Family Game Night 2

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



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.


January 12, 2017

Another January and a new year which means new books to read and a few reading resolutions.

Another January and a new year which means new books to read and a few reading resolutions.

I stock up each May at the annual CBC Calgary Reads Big Book Sale but as a new year begins the pile beside my bed, waiting to be read, no longer topples over because I’m actually running low on the gently used books I bought to read.

Right after the holidays, I am always eagerly at the book stores list in hand, getting lost in the shelves and perusing staff picks. I know I should wait for the next Big Book Sale because I can buy so many more, for way less money but I’m not patient enough and I am addicted to reading!

So, my resolutions: This year I am committing to not buy as many books – yes, I’ve actually written these words! I have just moved house and I have packed too many heavy boxes of books. My heart hurts after touching each book in my library to determine if it is one of the chosen ones which still gives me joy and will travel with me down the street to my new home.

So, to ease the pain of parting with some books and buying less, I am also committing to 2017 being the year of rereading – another infinitely rewarding yet increasingly lost art. There are so many wonderful new books released each year – “So many books and so little time” – but I’m committed to reduce my voracious appetite to read all the hot off the press beautiful children’s books and anything else that looks awesome  (yes, I do at times judge a book by its cover!). This year I will buy less, read more slowly and re-read again my favorite words, sentences, stories and self-help advice.

The books I chose to revisit this year will be read aloud in the silence of my home office and in the company of friends. I will escape yet again from reality and learn something new, as if for the very first time, by selecting my most cherished books, the ones that transformed me in some way, but this time around I’ll go deeper. I can hardly wait to scan the spines of the books I have just unpacked to determine which ones deserve more attention.

As Will Schwalbe states in his new book Books for Living: “Reading books remains one of the best ways to engage with the world, become a better person and understand life’s questions big and small.”

Imagine how much better the world, or we ourselves, could be this year if we slowed our hectic pace, bought less, shared more and focused on a few things instead of being so distracted by too many choices and the next shiny new thing.

I hope you will join me in 2017 and ask yourself and those around you “What are you RE-reading this year?