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July 17, 2017

A Chair to Curl Up In – Children’s Reading Place Readers in Residence – Bob and Jan McInnis

The Friendly Giant is a popular Canadian children’s television program that aired on CBC Television from September 1958 through to March 1985.  In the opening of the show, the Friendly Giant issued an invitation for children to join him in the safety of his home (which happened to be a castle) with the line ” a chair for two more to curl up in”. It was a simpler time; a time when families had time to share lives together. That is what we are offering at the Calgary Reads Children’s Reading House. We trust that as parents and children read together in one of our chairs, they will be encouraged to find a place in their homes to learn, laugh and love while curled up with a great book.

Jan and I have been provided with the opportunity, as Readers in Residence, to share our love of reading with children and their parents and grandparents. We get to read with families, encourage parents to read with their kids, and watch the magic that happens when two or more curl up with a great book.

Over the next months, we will watch for moments where laughter erupts, where love is in the air and where simple, important lessons are learned that we can pass on through these posts.

So far the experience has confirmed that when a dad and his son, or a grandma and her granddaughter, or two 10 year-old girls find a comfortable spot with a great book laughter, love and learning finds them.

I picked up Yuval Noah Harari’s “Sapiens” at the beginning of the month and found it so interesting and challenging that I found a copy of his new book ” Homo Deus” which has lead me on an adventure of exploring the work of three other controversial thinkers.

What are you reading? Have you found any great books that have sent you on an expedition of discovery this summer? Let us know what you are enjoying so we can share it with supporters and visitors.

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”— Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”

Birdies for Kids - Full Colour Words

July 12, 2017

Welcome to Summer Giving!

Calgary Reads is excited to be part of Birdies for Kids presented by AltaLink. Donate today and your donation will be matched up to 50%!


Until September 3, 2017, make your donation through Birdies for Kids and Calgary Reads will receive 100% of your contribution plus the matching gift.

Funds will be directed to the Children’s Reading Place, our newest initiative dedicated to supporting children’s literacy by making books and reading accessible to all children. Help us stock the shelves this summer!


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July 3, 2017

This Summer, Find Learning in FUN Things!

Our favourite activity at Calgary Reads during the summer is to read outdoors. Between our staff, we like to read in our backyard, in the park, on our deck, on our dock, in the mountains, on the beach, while camping, while hiking, and in new places that we might visit. Part of what makes the summers so special is that we get to do things (like reading while lying in the grass) that we can’t always do throughout the year. Similarly, there’s an opinion among parts of the research community that summer learning shouldn’t resemble learning in school. Like teachers and parents, school-aged children benefit from a break in their routine. Unstructured time and time for play are important for healthy brain development and allowing children to learn about the world around them.

Here are some ways you can incorporate learning into a whole lot of fun this summer.

Make summer reading just about fun: Give your child permission to read whatever and whenever he or she wants to. Even if the reading material may not seem to have any apparent educational value, your child will show improvements in vocabulary, fluency, confidence, and associate reading with joy. Even the pictures in magazines can spark a child’s curiosity or interest or imagination.

Take advantage of summer activities and events: It’s not just Calgary Reads staff and our love of outdoor reading, there are many festivals, farmers markets, concerts, and other special events that occur only in the summer. Many of them, like the Calgary Stampede, provide educational opportunities for children to learn about different things like agriculture, fire safety, or science. There are many more informal learning opportunities; for example, your child can learn about waste, recycling, composting, and landfills (and see lots of big trucks) by going to a community clean-up.

Take advantage of your local library: There are many summer programs taking place at Calgary Public Library branches. While you are there, be sure to encourage your child to pick up as many books, CDs, and DVDs as you can carry home. If your child would like to learn a musical instrument, you can now borrow those from the library for free as well!

Remember that not all learning needs to look like classroom learning! Spend time with your child this summer exploring their interests and finding learning in everyday activities that are both educational and fun, and also remember to read aloud with your children, regardless of their ages.