The Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg (RCGW) has been dedicated to promoting literacy and developing lifelong readers since 1956. We have a proud history of being a literacy leader in Winnipeg and its surrounding area. We are a Special Area Group of Educators (SAGE) of the Manitoba Teachers' Society and a local council of the International Literacy Association.
RCGW provides professional development for educators, shares resources and ideas on our website, celebrates I Love to Read month, promotes literacy in the community, honours literacy leaders and up-and-coming teacher candidates, and supports literacy projects. Join RCGW today!
February marks not only I Love to Read Month but also Black History Month, a time where parents and educators should celebrate the many contributions made by Black people and honour Black Canadian history. Here are resources you may find helpful: Virtual field trips, reading lists, and activities.
First, check out this list of Events from Black History Manitoba. On the list is an exciting Virtual Field Trip for Home Learning presented by the Manitoba Museum. A live, interactive field trip will look at Black History in Canada on February 20, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. Register online.
The Winnipeg Public Library has prepared an Info Guide for Black History Month. We love the list of books for teens and children. Consider the many titles when preparing reading lists and classroom library orders. A bonus for parents and educators in French Immersion: There are French books, too!
We appreciate this list of resources collected by Facing History and Ourselves’ Canadian Office. Many of the suggested resources are complex and would be best used in high school English Language Arts and Social Studies classrooms. However, they make for a fascinating personal read, too.
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario has shared beautiful posters to celebrate the month along with links of interest. This year’s poster features Black NASA astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison in front of a unique projection of the world map and other symbols, which invite the viewer to pause and ponder. We could see classes practicing visual literacy using the See – Think – Wonder thinking routine to generate discussion about the ideas (and possibilities) conveyed by artist Leone McComas in her work.
The Black History and Anti-racism in Canada page on Manitoba Education’s Diversity Education website made for a fascinating read. Manitoba Education has provided a summary of Black History in Manitoba along with many resources to use in classrooms. The National Film Board has also curated a playlist, Black Communities in Canada: A Rich History, which features films of all lengths for all ages.
Finally, parents and educators may also be interested in a new book from DK Publishers, written by Mireille Harper: Timelines from Black History: Leaders, Legends, Legacies. A Discussion Guide will help educators translate the stories into rich discussions. Another new series comes from Crabtree Publishers. Their Black Stories Matter series would lend itself well to a middle-school study of biography writing. Crabtree also has a series of Black History biographies for the Early Years.
We remind parents and educators that celebrating Black history and amplifying Black communities locally and globally extends far beyond February. Events like Black History Month are necessary and important, but parents and educators must take action year-round to show that Black Lives Matter.
Did you know that the Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg supports community-based literacy initiatives? In addition to our support of Family Literacy Day and the Children's Hospital Foundation during I Love to Read Month, the Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg provides support to organizations who promote literacy and the development of lifelong readers. Here are two organizations we supported recently.
John Howard Society of Manitoba
The John Howard Society of Manitoba’s Literacy Program uses a variety of programs and dedicated volunteers to provide opportunities for incarcerated men to improve their basic literacy skills. Often, missed educational opportunities or negative school experiences can increase the chances of incarceration; therefore, gaining or building upon literacy skills through tutoring and encouragement improves post-incarceration job and education prospects. Research has also shown that inmates who avail themselves of educational opportunities while incarcerated reduce the chances of recidivism.
The program welcomes volunteers, particularly educators, to help deliver its very important services. These services include:
While all programs involving community volunteers are suspended due to COVID-19, the Society looks forward to when restrictions are lifted and will welcome volunteers when they are permitted to re-enter the Remand Centre.
The Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg donated to the John Howard Society of Manitoba's Literacy Program because we believe in their mission and value the work they do in our community to foster literacy among a population that is often overlooked but in great need of literacy support.
You Can't Spoil a Baby
The Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg also supported You Can't Spoil a Baby, a local organization that provides a gift to families in need. The organization's mission is to "reduce child poverty by delivering a baby gift to every expectant Manitoba family in need who applies and qualifies." With RCGW's donation, You Can't Spoil a Baby purchased books from McNally Robinson that value Indigenous perspectives, promote self esteem in children, and encourage biodiversity. See below their Facebook post that highlights the titles selected.
I Love to Read Month is a month-long celebration that is held each year to encourage reading, writing, and sharing in the joy of literacy. This year’s theme is Joyful Reading in a New World. This theme encourages readers to try new book formats and to take part in engaging activities that are adapted to work with our current situation during a pandemic. As such, this theme was also chosen to help inspire and encourage students during these difficult times, to reach out, step up and stay positive!
Please share RCGW's idea calendar with teachers, students and their families. It would make a great addition to your school newsletter. Activities are included for students of all ages to have them explore different ways of engaging with literacy. I hope that both teachers and students will have fun with the suggested activities and that they will challenge the students to learn something new. I also hope that families will be able to share the excitement of reading and writing together.
In addition to the idea calendar, the RCGW will be making a book and monetary donation to the Cancer Care Unit at the Children’s Hospital, so that the staff can continue to update their children’s and teen’s libraries and magazine subscriptions. This provides children, teens, as well as parents with reading materials that are appealing and entertaining, as well as supportive.
The RCGW thanks you for sharing this idea calendar. In doing this, you are helping to empower our students to change the world.
Meetings are open to all members. Please consider attending!
We welcome short book reviews, articles about teaching strategies, and other submissions. Please contact the Editor.