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Join Calgary Reads and Pick Up A Book!

Calgary Reads recognizes that reading is important for child development, and they are committed to spreading the joy of reading to all children with their unique programs. There is something enchanting about reading a good book. Becoming engulfed in the story, and getting to experience epic adventures with beloved characters. A good book can captivate the attention and nurture the imaginations of children, and adults alike.

 

Reading is a skill learned early on in childhood, but if a child doesn’t develop those literacy skills, it can set them up for a lifetime of difficulties. To help combat child illiteracy and promote positive reading habits, Calgary Reads has started an initiative to make sure that no child gets left behind, and that everyone gets to experience the magic of reading. 

 “Calgary Reads is an early literacy society. A not for profit that has been working within CBE schools to assist grade one and two struggling readers for over 10 years,” says Janica Fisher, Director of Engagement for Calgary Reads. 

Since it was piloted in 1998, the main goal for Calgary Reads has been for every child to read with confidence and joy.

“Reading is the fundamental skill.  Learning to read happens up to grade three and then the teaching switches to reading to learn.  If a child cannot read well by then it is more difficult for them to be successful in school.  Reading helps them understand their world, increase their imagination, strengthen their comprehension skills - reading builds their brain!” says Fisher. 

Even with the knowledge that reading and literacy comprehension are so vitally important to a child’s development and future, Calgary Reads reports that “twenty-eight per cent of developing children in Alberta entering kindergarten today are already behind their peers in language and literacy skills.” 

Calgary Reads is dedicated to educating all Albertans on the importance of reading and it’s life long benefits. The organization is funded by donations from individuals and corporations, and counts on over 700 volunteers to keep their programs running. 

“We encourage anyone wishing to get involved to visit our website and fill in an online application. We have a team that will connect with them to discuss the many ways they could be involved,” says Fisher.

The main program Calgary Reads offers consists of 16 weeks of twice a week tutoring (for grade one and two students) during the school day. All volunteers receive five hours of initial training before working the program. 

“We have just recently created programs and initiatives to support the importance of reading at home and in the community; we have grown from 1 core program to over 18!” says Fisher. 

As important as reading is, the process has to continue at home. Parents are largely responsible for contributing to their child’s success. 

“We have a saying that you should read every day that you eat,” reveals Fisher. 

The more kids read the better they read, and the more enjoyment they get out of reading, the more they will likely want to 

“Let them read fun things, stories they want to read. Read aloud to them, play games with reading; such as reading signs as you are driving, cookbook recipes,” says Fisher. 

It might be hard as a parent (and literary connoisseur) to be elated with their choice of literature, but letting them read what interests them will spark their imagination as they develop a healthy relationship with reading. Eventually they will build their confidence for reading up, and you can help guide them to the classics. 

10 Awesome Books to Get Them Started (from Calgary Reads 50 Books to Read Before You Are 8):

• Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

• Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault

• Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late by Mo Willems

• If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura J Numeroff

• Jillian Jiggs by Phoebe Gilman

• Purple, Green and Yellow by Robert N. Munsch

• Stone Soup by Marcia Brown

• The Mitten by Jan Brett

• The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka

• Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein 

Visit calgaryreads.com for more book titles. 

Children can have a multitude of reasons why they don’t want to read: it’s too hard, it’s not fun, it’s boring, why should I? Here are a few tips to help get your child reading: 

• Be a role model: Let your child see you reading. You can’t just tell them why it’s important to read, you have to emulate the behavior, and talk to them about your favorite books. Creating a household where reading is valued will help your child reap the benefits long after. 

• Learn from reading: Use reading as a way for you and your child to gather information about a hobby, or activity that they are interested in. 

• Mentor: Have older siblings read to their younger ones. The responsibility will get them excited about reading and wanting to share what they know. 

• Use a routine: Set aside regular time to read in your house. Maybe after dinner, or before bed. Children will begin to know what to expect and look forward to the time. 

• Visit bookstores: Bring your child with you to a bookstore and have them pick out their own books. Or take a trip to the local library and get your child their own library card. 


Alex Broger is a freelance journalist, and avid reader, who is about to graduate from SAIT Polytechnic. She has spent several years working with children and perfecting her craft-making abilities. She can’t wait to start her career and see what new adventures it might bring. For more information on Alex visit artup.info.

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