Friday, March 31, 2006

Catching up


As you can see from this afternoon, I am having a bit of a catch-up day for blogging. I have been on training for work for the last two days (really three - because Tuesday was the day of infinite meetings)and not able to blog.

But before I summarize all that I found of interest and note recently in the blog world of kiddie lit, I have to share some excitement. While I realize this might not be shared by everyone, I thought it was very cool.

The keynote speaker for my work retreat was one of my new-found favorite authors Steve Paikin. As some of you know, I am a bit of a political junkie. Mr. Paikin is a journalist and host of TV Ontario's Studio 2 - a current affairs program. He also was the moderator for the second English Language debate for the Federal Election. Like many others, I think he won the debate. Balanced, interesting and tough questions. Then thirdly, he is the author of three books:

1. The Life: The Seductive Call of Politics
2. The Dark Side: The Personal price of a Political Life
3. Public Triumph, Private Tragedy : The Double Life of John P Robarts

I have read the second one and really enjoyed it. Unlike many political books, it was a smooth read, not overly academic and written in a way that made you believe the author actually liked the people he was writing about - which sometimes doesn't happen in political books where some authors spend more time analysing/criticizing various actions. The book profiles the careers of many politicians and essentially, the large personal prices many of the pay to enter public life. What impressed me most was that it managed to do this without scaring people away from the prospect of public life. A fun read.

So I bought the life, and got it autographed. And am looking forward to reading the happier of the two stories.

But getting back to literacy, quite a bit happened during my three days of professional learning.

Read Alert posts about a fun sounding band called Harry and the Potters (also info courtesy of Book"/&*) and answers a life-long question I had: Where do rejected greeting cards go to die?

Fuse 8 has lots of news as usual (indeed, quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs) like some other blogs, she picks up on Beverly Cleary of Ramona fame turning 90!. I was a huge Ramona fan when I was in elementary school. Also, courtesy of Fuse 8 I learnt about Ms Cleary's Drop Everything and Read Campaign on April 12! Very cool concept.

Fuse 8 also reports that there will be a Charlotte's Web movie!

Courtesy of Jen Robinson's Book page I discovered a new Canadian Children's Book Award. Way to keep up on the news to the north!

And yet another good review over at Book Carousel. My Monster Mama Loves Me So by Laura Leuck.

We have a regular book at Reading Circle called Monster Manners by Joanna Cole. It's always a favorite.

Well, it's 19 degrees (that's celsius, so beautiful) so I'm off to enjoy the outdoors!


Poetry Friday

So I missed this last week. Kelly over at Big A little a is initiating something called Poetry Friday because, in her opinion, kids don't read enough poetry. Thanks to Jen Robinson for drawing this to my attention.

I'm trying to think what poems I liked as a kid. My mom had a few she use to say to me all the time that I share with you here. I don't know where she got them, but I remember her repeating and repeating them. Just really silly little ones that were fun:

(clearing of throat)

I've never seen a purple cow
I never hope to see one
But I can tell you anyhow
I'd rather see than be one.

(pause for applause)

Mother, may I go out to swim?
Yes my dear! Put on a suit
And you'll look cute
But don't go near the water.

(bow and exit stage left)

Googling teaches me the first is by Gelett Burgess. This, as I understand it, was his most famous poem, which he followed up with this one:

Confession: and a Portrait Too, Upon a Background that I Rue:

Ah yes, I wrote The Purple Cow,
I'm sorry now I wrote it;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I'll kill you if you quote it!

The second, I also learn is Mother Goose. I will also have to inform my mother that she taught it to me incorrectly. However, it is possible that I simply remember it incorrectly.

Also pausing to consider how I lived before Google.

And on a personal note, I share with you the poem "My Snowman" written by yours truly in Grade One. Bear in mind it may become valuable if I ever become famous as it is one of only two published pieces of poetry I have ever done. It was published in the Ottawa Citizen's Youth in the 80s section on March 27, 1984. I have a certificate to prove it. Both the certificate and the poem hold a place of honour in my mother's scrapbook.

My Snowman

I made a snowman in the snow.
He is fat and not too low.
I made ball one, ball two, ball three.
And then I finished him off like me.


Ladies and gentlemen, my poetry submissions for this Friday. I may follow it up next week with a second entry after some more reflection.


Literacy Games

Hey guys,

We played a game at our Reading Circle last week that went really, really well. So I thought I'd share it, and some of the other ones we've done over the year, with you.

I suppose I will start by stating literacy - and getting kids excited about literacy and reading - isn't just about reading books. So we try to help the kids who come to the circle improve their skills not only by reading with them and/or to them - which IS what we do for a large portion of the time, but also by doing writing exercises with them and by playing games.

We have some standard ones we use at the Reading Circle - lots of flashcard games. We have Go Fish cards with the alphabet on them which is a favorite - even for the kids who are already pretty clear on the ABC's. Then we have cards that work on rhymes which match together in sets of three rhyming words which then form a funny picture (eg: a goat who floats in a boat). The pictures also serve as clues for the younger or less advanced kids who cannot necessarily read the words yet.

Then we have silly sentences. This is a pack of flash cards containing verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions etc... The concept is similar to Mad Libs and the kids form silly sentences (ie: Short giraffes jump and play with penguins).

Our new game (courtesy of super-star volunteer Jessica) was based on this game. She made a series of flash cards with animal words on them and then further divided those words, generally by syllables ("pen" and "guin", "ti" and ger" etc...). Then she had conjunction, verb and adjective cards. We hid the cards all over the room. The kids then had to run and find them all and put them in a pile in the middle. This in itself was fun for them because a lot of them are quite active and after sitting and reading with their tutor for half an hour they enjoyed the chance to run around.

Once they had found all the cards they first had to assemble the animal cards. They were quite good at this part (once we explained that there was no such animal as a guin-pen and realized that someone's coat was on the "ger" of "tiger"). Once that was done they then made silly sentences with the animal cards and the other cards. All in all the game took about 20 minutes and was a lot of fun. It taught them new words, touched on issues like syllables and the need to sound out and assemble different words, and then taught about different types of words (ie: what type of penguin is it - you need a "describing" word. The penguin needs to do something, you need an "action" word etc...)

We are always looking for more game suggestions for cicle, so if you have some, please let us know. Some of our other favorites are:

1. Making Sentences Race - modification of the above concept. We compose a sentence of about 8-10 words and then put the words on individual flash cards and hide them around the room. If we do it in teams we'll have two different sentences on different colour flash cards. The kids find all the flash cards and assemble the sentences. Useful for teaching vocab and sentence structure.

2. Body Parts Game - I have various body parts on flash cards (hair, knee, shoulder, arm, leg, nose etc....) One volunteer acts as a, well, volunteer. Children pick a flashcard and have to read the word and then stick it on the right part. Everyone has fun and its good for learning that specific set of words. And really, anything involving tape, index cards and sticking things on someone else's nose is fun)

3. Concentration - set up word flash cards in sets of two face down. Children turn over two cards. If they have a match they have to use the word in a sentence and then they can keep the cards. If they don't have a match, they turn the cards back down. This continues until there are no more cards. Child with the most cards at the end is the winner.

4. Charades - we have Actions and Things on cards. The concepts vary in complexity so we have stuff as simple as "cat" and some more complicated ones like "making a cake". Each child is assigned a card and must act it out for the group. Their tutor can help them if they cannot read the word. Lots of fun and the kids really get into it. I still laugh when I think of one of them acting out a chicken. It was very authentic!

We also have other game suggestions here and I am thinking of possibly investing in Jr. Pictionary which we use to use at another program I volunteered with, and possibly twister. I'm thinking the last one may come in handy from an "active game" perspective and I can someone put words, letters or syllables on the colours and make a literacy game out of that.

Cheers for now!


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

That's a Wrap, Folks!

Our Sawmill program finished up today. There were lotsa hugs from the kids and many terrific comments on our tutor evaluation forms. We're planning to return to Sawmill in the Fall, after a successful first full year at this site!

Pictured here is our volunteer team: Melanie, Steve, Lilah, Kristin, and yours truly!

Literacy Awards, Hobbits and Aliens

Because really, what more do you look for in a quick blog post?

Canada Post Announces the 2006 Literacy Awards

In other news, some points on literacy from Finland, which has quite impressive literacy rates and from Scotland.

Courtesy of What`s New in JK-12, an interesting article on how Blogs are changing education - the idea (among others) that kids like writing for an actual audience instead of simply the teacher.

And in case any of you were feeling like over-achievers this morning, this story, was picked up by a few of the literature/children`s book blogs.

Book Buds is on a bit of a role this week in my opinion - another good review here on the book Aliens are Coming! by Meghan McCarthy. Looks like fun!

Finally, further to my post yesterday about how there is a Lord of the Rings Musical, Canadian columnist Paul Well`s links to this article in the Chicago Tribune about Toronto's showings of the musical.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Move over, pen and paper...

Jerz's Literacy Weblog drew my attention to an interesting article from the BBC yesterday: "E-mail and text 'replace writing'."

This (British) study found that:

* 1/2 of written communication is conducted via e-mail;
* 29% by text message; and
* only 13% by pen and paper

Another stunner (or maybe notsomuch):
The results among those aged 15 to 24 who took part showed only 5% of their communications were by pen and paper, a lot lower than the older people.

If this somewhat expected revelation leaves you wanting to practice your typing skills more than your penmanship, why not try out my new favourite online game: Typer Shark. (Warning: it's very addictive!)

Buy a Friend a Book Week!

Okay - this was nice, so I just had to blog about it.

Unfamiliar with this until I saw a link to it over at Gail Gauthier's Original Content.

BAFAB Weeks come four times a year, in the first weeks of January, April, July, and October.

The rules: Just get yourself to a real-life or virtual book store during Buy a Friend a Book Week and, well, buy a friend a book (or e-book)! But here's the fun part: you can't buy your friend a book because it's their birthday or they just graduated or got engaged or had a baby or anything else. You have to give them a book for no good reason. In fact, this present out of the blue from you should shock the pants off of whomever you decide to give it to. And it'll make them happy. And that's the point: promote reading, promote friendships. Just make sure to let them know about Buy a Friend a Book Week. (How? Order a BAFAB card from to get your message across, or print out this explanation and include it in your gift book. Or, if you're not giving your friend the book in person, just point them to the explanation's URL.)

Couple of Frontier College related links I came across:

1. University of Alberta Students for Literacy.
2. University of Calgary Students for Literacy.
3. Write-up on a Scrabble Night in Canada event from the University of Toronto.
4. Info on what appaers to be a now defunct Frontier College Award called the Mary Isabel MacKay Award.

Courtesy of an American Site - a brief article on recruiting and retention for literacy programs which I found spoke to many of the challenges we face with these issues - this is from an initiative put forth by Verizon in the US.

From the blogs Book Moot provides another update on the ongoing Book Banning Saga. The decision of the Judson School Board re: the Handmaid's Tale has now been overturn and the book will again be allowed. Read Alert also had an interesting link on a separate but related issue about the Oklahoma House passing a bill that would force libraries to “place all children and young adult materials that contain homosexual or sexually explicit subject matter in a special area [and limited] distribution . . . to adults only.”

Book Buds has a review HERE of two fun children's books which use food to teach about shapes.

Another useful site here for recommending children's books which I will also be adding to the side menu in the resource section. Link courtesy of Kids Lit. Their plug from the site:

At ChildrensPictureBooks.Info, we love children's picture books. They are window on the world for youngsters allowing them to explore new ideas, new places, and new things. A favorite picture book will be read and re-read providing emotional satisfaction and rhythm to a child's life. As you explore our pages, you'll find information about children's picture books of all kinds, how to select the perfect picture book for your child or grandchild, and a wealth of suggestions.

And yet another children's blog found courtesy of Jen Robinson's Book Page. This one is called All About Children's Books and is done by Sally Apokedak. Appears well worth future visits.

Finally, two entertaining points of interest from Fuse 8: There is a Lord of the Rings Musical and someone has gone to the effort of deconstructing Nancy Drew.

And finally finally (and slightly off topic) - cool link from Cachibachus to Whatever... Whenever - an online newsletter full of craft ideas etc...


Saturday, March 25, 2006

What a Blog's Worth


I had another geeky discovery on the Internet yesterday. I was at work killing time (I'd finished work, but had the Organizational Meeting at 6:00, so no point going home) and came across Blogshares. You may notice the new link at the bottom of the right-hand column of the blog. According to Blogshares our blog is worth $2,633.73! Unfortunely this is in imaginary money - but I got warm fuzzies all the same. Also, our value appears to have increased since December, when I'm guessing I may have accidentally first registered the blog :) Some of my other Blog Favorites are also listed and I came across a fun Frontier College link I was previously unaware of: Laurier Students for Literacy! Always nice to see other clubs online. I'll be sure to add them to the FC Across Canada section.

Also, the 3rd Carnival of Children's Literature is being held over at Semi-Colon as previously announced on this blog HERE. They now have more info over on their site.

Had a good morning at Reading Circle this am. Had eight children which was quite a good turnout and six volunteers. Had the kids review the books they read this time with their tutors - which may be a good exercise for future reference as it gets them talking more than usual about why they like their books, or why they didn't. We also formally extended the program until April 22 when we will have a party (on of the parents already asked). Judging from the allergy lists, which I will have to check more closely before going any further on the party front, I'm thinking peanut brittle is out for snack purposes. :)

Finally, I tried to post this picture previously when I originally posted on the subject HERE because I just thought it was so ridiculous, but for some reason the picture poster was acting up. Anyhoo - here it is!

Guess I'm just not cut out for the world of high fashion.

Off to be productive!


Couple Carleton Updates

Hey guys,

Some general Carleton news of interest + a volunteer opportunity there!

March 20, 2006
Ravens Victorious!

The Ravens men's basketball team defeated the number one ranked University of Victoria Vikes to claim their fourth straight Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championship title yesterday in Halifax. The Ravens jumped out to an early lead, poured on the offense, and went to the lockers at the half with an 11-point advantage. The Vikes came out strong in the second half and started chipping away at Carleton's lead until they were within one point with less than 10 minutes remaining. But the Ravens charged through the Vike's defense to finish the game 73-67.

Fourth-year guard Osvaldo Jeanty, who played all 40 minutes of each of the team's three games, was named the tournament's most valuable player for the fourth year in a row. He netted 27 points for the Ravens in the championship final and has now scored 169 points in 12 CIS tournament games.

Meanwhile, it was fan-demonium off court as more than 100 Carleton students and cheerleaders electrified the Metro Centre with their roaring cheers and enthusiastic support in the Red Zone.

For more information on the tournament, visit

March 17, 2006
2006/2007 Communication Positions Available

We are now recruiting for the 2006/2007 team of Leave The Pack Behind (LTPB). The LTPB program offers a way for senior students to take on leadership roles, help other students, and gain professional communications experience that complements academic studies.

We will accept applications until Friday March 31, 2006. If you are interested in applying for a position, visit our website and enter the Carleton campus link for position profiles, key dates and deadlines.

If you have any questions about the LTPB recruitment process, please e-mail or call us at 520-2600 ext. 6544.

Leave the Pack Behind (LTPB) is funded by the Ministry of Health Promotion in support of Smoke-Free Ontario. It is a comprehensive, age-tailored, tobacco control initiative for young adults on post-secondary campuses. This peer-to-peer program is now available on 18 university/college campuses in Ontario. With trained student teams guided by campus health professionals, LTPB encourages occasional and regular smokers to quit, protects non-smokers from second-hand smoke, prevents students from starting to smoke and exposes deceptive tobacco industry tactics.

For further contact information:
Noy Kongtakane
Team Leader
Leave the Pack Behind
Tel: 613-520-2600 ext. 6544
Fax: 613-520-4059

March 17, 2006

The Centre for Aboriginal Culture and Education (CACE) presents on March 29th 3 documentaries about native women issues:

"Donna's Story", "Indigene Native Women: Politics", "Keepers of the Fire" (2001, National Film Board of Canada)

Donna is a Cree woman who left behind a bleak existence on the streets. She has re-emerged as a powerful voice conselling Aboriginal adults and youth about abuse and addiction. Donna Gamble was raised in foster homes, addicted to drugs and caught up in prostitution by the age of 13. The camera unravels her exhilarating and tumultuous journey: her motivation to turn her life around, her work to keep others off the streets, and the renewal of personal relationships with her family and children. With courage and candour, Donna also reveals an ongoing struggle with addiction, exposing the rage and pain of abuse that can haunt even the strongest person. Donna's mother and daughters are also introduced. With extraordinary purpose, these women hope to shatter the cycle of addiction and abuse that has affected generations of their family.

Indigene Native Women: Politics (1994, Motion Visual Productions)

This is a four part survey of the opinions of native women of British Columbia about Aboriginal self government and native women's roles in it. As well as a historical survey of the political situation of Indians in Canada, the film surveys both individual and band efforts towards self government and native women's hopes for its future.

Keepers of the Fire (1994, National Film Board of Canada)

According to an Aboriginal proverb, no people is broken until the hearts of its women are on the ground. In KEEPERS OF THE FIRE, Aboriginal women let their hearts speak. Mohawk and Haida, Maliseet and Ojibwe, these are the voices of warrior women—those who have been on the front lines of some of the most important struggles Aboriginal people in Canada have faced in the latter part of the 20th century. Storytellers, dreamers, healers and fighters, they are just some of the women who are keeping the fires of hope and determination burning in Aboriginal communities right across this land. With dignity and courage, these women speak their truth. And, as long as they speak, the fire will burn.

Length: 50 + 25 + 55 minutes,

Language: English,
Wednesday, March 29th, 6.00 P.M,

Where: The Commons Grille in the Residence Commons building (free admission; popcorn & pop provided)
March 15, 2006

Carleton U Art Gallery Nominee Wins Governor General's Award

Diana Nemiroff, Director of the Carleton University Art Gallery (CUAG), is delighted to congratulate Canadian artist Vera Frenkel, winner of a 2006 Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts. Ms. Nemiroff and Sandra Dyck, CUAG's curator, co-nominated Frenkel for this prestigious award, which is funded and administered by the Canada Council for the Arts.

CUAG is celebrating Frenkel's award with an exhibition entitled The Storyteller: Vera Frenkel, which is now open and continues through until April 16. This exhibition will feature landmark video projects from the artist's recent four-disc DVD compilation, Of Memory and Displacement, accompanied by related works selected from CUAG's permanent collection.

For more information on the exhibit, please visit


Friday, March 24, 2006

Drama Brings Reading and Writing Alive

For the past two weeks, we've had quite a few kids in our Tuesday homework club who have shown up with all their homework finished, but are eager to be there, nonetheless. Two weeks ago, we decided to try something new: we asked the learners (all in grade 4) to write a play and perform it at the end of the session.

While the day was a bit chaotic and the script a bit confusing, it was amazing to see these 5 children come alive while impersonating some very creative characters. Because this was such an exciting moment for the learners, we added some drama into last week's activities as well. This will definitely be something to consider incorporating when planning next year's activities!

If you're in the Ottawa area and looking for some creative, on-the-fly playwriting inspiration this weekend, I'd encourage you to check out the Ottawa Theatre Challenge at the NAC's Fourth Stage. Tickets are only $10 and you'll be witnessing fierce competition as three teams (including a personal favourite of mine--the Company of Fools) compete for the coveted rubber chicken prize.

I'm now officially on the lookout for ways to incorporate drama into our Reading Circle and Homework Club sessions!


Money for Literacy in the Ontario Budget!

So Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan presented the 2006 Ontario Budget yesterday. Among other highlights, $6 million was announced for libraries and literacy programs on First Nations reserves. YAY. The Ontario Library Association had some further info on their site:

March 23, 2006

Today's budget confirmed that the government has earmarked another $15 million for school library collection development (last year it was $17 million). The money and the process had been conveyed to school boards across Ontario earlier this week in a secret exchange to Directors of Education that was instantly leaked around the school library world, rather than waiting on today's budget announcement. Each school in the province is to receive $3,096. The money is to be spent in the next eight days. Past purchases may be counted but it begs the question of how boards will honour this as new money in the weeks ahead.

Today's provincial budget also contained $6 million for First Nation libraries and literacy programs. There was also provision for "more than $800,000" for the Lieutenant Governor's summer camp initiative that encourages literacy among aboriginal youth in northern Ontario.

You will, of course, remember many previous posts here on the Lieutenant Governor's summer camp initiative, as well as the fact that you can apply to be a counsellor as Frontier College is a partner with the initiative.

More in the blogs today on the banning and challenging of books. Chicken Spaghetti has a link to THIS ARTICLE in their suggested weekend reading post. It is an interview with Robie H. Harris - a grandmother, former elementary-school teacher and author of two of the "most challenged" books of 2005. Book Moot also has another post on the issue HERE and Book ____ has a couple stories HERE and HERE on the topic - specifically in regards to Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.

Over at Jen Robinson's Book Page she has a recommended reading list for toddlers and The Magic of Books reminds us that April is National Poetry Month (in the US) and provides some good poetry links.

On a fun note, a few blogs have linked HERE - where blogger Tiff is reliving the awkwardness of youth by re-reading and reviewing the Babysitters Club series.

Finally, another blog I'd bookmarked a few days ago (so I forget the source, sorry) is Bec's Book Blog. It is doing a series of "retro book reviews" which are quite fun.

And finally finally - I just have to include this picture sent to me by a co-worker:

Six years in the making, 500 million euros, 918 meters this is engineering!

It's a channel-bridge over the River Elbe and joins the former East and West Germany and was built as part of the unification project. It is located in the city of Magdeburg, near Berlin. The photo was taken on the day of inauguration.

Too cool for words.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

But I like Clifford the Red Dog!

Even if the Wilsona School District does not. Book Moot has a post today on the ongoing saga of the boards decision to remove 23 books from school libraries.

Both Chicken Spaghetti and Big A little a take time to review books on two of my favorite topics for kids books: Dragons and Snakes respectively.

Fuse 8 has had a busy couple days of posting. In no particular order:

1. Reported on Publishers Weekly coming out with the list of the top selling children's books of all time - both hardcover and paperback (I've read number 1!).

2. She issued part 6 in her "Hot Men of Children's Literature" series. This time: John Green of Looking for Alaska fame.

3. Reported on a poll in the UK that found that one in three children are not read to before bed.

Over at Book Buds there was a review of Seven Brave Women by Betsy Hearne which is told through the voice of a girl recounting the stories of seven women in her family - covering historical events through the telling of their lives. I may track this one down. On a personal note, in my family we have a "China Dog" that is passed down from mother to daughter and has been for about 150 years. My grandmother gave it to my mother when I was about 16 and gave me the story of how the dog came to Canada - namely the stories of quite a few generations of women in my family. It got me quite interested in geneaology.

Read Alert has an interesting round up today, covering, among other facts, a new fashion which includes wearing books on your head. I'll have to let my reading circle know that we were trendy. We'll have to hurry up and finish our book before we miss the craze!

The Magic of Books has a post this morning linking to two items of interest:

1)Interesting Article about the multiple versions of the Cinderella Story.

2) Link to a site I was previously unaware of called Kids Read. To give a brief synopsis (courtesy of their site):

Kidsreads is the best place on the web for kids to find info about their favorite books, series and authors. Reviews of the newest titles, interviews with the coolest authors and special features on great books are our specialties. And for even more reading fun we have trivia games, word scrambles and awesome contests!

We are a part of The Book Report Network, a group of websites founded in 1996 that share thoughtful book reviews, compelling features, in-depth author profiles and interviews, excerpts of the hottest new releases, literary games and contests, and more with readers every week.

And they also have a useful Coming Soon section which announcing the upcoming children's books!

Finally - in literacy news - a few more stories about the literacy initiative in Bolivia that Cuba is assisting with. See also HERE. We previously posted on this HERE.

Also article in the Fredericton Daily Gleaner about reading aloud.

PUBLICATION: The Daily Gleaner (Fredericton)
DATE: 2006.03.22

Picking the right book key for read-alouds success;

Students of all ages enjoy read-alouds (being read to).

Choosing books and authors that children enjoy is the key and read-alouds have been a big success at Connaught Street School.

During the recess time in September, all students were invited to join Mrs. Dacres and Mme. LeBlanc (the English and French literacy support teachers) out on the playground to hear Dr.Seuss stories.

Clad in their red and white Cat-in-the-Hat hats, with blankets spread out on the playground, these teachers read to a captive audience and played with the special rhymes and rhythm of Dr. Seuss's language.

Reading aloud continued after the cold weather began and students at all levels jumped into Chapter Book Clubs.

Mary Pope Osborne's Magic Tree House books. Dinosaurs Before Dark and Christmas in Camelot or Roald Dahl's George's Marvelous Medicine and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory have been special favorites.

The children's enjoyment reminds us that reading to children even after they have learned to read is important! By reading stories that interest children, but at the same time are above their reading levels, you can stretch children's understanding and keep alive the magic of shared reading.

If you haven't been reading aloud, try it.

The key is to read with drama and excitement and slowly enough so that children can form a mental picture of what is happening in the story.

Using different voices for different characters in the story is sometimes the special hook for many children! Try some non-fictions too.

Dear Parents,

In school, students are asked to read and write in many different genres.

When you have the opportunity to read to your children, choose from a wide variety of material.

When you read aloud, include such things as newspaper articles, poetry, information texts, comic strips, and weather forecasts along with the traditional selections from fiction.

This will help your children become familiar with the many types of texts.



The New Edge of the Forest is out!


I know I am a bit late on this one... but be sure to check out the new Edge of the Forest. We've previously posted on this publication HERE. Briefly - It's a new Children's Literature Monthly online created by Kelly Herold of Big A little a. Most of my favorite Children's Lit Blog writers are involved: Liz Burns from A Chair, a Fireplace and a Tea Cozy; Anne Boles Levy from Book Buds; Camille Powell from Bookmoot and Susan Thomsen from Chicken Spaghetti and Michele Fry from Scholar's Blog.

This month they have added a new section called In the Backpack - which I quite liked.

And on the tooting my own horn front - please check out their Best of Blogs for the month. Let me say it is an honour to be listed in such good company. I'll be sure to check out the few others on the list I was previously unaware of. Thanks again for listing us! Now we'll really have to produce something worthwhile over here :)


Mayor's Walk for Volunteerism AND Carleton Activity

Hey folks,

Two quick announcements:

April 23 to April 29, 2006 is National Volunteer Week. The efforts each of our volunteers make through Volunteering with Frontier College, in addition to those of many other volunteers across Ottawa, help to create and maintain this wonderful community.

To mark the end of National Volunteer Week, Volunteer Ottawa, one of Students for Literacy/Frontier College in Ottawa's partners, is organizing the 4th Annual Mayor's Walk for Volunteerism on Saturday, April 29, 2006.

The event runs from 8:00 in the morning until 11:00 when there are prizes! The walk begins and ends at City Hall and Volunteer Ottawa is aiming for a bigger participation this year.

While the event also doubles as a fundraiser, this aspect of the event is optional. For those interested, 50 percent of anything raised can go to "your favorite Volunteer Ottawa organization" (which we hope is us!). However, we realize that many of you are "all fundraised out" after Scrabble Night in Canada, so please do not let this aspect dissuade you from participating in what looks like a fun community event. You do not have to fundraise to participate. You can just come out for a morning of outdoor fun with your fellow volunteers!

If any of you are interested, please let OT Member Louise Hayes know. She will be coordinating a SFL/Frontier College Ottawa Team of interested volunteers. She can be reached at For more information on the event, please visit Volunteer Ottawa.


The Rights and Democracy Delegation of Carleton University is pleased to invite you to a Film/Panel Discussion evening, addressing the issue of "Irregular Migration and its Implications for Human Rights"

The event will be held on March 31st, 2006 at the Ottawa Public Library (120 Metcalfe St ). Doors open at 6:30 pm and film screening begins at 7:00pm Admission is $5. All proceeds go towards the Canadian Council for Refugees

Programme for the Evening:

First Part:

Film Screening: "Dying to Leave", a movie by Australian film producer Chris Hilton, explores the current worldwide boom in irregular migration. This documentary investigates the many circumstances that force migrants from their places of origins, describes the difficulties involved in their arduous journeys and reveals what awaits them in their new world.

Second Part:

Panel discussion: "Non-status migrants: human Rights implications " featuring:

· William Walters-Carleton University
· Chantal Tie- South Ottawa Community Legal Services
· Cheryl Hotchkiss-Amnesty International
· Faduma Abderrahman-Catholic Immigration Center

We rely on your support and are looking forward to your participation in this event,

The Rights and Democracy Delegation of Carleton University. For further information, please contact us at:

Monday, March 20, 2006

My first post as ME!

So welcome to my first real post as ME!

I still haven't worked out how to get our profile back up at the top of the right-hand column of the blog, but I'm sure I'll get there.

Lots to report on this morning - but quickly on the reading circle front, I was happy to see that we had two new kids on Saturday, one new volunteer, and a most probable commitment from the library, volunteers and parents to extend the circle until the end of April! So all is well on the circle front.

In the blogging world here goes:

1. Big A little a reports that Lynne Truss is doing a modification of Eats, Shoots and Leaves for kids. Yippy! Looking forward to it. You will note that it is listed as one of our favorite books in our profile. We've also posted previously on Ms Truss HERE. The comments on the post will certainly make me punctuation check my posts more closely. Just don't get my mom started on my challenges with, commas :).

2. Also courtesy of Big A little a, as well as originally courtesy of Fuse 8 productions - link to a sight called Kids Speak!, which provides a venue for children to post about censorship issues in children's books. We posted on this issue quite frequently a few weeks ago during Freedom to Read Week.

3. Big A little also has a nice post about Dragons. While they don't rank as high as aquatic animals for me, I'm still a fan.

4. Fuse 8 also has a link to an article on "the man who hated Pooh" and according to Kids Lit, Marvel Comics and DC Comics aref filing to trademark use of the term "Super-Hero."

5. Finally, Jen Robinson's Book page has a link to a story about how Harry Potter may be increasing reading among kids in the US. I am willing to give the little magician some credit. Indeed, this story from the UK also lends credence to the theory that kids are reading more with the Harry Potter craze. We posted on this entertaining study HERE.

And that's it for me. Wishing you all a good week!


Friday, March 17, 2006

Testing Group Blog Functions

Hi again,

Just checking if this works. Will remove this post if all is well.


Happy St. Patrick's Day (and pi day)!

Hope everyone has a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!

Another noteworthy day to remember in March is apparently Pi Day. I was coaching last night and one of my swimmers wished me a happy Pi Day. I looked at him blankly. He explained that Tuesday was date 3.14 (ie: pi). This isn't something us Arts and Social Science folks take into account apparently. But Wikipedia even has an entry!

Pi Day, it appears, is celebrated in a variety of ways. Parties or other observances may be held by mathematics departments. Math or science clubs might gather to consider the role that the number π has played in their lives and to imagine the world without π. During such an event, pi celebrants may devise alternative values for π, eat pie, play piñata, drink Piña Colada, eat pineapple, listen to the song "Pi" by Kate Bush, or watch Pi. The shape of the pie is sometimes square, due to the pronunciation of the equation for the surface area bounded by a circle = πr2, i.e., "pie are squared."

Enthusiasts also note that the day happens to be Albert Einstein's birthday. The renowned science and technology university Massachusetts Institute of Technology, often mails out its acceptance letters to be delivered to prospective students on Pi Day.

So there you go. We all learnt something today. I know, like me, you will all be sure to celebrate Pi Day next year. In the interim, perhaps you can have an extra cup of green tea or another green beer in its honour tonight.

On the literacy front, I discovered another Literacy News site that I had missed up until this point. Reading Rockets has a news site! I've posted about Reading Rockets before HERE and will be adding their news page to my news list.

Over at Book Buds, there is a review of George and the Dragon by Chris Wormell. I like any books about dragons - especially humourous ones - so check it out!

Fuse 8 productions had some more news on the Lemony Snickett front. Previous posting from yours truly on the issue HERE. And Canada Newswire has a release posted about a program called Ask a teacher, which may be a good reference for tutors working with high school students.

Also, new volunteer site of interest HERE that I plan to look into a bit further.

Finally, I was very upset to learn yesterday that not all Tim Hortons Roll up the Rim! cups roll up equally. Thanks to Bourque for the link.

On a separate issue - I am going to be playing around with the blog template this afternoon. Our intention for next year is to change this into a formal group blog to give the opportunity for other interested Ottawa volunteers and OT members to post as well. Hoping that may add to the "diversity of opinions and materials" on the blog. So you may see a change on the side as I try to set, at least myself up for now, as a contributor.



Thursday, March 16, 2006

This and That

So bit of a mix of info to post for you today.

1. Another blog of interest that reveiws children's books here. It is called the Young Adult (and kids)Book Central Blog. With five different contributors listed it offers variety - reviews, author interviews and contests.

2. Also came across Kids Write. She appears to post more about youth writing opportunities, which is less of the focus over here - but pointed me in the direction of some publications I was unfamiliar with (sorry, with which I was unfamiliar). As some of our volunteers are likely also aspiring writers - here they are:

a) - a Canadian webzine written entirely by youth! is always on the lookout for submissions for our webzine. We welcome articles, poetry, artwork, fiction, editorials, photography, comic strips, music, video clips and anything else you can come up with!

Courtesy of their About this site section: At, we strive to become the best resource on the Internet for Canadian youth. As a by youth for youth initiative, we are uniquely qualified to act as a voice for young Canadians. We provide youth with information on issues that are important to them. We are a forum for expression, we encourage leadership and we incite youth to take a stand and get involved in their schools and communities. provides the tools needed to make healthy life choices and to overcome obstacles in personal, family and community life.

Surfing around the site seemed to clarify that "youth" can be anyone up to 29. I was flattered to know I still squeak by :)

b) What If? magazine. Styles itself Canada's fiction magazine for teens. Submissions are taken from those 19 and under. So that would be a "stricter" interpretation of youth :) What If? is a literary fiction magazine for ages 12 and up. While it is aimed mainly at the teen market the stories are top-quality in order to interest young adults and adults as well. Our goal is to inspire, enlighten and entertain all readers.

Their links page is also worth a gander for those looking for writing resources.

3. Again couresy of kids-write, I came across another award program of intrest from a volunteering perspective: Canada's Top 20 under 20. I'm feeling inspired and rather like an under-achiever :) Funded by ING and a group called Youth in Motion.

4. Also on the awards from the City of Ottawa has civic appeciation awards. Info here.

5. Back to blogs, the Hip Librarian Book Blog had a review of "It's Happy Bunny: Love Bites" which looks amusing and back on the kidslit front, Book Carousel reviews Food for Thought by Saxton Freyman. I had to include the picture because I think the bigger orange looks a little, well, devious (maybe olives aren't the only evil o's...).

6. Finally, you may recall a post I did back in January about trying to get to the Trent Students for Literacy Conference. If, like me, you were curious about what happened there - Ken was nice enough to post some photos!

Wishing everyone a happy Thursday!


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Canada Post Awards - Some Motivation!

Hi again,

Anyone looking for motivation re: tutoring and literacy should check out the Canada Post Literacy Awards!

The 2006 Call for Nominations begins on March 27, 2006 and nominations close on May 26, 2006.

Courtesy of their website:

The Canada Post Literacy Awards is a national awards program dedicated to recognizing grassroots literacy initiatives. The awards celebrate the achievements of learners and the contributions of educators, community programs, and businesses to the cause of literacy.

The four award categories are: Individual Achievement, Educator, Community Leadership and Business Leadership. Nominations close on May 26, 2006.

What I found specifically interesting was browsing through the past winners and what they had accomplished. How`s that for motivation! Thanks to What's New in JK-12 Education for the info!

In other news, courtesy of Jen Robinson's Book Page I came across yet another book blog called Kim's Book Blog. She reviews quite a few of the children's book award winners. Also learnt about a cool program in the US through her blog called Read Across America. Be good to know if we have similar programs in Canada.

And finally, courtesy of ABC Canada - the search is on for young writing talent in Canada!

Canadian students in grades five and six have the chance to see their short stories published, thanks to the launch of the GMAC Great Canadian Writing Contest, a national, annual, bilingual contest made possible by General Motors Acceptance Corporation of Canada, Limited (GMAC) and managed by ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation.

To enter the contest - beginning March 13 and running until May 8, 2006 - students submit an original story, in English or French, of no more than 150 words, based on the contest theme of travel, along with an illustrated 'book cover' that they have made. A judging panel will assess the entries and the winning stories will be announced the week of May 22.

The grand prize is a visit from Canadian author Kenneth Oppel to their school, library or family literacy program. Mr. Oppel's beloved books include Skybreaker, Airborne (recipient of the 2004 Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Text), and the Silverwing, Sunwing and Firewing saga.




General Frontier College Updates

Hi everyone,

I have a few posts to do this morning as I wanted to make certain bits of info easy to find.

A couple pieces of interest courtesy of the Frontier College National Newsletter:

Across Canada we have programs spanning every province and at most major universities. Highlights of our collective accomplishments in 2005 include:

- 6,422 learners across Canada worked with a Frontier College volunteer
- Over 2,100 Canadians were involved as Frontier College volunteers
- Over 4,000 people were trained as tutors or community organizers
- Across Canada we worked with 265 community partners ranging from women’s shelters to community centres
- Over 15,000 people attended a literacy awareness event or a speech about Frontier College and our work
- 20,000 books were distributed across Canada to families and children

For some great stories from across the country (Cornerbrook, Quebec City and Montreal) click here.


Be a Labourer-Teacher

Labourer-Teachers (LTs) have the toughest and most rewarding job at Frontier College, and you could be one of them! This year LTs will work on farms, alongside international migrant workers, providing physical labour but most importantly, literacy and language tutoring and friendship to these important but often overlooked workers and their families.

Frontier College is looking for people with an excellent work ethic, the ability to work 12-16 hours daily, in the field and in the classroom, who can handle a cultural immersion experience with all its challenges. Tutoring experience, physical ability and Spanish skills all come in handy. Positions are spread throughout Southern Ontario, and housing and travel expenses are provided. You will be paid by the employer (farmer) for the hours that you work on the farm. The hours you spend teaching are volunteer hours.

The program begins with an intensive training in early May, and finishes at the end of August. (Some LTs may be choosen to stay on for the fall) Generally, you need to be available for training and the full summer, though sometimes shorter spring placements are possible.

The application deadline is March 24th. Interviews will be held between March and April 2006.

Click here for more information.

Also, courtesy of some quick googling, you can click here for a bloggers endorcement of the program (she did it last year!)

Work in Northern Ontario this Summer!

Last summer, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, James K. Bartleman started a pilot project to create 5 literacy camps for aboriginal children in isolated Northern Ontario communities. Frontier College was involved as one of the partner organizations and this year has been asked to take a lead role in the project. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in education or First Nations issues.

Frontier College is looking for about 65 highly motivated university/ college students to work as camp counselors in the Lieutenant-Governor’s Aboriginal Literacy Summer Camp program in July-August 2006. These camps will be three weeks in length and will be organized in up to 30 fly-in communities in Northern Ontario .This is a challenging and unique opportunity to work with young aboriginal children to help them improve their English language skills in a fun-filled camp environment. Training, transportation and accommodation will be provided. Pay will be about $10.00 per hour for 35 hours per week. Contracts will run from late June until the end of August.

If interested, please send a cover letter and resume to:

The deadline for applications is April 15th.

We have posted previously on this issue in the blog. See previous information here.




Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I am Superman!

Hey everyone!

If you have a spare moment and are looking for some entertainment, try this out! You can find out what Super-hero you would be.

Apparently, I am Superman! Or, at least 85% Superman :)

Wonder Woman
Iron Man
The Flash
Green Lantern
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Which Superhero are you? Take the quiz to find out.

Thanks to Daveberta for the link.

Bit of a slow day...


Librarians outspell Nuns!

You heard it here first!

For those interested in the topic please see previous posting HERE and direct link to original article HERE.

Also, article on The Literacy Site HERE (you will note we have a link to it on our blog!) Also talks about First Book. Canada should have sites like this!

And an article HERE on We've posted previously on Book Crossings HERE.

And Fiji's literacy rate is 92%!!



Two more noteworthy blogs


So through the Carnival over at Chicken Spaghetti I came across another blog I will be adding to the blogroll along the side. A Fuse #8 Production, covers children's literature (shock that I would be writing about that, I know...) and does so in quite an amusing way. The author is a librarian in New York and, among other features on her site, has a section on "Hot Men in Children's Literature" (so far: Philip Nel, Patrick Arrasmith, Mo Willems (yay!) and Brian Selznick). She reviewed Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! for the Carnival, which is one of my favorite children's books. Other interesting facts I learnt from the site:

1) There's going to be a Where the Wild Things Are movie!

2) She reviewed The Babysitters Club! I have to appreciate any site that reviews the series. It was right up there with Sweet Valley High when I was in Elementary School and Junior High.

Through Cachibachis, I came across The Magic of Books which is also chock full of children's book reviews. Another good resource - and (AND!) we're on their blogroll! Thank you again to them! Also of note over at Cachibachis, is commentary on a Mem Fox Book - Feathers and Fools. I'm a fan of Mem Fox.

In other fun links from the Carnival is this tips page for writing children's books and this song about blogs (go on, don't laugh).

Big A little a has a post linking to a blog called Wands and Worlds which is focusing on reviews of books by smaller presses this month.

And, last but not least, Book Moot is reviewing a book about ER Vets! Tend to notice that most books about animals are a hit!

In the news, this is late, but I include it because it is an announcement of a Students for Literacy Activity at Laurier! I hope their event went well - what a great idea!

PUBLICATION: The Record (Kitchener, Cambridge and Waterloo)
DATE: 2006.03.07

Curious George is set to boost literacy

Curious George will be making an appearance in Waterloo.

Laurier Students for Literacy is hosting a free event for kids this Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to noon in Laurier's concourse. There will be games, Curious George books to read and kids can get their picture taken with the adventurous monkey.



Monday, March 13, 2006

Miss a week, miss a lot

Oh boy,

So, lots has been happening out there in the blogosphere while I've been away at Forum for Young Canadians. In no particular order, some of the highlights that caught my eye:

1. Chicken Spaghetti points out some good weekend reading (just ignore the fact that its now Monday, okay?) Of particular interest to me was the link to an article in Slate Magazine about why boys like girl books.

As I posted to Susan's comments section, I am always interested in views/ideas re: reading and boys. While I do sometimes tend to look for good "boy books" I agree with the comment in the article that to a large extent this sometimes doesn't matter. I remember being surprised a few weeks ago when reading to a group of three boys. I had them go choose which books they wanted to read and one of them chose one of the books from the Madeleine series (ie: 12 little girls in 12 straight lines etc...). I had loved them as a child, but was surprised to find out that a boy would like them too. And not only the one who chose the book - all three.

It reminded me not to put the kids into categories or push on them what I thought they wanted to read.

Also of amusement is her link to information on Chicken Books. I agree that there can never be enough Chicken Books :)

2. Big A little a also had a good post on weekend reviews. Of particular interest was a link to a New York Times aticle entitled "What's a girl to read?". Big A little a also weighed in on the Slate Article mentioned above.

3. A Chair, a fireplace and a tea cosy had a good post March 7 regarding the issue of banning books/censorship etc... The discussion Tea Cosy is referring to began over at Here in the Bonny Glen and is in regards to a California school board's decision to delete 23 children's books from a to-purchase list drawn up by parents and teachers. Harry Potter is among the casualties. SFLO (that's us) has also done a series of postings on issues of censorship in relation to Freedom to Read Week. Also courtesy of this blog is the list of the top 25 challenged books of 2005 courtesy of the American Library Association

4. In lighter fare, Read Alert informs us that both Jessica Simpson and Kylie Minogue are joining the ever growing club of stars considering writing childrens books. You may remember previous posts on this blog discussing the publishing ambitions of others... (50 cent, Posh Spice and Madonna).

In relation to a previous post on this blog, Read Alert updates us, informing us that Margaret Atwood had some "technical difficulties" with her new pen.

Finally, she also posts that Harry Potter Books apparently really are signed by the Prince of Darkness himself and provides a link to an article on books kids love but parents hate.

5. Also courtesy of this blog, entertaining news pieces on Nuns vs Librarians (in a spelling bee).

6. From a newer blog I am now following called Kids Lit, a good review on a book called Superhero ABC by Bob McLeod, which I may track down at the library.

7. Another new blog I'm checking out called Book Carousel had a review on a book called Secret Seahorse by Stella Blackstone here. I just like any books about undersea adventures. I think it ties back to my love of the Little Mermaid. I even got my picture taken with Spongebob Squarepants at a baseball game two summers ago (but I digress).

8. The UNESCO blog has a piece on a media kit available re: the Education for All (EFA) international initiative to achieve education for all by 2015.

Believe that's it for me for today. Whew! Good to know there are so many good resources out there on children's books that it took a post of this length to comment on a weeks worth of noteworthy material out there.



Sunday, March 12, 2006

Two Campus Announcements

Courtesy once again of my Carleton inbox:

Henry Marshall Tory Award and CUSA Honour Awards

Students are encouraged to consider nominating graduating students for the Henry Marshall Tory Award or the Carleton University Students' Association Honour Awards for Service.

The Henry Marshall Tory Award recognizes a graduating student who has combined high academic achievement with a significant contribution to Carleton through extra curricular involvement including participation with University committees and associations, students' associations, volunteer work, athletics and/or student clubs and societies.

The CUSA Honour awards for service recognize those graduating students who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the activities of the Carleton University Students' Association throughout their years at Carleton.

For full details regarding the application/nominations process for these awards is available at:

Thank you,

Ann Tierney
Associate Vice-President (Student and Academic Support Services)


VOLUNTEERS NEEDED - 2nd Generation Immigrant Youth

We are looking for individuals to participate in a research project on the role and importance of religion in the lives of second generation immigrant youth in Canada. Participants have to be between 18 and 27 years old. They should be of Muslim, Buddhist, or Hindu background, but they don't actually have to be practising those religions right now. As well, participants have to have been born in Canada or have arrived in Canada when they were 10 years old or less. They also have to have at least one parent who is an immigrant to Canada. The research takes an explicitly sociological approach and in no way favours one religious perspective over another, neither one of the ones just mentioned nor any other.

For more information, please contact Professor Peter Beyer of the Department of Classics & Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa, 562-5800 ext. 1178 or e-mail



Saturday, March 11, 2006

A Coney Island Adventure!

Also known as the 2nd Carnival of Children's Literature!

Please check it out. Students for Literacy in Ottawa is featured! We sent this post as our submission. A big thank you to Chicken Spaghetti for organizing the Carnival. Also of note, was the announcement that SemiColon will be hosting the next Carnival in April.

I will be certain to examine all the other posts (as well as the SemiColon blog) in more detail tomorrow. I am just back from a wonderful, though exhausting week at Forum for Young Canadians where I was a counsellor. I have spent the past hour and a half catching up on email and am now off to a friends housewarming (where I will try my best to stay awake). Will talk about Forum in a bit more detail later - but what an incredible program. If you are Canadian and 15-19 - or know anyone who is, tell them about this program. I met a great group of students from all across the country - learnt a lot about them and where they were from - and we all learnt a lot about politics and government in Canada.

Also, courtesy of the j-skool grad list I'm on - volunteer opportunity below of possible interest:

Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation
Volunteer Media Coordinator

Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation needs a higher profile among the citizens and firefighters of Canada about the Foundation and its activities, especially special programs carried out over the year. This includes Firefighter Life Safety Initiative (FFLSI), Annual Firefighter Memorial Ceremony, fund-raising for the Memorial Monument, relationship with the National Capital Commission, providing assistance to surviving family members of fallen firefighters and others.

Main Duties
* Contact newspapers, television, radio, magazines and other news media to arrange for coverage in the form of interviews and other forms of reportage.
*Write and distribute press releases about Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation on an ongoing basis.
*Brief board members and executive members of Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation on dealing with the Press.
*Brief those promoting Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation on how to make what they are doing newsworthy.
*Brief family members of fallen firefighters on how to deal with interviews by the press, should they choose to be interviewed.
*Create and implement the means to make Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation and its activities as widely known as possible.
*Coordinate and direct press activities at the annual Fallen Firefighters Memorial Ceremony.
*Prepare press kits for the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Ceremony.
*And other functions.

Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation is a nationally registered charity organization dedicated to honouring Canadian firefighters who have been killed in the line of duty, and to assist their surviving family members to rebuild their lives.

Those truly interested in volunteering their time, skills and abilities to this effort, should take the time to read carefully the CFFF web site. Though not a prerequisite, fluency in both official languages is a major asset.

Please, email a brief summary of your qualifications to Bill Williams at this address: or contact Dr. Will Brooks, President, at 613-282-0161 for any further details or questions.

Also, Canadian Political Science Blog sent to me through my Political Science List. Not too interesting at the moment, but may have potential for those looking for where they may wish to study Political Science in Canada.

More detailed post coming tomorrow!


Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Long Distance Personal Touch

Leave it to Margaret Atwood. She's invented a pen that will allow her to be virtually present at book signings, even when she can't be there in the flesh.

Cool or creepy? I'll let you decide...


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Virtual Book Clubs

Anne Jordan of blogs about some of the latest activities happening with the US government's "One Book, One City" initiative.

C.S. Lewis once said/wrote something to the effect of "We read to know we are not alone." Books really do connect people, and it's always fun to hear of such connections. Here's a quick snippet from Jordan's comments:

I just learned of a new approach the Chicago Public Library is taking with its selection for 2006, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn: Chicagoans who read the book can engage in online discussions with participating residents in their sister city of Moscow.


Monday, March 06, 2006

On Happy Endings...

CBBC (I do love that site) conducted a survey and found out that most people like stories with happy endings. While that's probably not a surprise, it is a happy thought for a Monday morning. The suggested lesson plan they provide that uses this survey as a launching point might make you even happier.

Happy Endings abound. We held our wrap-up Scrabble Night in Canada at the Urban Well on Saturday. The crowd was small but enthusiastic! Our grand totals for SNIC have topped $800.00! Final numbers will be available soon!


Friday, March 03, 2006

The Big Apprenticeship

Below is an email I received courtesy of a j-skool (sorry, Journalism - my undergrad degree) grad list I'm on. The concept is fun!

Also a link courtesy of Lyndsay re: Best-selling British authors signing on to produce a series of short books that will sell in supermarkets for £2.99 (about $6). The first 12 of the Quick Reads books hit supermarkets and bookshops in Britain on Thursday in honour of World Book Day (which seems to fluctuate depending where you live...).

Chat with you all again in a week! Off for an early night before my big "week away" as a counsellor at Forum for Young Canadians.




The Big Apprenticeship is a competition put together by Big Brother Big Sisters Ottawa. It provides an opportunity to groups of students to organize a fundraising activity on behalf of the agency and the prize for the best team is an exclusive 10-week paid internship opportunity with one of six community and business leaders, namely:

Janet Yale, Executive VP, Telus
Garth Scully, VP, Cisco Systems
Lawrence Greenspon, Lawyer, Greenspon, Brown and Associates
Ralph Chapman, VP, Federal Solutions Public Sector, IBM
Robin McIntyre, Regional President, Rogers Communications
Michael Allen, President, United Way/Centraide Ottawa

Student interested in forming a team and submitting a fundraising idea can do so at More information on the competition can be obtained on the site as well.

(For you information, I am one of the volunteer coaches that will be following one of the teams throughout this "adventure")

Best regards,

Natalie Lavigne
Manager, Public Affairs
Department of University Communications
Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Drive (605 Robertson Hall)
Ottawa ON K1S 5B6
Ph: (613) 520-2600, et. 1406
Cell: (613) 291-9823

Scrabble Event this Saturday!!!

Hey all,

First and formost - this Saturday is our Scrabble Event at the Urban Well! Fun to be had by all and there are PRIZES! Please come and bring friends.

In Frontier College news, I noticed that their Beat the Street Program has won a Conference Board of Canada award. For more info on Beat the Street, their website is HERE.

And now for a round-up of events and news from the blogosphere!

Big A little a has a post on Children and TV Violence (ie: effects etc...). We've posted previously on the topic HERE also in reference to a post from Big A little a.

Book Moot reminded us that yesterday was Dr. Seus' Birthday (apologies all for the late notice!) They have a really good post on the life of the good Doctor (whose named I learned today was Ted Geisel) and a review of The Boy on Fairfield Street by Kathleen Krull, which is a biography for children on his life.

Carrying on the Freedom to Read Week theme, Read Alert in its March 3 Round-up links to an article of another book which has come under fire from the Censors. The book under fire this time is called The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and is about children's lives in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Gail Gauthier over at Original Content has a post about an online initiative called the Spaghetti Book Club where Classes or reading groups take part in the program by reading books, engaging in book talks, writing reviews, discussing reviews etc... (Worth noting that this is not a free service)

Two posts of interest over at KidsLit: 1) Post on the List of Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers and 2) Info on the Golden Kite Awards which are given by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) for the most outstanding fiction, nonfiction, picturebook text and picturebook illustrations.

Courtesy of Jen over at Jen Robinson's Book page, a post on suggestions for reading with kids. Also courtesy of Jen, I am now subscribing to Google News Alerts for Literacy. One post-worthy piece from my first email from them was a story on Bolivia launching a new literacy intiative with assistance from Cuba. Made me think back to the Summer Leadership Forum in August where Lyndsay and I were informed, time and again, how literate everyone is in Cuba and how they are leaders in literacy rates.

Over at Reading Matters was a post on 1001 Books you must read before you die. Big A little a also posted on this previously HERE and a review can be found HERE.

Couple other short posts of possible interest:

- post HERE on literacy as a civil rights issue (linking to a wiki they are putting up on this issue!)
- post HERE on writing assignments boys will enjoy.
- further one HERE on girls and boys as readers and writers.
- post HERE with some more thoughts on reading and writing.
- and one HERE on setting kids up for success with reading.

And I think that brings me to the end of my entry for today. While you will probably still hear from Lyndsay next week, I will be incommunicado as I am spending the week as a Counsellor with Forum for Young Canadians where (gasp) I won't have access to the Internet. You'll know I survived if I'm posting again in a weeks time.