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February 16, 2017

The Joy of Reading Aloud this Family Day and Every Day!

“The act of reading is, in some ways, the most invisible of arts. We can’t see others’ minds at work; their engagement with words can be mysterious to the outside eye. But when we read aloud to one another, we bring the joy and connection of reading to the surface; we illuminate its power.”                                                                                                                                                                    – Pam Allyn, creator of World Read Aloud Day

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At Calgary Reads reading aloud is one of our favourite ways to create community and the joy of reading. Something magical happens when we spend time with people, young and old, sharing words, stories and memories that can stick with us for a lifetime.

Today, February 16th, is World Read Aloud Day and it is a global, grassroots movement committed to the “profound resonance of the read aloud and the connections that are made when reader, text and listener connect.” I hope you will take time to listen to Scholastic’s full podcast on the impact of reading aloud on our own and on children’s learning lives.

Check out Calgary Reads’ Read Aloud Shared Reading/Stone Soup resource for tips on holding your own Read Aloud this upcoming Family Day weekend with friends and family! Remember to use the hashtag #WRAD17 to share your own read aloud experiences—poems, jokes, magical fiction, love stories—with everyone!

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January 26, 2017

Family Literacy Day

How are you celebrating Family Literacy Day?

January 27th is Family Literacy Day across Canada. It’s a national awareness initiative created by ABC Life Literacy Canada in 1999 and held annually to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family.

 Calgary Reads hopes you’ll take part in literacy-building activities with the children in your life! Just 15 minutes a day can help develop long-lasting literacy skills in children. Reading, talking, singing and playing together helps parents and caregivers build positive, strong bonds with their children.

There are many fun and simple ways your family can mark Family Literacy Day.  Have a game night where you gather your family’s favorite games, taking turns reading instructions, game cards or keeping score.  Build an obstacle course in your home using pillows, furniture and toys, and then create a map showing how to navigate the course.  At bedtime, turn the lights off or grab a flashlight and just chat.  Take turns making up new endings for stories or come up with ideas for a favorite character.

For more fun ideas and inspiration for Family Literacy Day, go to   ABC Life Literacy Canada

 

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January 20, 2017

Inauguration Day

Around the time that you receive this post, you may be aware of something happening today in Washington, D.C. It is inauguration day and by midmorning in Alberta, the transfer of power will pass from Barack Obama to Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States.

I feel compelled to speak up about my dismay at what this change in leadership means but for a very good Calgary Reads reason! President Obama, like most of his predecessors in the White House, is an avid reader. He is known for reading voraciously and has a long list of favourite books that shaped his personality and leadership values.

Sadly, it looks as though there will no longer be a “reader-in-chief” in the Oval Office for the next four years. In contrast to the outgoing president, President Trump has on numerous occasions proudly declared that “I never have read. I’m always busy doing a lot.”

Those of you who follow our work know that at Calgary Reads we all know that people make time for what they value. When Mr. Trump boasts that he is too busy to read, he is really saying that it’s not important enough to him, (unlike, say, Twitter).

He lacks an appreciation of the importance of acquiring knowledge through books, which require slow, deliberate study. He is missing out on the fact that reading builds empathy and understanding, that the ideas and inspiration of others can “tear down walls instead of building them, and in this increasingly globalized and fractured world, we should all be reading more, especially the president.” For Obama books gave him a renewed appreciation for the complexities and ambiguities of the human condition and helped him cope with the loneliness of his Office. President Kennedy even averted war with the Soviet Union because his eyes were opened to its possible consequences from a book he was reading.

I hope that it’s clear that this blog is not Anti-Trump. Rather, it is pro-literacy and pro-literature, pro-stories and pro-history. Whatever your political leaning, one thing we can all agree on is that we need our leaders to be readers: to be well-read, well-educated, empathetic, and not only open to new ideas and the opinions of people who are different to them, but actively seeking them.