reader,” Joanne says. “I was struck by his new confidence and positive attitude about reading.” Today, Daniel loves nonfiction books — including those about trucks, spiders and helicopters. As he and Joanne were choosing what to read next, there were two that interested him. He asked, “I can’t decide … can’t I read them both?” Joanne was thrilled. “I thought, yes, yes — he’s hooked now!”
Parents and kids flock to Family Literacy Night
When more than 160 people arrived for Marlborough School’s Literacy-in-a-Box family activity night, school coordinators Laurie and Amanda were shocked — and thrilled! They’d expected perhaps 20 attendees. Fortunately, the night’s games and activities could accommodate the large crowd. “We had scavenger hunts through the school, which parents liked as they got to see their children’s classrooms and other areas,” Laurie says. “I enjoyed the opportunity for parents to see a ‘read-aloud’ and understand the conversations that happen during this time. Many parents said they learned a great deal about supporting their children by not just decoding the words in books but going beyond the text.” Literacy-in-a-Box was developed to help educators promote family literacy in fun, engaging and effective ways. Calgary Reads provides participating schools with themed modules for events. Topics like “Mystery Madness” and “Pass the Poems and the Pizza Please” include games and ideas for both fun and learning.
Teens and kindergarteners discover the joy of reading together
Calgary Reads’ wee read program is helping leadership program students at Dr. E.P. Scarlett high school make the most of the time they spend with their “little buddies” at Canyon Meadows School kindergarten. The high schoolers encourage the youngsters’ love of reading by reading to them aloud and talking, playing and singing together. “Providing the high school students with ‘official’ training through wee read gave them a sense of professionalism in their volunteering at our school,” says Shelly Pynoo, assistant principal at Canyon Meadows.
“It gave them some good parameters and guidelines for the work they are doing with our young students.” The teens benefit from the reading practice and the opportunity to be “reading role models and show responsibility.
The wee read program is just one way Calgary Reads brings the community together to help develop young readers. The program also involves corporate employee volunteers, who read weekly to children at a school near their workplace. Meanwhile at Canyon Meadows School, Pynoo says her kindergarten students are thrilled with their new friends.
“I cannot tell you how many times in a day I get asked: ‘When is my high school buddy coming back to read with me?’”