Little eyes were open wide and smiles and giggles filled the gymnasium at Guy Weadick School on Thursday, October 1st. Ninety-four Grade 2 students gathered to enjoy a Calgary Reads’ Reading Rally event.
The afternoon celebration of reading marked Calgary Reads’ 100th CBE school collaboration and included corporate volunteers from Pembina Pipeline. Teachers took part too and performed a Readers Theatre, which brought roars of laughter from their young students.
Calgary Reads, as an early-literacy initiative, partners to bring various programs, activities and events into schools – all designed to help more children become competent and joyful readers by Grade 3. Many of the initiatives utilize volunteers. For the Reading Rally more than 30 Pembina Pipeline employees enthusiastically showed up to share their love of reading. Each volunteer gathered on a mat with one to three students and read stories aloud to their young friends. It was a time to spread the joy of reading, share conversation and invite the students to explore new adventures and characters. Pembina also provided supplies for the event – including a new book for each child to take home!
The Reading Rally welcomed Assistant Deputy Fire Chief Coby Duerr as guest reader, several of his Fire Department colleagues, and two members of Calgary Police Service.
Chief Duerr read aloud to all the children gathered together. He enthusiastically (and using multiple voices!) shared: How to Read a Story by Kate Messner and Mark Siegel. He delighted the children with the book’s tale of the process of becoming a reader.
Other special guests joined the fun too. Ricardo Miranda, MLA, brought greetings from the Alberta Government. Encouraging the students to explore books and develop their reading skills, he paraphrased from Dr. Seuss’ Oh The Places You’ll Go!, inspiring the children with the experiences and possibilities that reading will open up for them. Then, he too sat on the mat and read aloud to new young friends!
“At Guy Weadick School we are so pleased to be partnered with Calgary Reads,” said Principal Laura Devitt. “It is very exciting for us to be the 100th Calgary Reads school and we enjoyed celebrating this by hosting the Reading Rally. In my opinion, one of the most important mandates of schools and school districts is to ensure that young children are on the path to becoming literate in multiple ways, so that they can continue to access future educational opportunities. Being literate helps a child to be able to access learning opportunities throughout their learning journey in school. Reading is a fundamental skill, necessary to gain information and to learn new concepts. In the intensive and complex literacy environments children face today, many literacies are required. The ability to read text is one of those foundational areas and we so fortunate to be partnered with Calgary Reads, an organization who works to emphasize the importance of reading through schools and the community.”
Calgary Reads began its involvement in one CBE school in 2001. It launched with Calgary Reads’ signature in-school one-on-one tutoring program, Read Up (previously called Calgary Reads @ School), and has grown to include many programs and activities to engage schools, parents and the community to help build young children’s literacy and love of reading.
“With wonderful corporate partners and employee teams like Pembina Pipeline taking part . . . we all see the joy in children’s eyes up close as their adult buddies share read aloud stories with them. Something we might view as so simple an activity is a gift that can inspire reading, curiosity, and imagination in a child. And, it can encourage a love of books and reading that can last a lifetime,” said Steacy Collyer, Executive Director of Calgary Reads.
Calgary Reads is an early-literacy initiative. Our vision is of a community where all children read with confidence and joy! We work with schools, the community, post-secondary institutions, business partners and volunteers. In addition to our programs, collaborative events, initiatives and services – we stimulate a ‘reading revival’ movement. www.calgaryreads.com