Wednesday, April 22, 2009
My favorite picture...
Today a teacher phoned me from a high school in Burnaby. Some of her staff wanted to start a daily reading block at her school and she had been told that we had schools that do this and I might be able to give her some ideas. One of my queries in my time in this position is how can we encourage independent reading most effectively at the high school level? And this is a question that has also been of interest to many of our high school teachers as they fine tune their independent reading programs. I was able to refer her to Janet, teacher-librarian at Churchill, where they have an effective independent reading program for credit. I was able to tell her about Magee where this year their English department began an independent reading program (one suggestion I had for her was to start with those teachers who are interested and then share the results). I was able to tell her strategies used at Byng and Thompson and at elementary school to make independent reading more meaningful. In a conversation later in the day, Germaine from Tupper, and I realized that Tupper's program has been established for at least 28 years!
I have to say last week, when I arrived at Gladstone to attend a poetry reading it was such a wonderful feeling walking through a group of students reading happily with their teacher on the steps of the school.
The poetry reading was also wonderful and also neat in that the students read in English and French and other languages as well. It was a multilingual experience complete with refreshments.
Later that afternoon I went to Carlteton Elementary where they were having a Writers' Festival, celebrating and sharing the writing of all their students. It began with their teacher-librarian reading a book new to me, The Plot Chickens, which was just the perfect. The day before I sadly missed an event that I have attended for several years, a Historica fair, at McBride Elementary. Students do secondary and primary research and then present projects they have done on local history of their choice. What a way to encourage primary and secondary research, writing, reading and oral language skills!
Today I was invited to let my secondary literacy contacts know about an opportunity to bring Vancouver International Writers' Festival authors to inner city classrooms. Within hours Ilona was telling me that her authors had been placed.
Thanks to all our teachers who care and take up the opportunities to give our students voice, mingle with professional writers, and use literacy in all its dimensions.