Monday, February 06, 2006

Another Literacy Concious Lieutenant Governor!

Hey everyone,

I had to post this story! Regarding my title - I`ve done a few past posts about the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, James Bartleman, and his literacy initiatives with Aboriginal communities.

Also, what`s not to love in a story about, well, a farting dog. I've done a few links through out for those wishing further info :)

In other news, Read Alert's post this morning has a few interesting links. One to something called the Locus Poll where you can vote for your favorite books in different genres and a link to a news story about a 17 year old high school student in Minnesota who handed in his creative writing assignment and got committed to a mental institution. I`ve also pasted a story at the bottom of this post on a really neat literacy fundraiser in Hamilton. Contestants in this "marathon" were locked in a Timmy`s for 48 hours to write books. Winners will be announced Feb. 14.

Finally, in Canadian political news, the new Conservative Cabinet gets appointed in about an hour and a half - so stay tuned!


PUBLICATION: The Daily Gleaner (Fredericton)
DATE: 2006.02.04

The lieutenant-governor and Glenn Murray teach literacy lesson;

They may seem like an odd couple, but the lieutenant-governor and Glenn Murray, author of Walter the Farting Dog, share a vision - one of higher literacy rates in the province.

The two went to Park Street Elementary school to promote reading and writing Friday.

Students were hooked from the moment Lt.-Gov. Hermenegilde Chiasson starting reading a book about an animal's library to the moment Murray squeezed a plush Walter to show off the different fart noises.

School librarian Joan McGee said two accomplished what they set out to do - they demonstrated how fun it can be to read and write.

"We're just trying to find ways to promote literacy in the schools," said McGee.

"The children love Mr. Murray's books about Walter and it's great for the children to see a local author who has had such success and to meet the lieutenant-governor who has made it his priority to promote literacy."

Murray said he considers speaking at schools to a part of his job. He likes to motivate children to pursue their dreams and expand their vocabularies through reading,

"I hope they realize that somebody from right here in New Brunswick can do something like this that has an effect on people all over the country," said Murray. "Just about anything is possible. Keep your eyes open for possibilities because if you don't, you're going to miss out on what could be great opportunities.

"Look at me - the day we wrote the first Walter story we had no idea what was going to happen."

Chiasson said it's never too early to talk about the importance of reading and writing.

"Right now in the province we have a real problem with low literacy levels and I think everyone in the province is conscious of that," said Chiasson.

"I am here to tell these children that whatever you are interested in, there is a book about that subject. We're fighting many screens, television for instance, but I haven't really heard of anyone who has read a whole book in front of the screen. So I think it's important to promote books."

One of the reasons Park Street Elementary decided to have the special assembly for their grades 3 to 5 students was to encourage reading, especially for boys.

"Sometimes boys aren't interested in reading quite so much. They tend to go to sports and that kind of thing," said McGee.

"I think Walter's problem is a funny subject that certainly boys would think is funny and this will encourage them to read."

Chiasson said seeing male role models read will provide an example to younger boys.

"During Christmas I had a friend over for dinner and he was telling me that after mass his father would take a book and read to the whole family, and that's such a strong image to see your father reading," said Chiasson.

"It's the same thing if you have people who are in positions of influence reading, especially men, because right now there's a lot of women teachers and kids have a tendency to associate reading as being for girls and uncool, for a man."

"But that isn't the case and it's important that we stress that to them."

McGee said it doesn't matter whether it's the subject matter or the role model that gets children reading. What matters is that they do read.

"It's what I do with my own son, I do what I can to get him to read. I find things that he is interested in and buy books based on those," said McGee.


PUBLICATION: The Hamilton Spectator
DATE: 2006.02.04
BYLINE: Lesley Simpson
SOURCE: The Hamilton Spectator

Marathon enough to give Heart Failure; Our Lesley Simpson writes novella during literacy fundraiser in a weekend at Hortons

The invitation was irresistible. Come to Tim Hortons on Ottawa Street to write the great Canadian novel. Oh, and did I mention the rules? Write in 48 hours. No leaving the coffee shop.

The contest, The Battle of the Books, was a fundraiser for literacy. The fight began Friday noon and closed Sunday noon last weekend.

Jason Farr, Tom Park, and Mike Nabuurs, radio hosts on 820 CHAM, issued the invitation to The Hamilton Spectator. What could a newspaper girl do but jump in with her laptop?

Was I crazy? Of course. The contest terrified me. What if I had writer's block? What if I were reduced to tears and Timbits? I decided to embrace terror.

The Spectator provided a live stream on the webcam at Perhaps you saw us waving a Pez dispenser at the camera? Hugging friends delivering flowers and fruit? Rocking to music with our headphones?

Visitors provided a stream of surprises: peppermint gum, orange roses, pink tulips, and sour candy.

We were treated like royalty. Staff from The Back Shop delivered back and neck supports. The restaurant Limoncello delivered dinner. Hortons provided that culinary merger of caffeine and carbohydrates 24/7.

Saturday night, I wrote on a heated seat with a vibrating massager on my back. I work in a newsroom. Trust me. Nobody's asking if you have sore shoulders, a tight neck, or an aching lower back. Those are the perks when you sign up for this gig.

I wrote Heart Failure, a chick-lit novella about comedic attempts of a girl's quest to cure her broken heart. It's the story of Sophia Ziff, a documentary film-maker who keeps failing in her quest for a cure.

The competition? Jason Farr wrote Store #1, a real-time account of the writing marathon. Tom Park wrote Side Effects May Include: Death, a serial- killer thriller. Mike Nabuurs wrote Fetch This: The Random Thoughts of An Overweight House Pet.

The winner of the book judged the best read by a panel of judges will be announced Feb.14 in The Hamilton Spectator and on 820 CHAM. For a sneak peek of Heart Failure, check where I will read the introduction on a video segment.

Money from sales of Heart Failure will be donated to Dr. J. Edgar Davey and Bennetto school. Radio hosts are donating money to Camp Maple Leaf All books will be published on Let the judging begin!


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