My name is Christina Kampel, I am a Grade 11 student at Bishop Carroll High School, and I am the creator of the stop-motion Calgary Reads Piggy PSA. This project was originally for a Visual Media module in my English course, where we had to create a PSA on a topic of our choice and explain the methods and ideas behind our project. When I told my mum about this project, she immediately came up with the idea of early child literacy, and it was settled. So, over the course of a weekend at my Grandma’s house, we put this video together, one tiny felt piece at a time.
The goal was to keep the message simple, but powerful. This meant having the PSA appeal to both children and their parents, without seeming intimidating or too complicated. The bright colours, cute characters, and familiar felt material catches the eye of children, while the message itself speaks to parents. Children would understand that learning to read can make them happier, while parents would understand that simply taking a few minutes to read a story with their children can really have a tangible, positive impact.
Despite the PSA topic being my mum’s idea, early child literacy is deeply important to me as well. As a member of Girl Guides of Canada, I am constantly around younger children in other branches of Guides, and I have seen the impact of reading together with kids firsthand. When children read with a parent or role model, they are incredibly engaged and feel comfortable asking questions about new words or ideas. Compare this to when children are given a book and a CD, and are told to follow along with the audio track. They lack the connection and confidence that comes with reading with an important person in their lives.
A major problem around child literacy is parents understandably being too busy to read with their kids. It is my belief that helping parents understand the impact a reading session can have on their child is a crucial part of helping families develop frequent reading habits. This is where Calgary Reads comes in.
I initially heard about the organization because a fellow member of Girl Guides, Donnelle Watson, works for Calgary Reads. Upon researching what they do, I realized their incredible literacy initiatives and work fit perfectly with my PSA topic, so used it as the hypothetical organization behind the video. After I presented my project, we emailed Donnelle, and I was delighted to hear that Calgary Reads could make good use of my PSA. Keep up the good work. And on the behalf of Guides, if you are ever short on volunteers or manpower, we’ve got your back.