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!
Written by Jon Sorokowski and Carol Hryniuk-Adamov
February has long been recognized in Manitoba as I Love to Read Month under the leadership of the province’s reading councils. For several decades, the Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg and the Manitoba Reading Association have promoted this month-long celebration of reading in response to the International Reading Association’s call in the early 1980s to host events in February to foster a love of reading.
RCGW’s president Dr. Bev Zakaluk established the province’s first I Love to Read Day in February 1980. In 1984, the Honourable Pearl McGonigal, Manitoba’s first female lieutenant governor, invited Grade 3 students from Birds’ Hill School to share stories and enjoy refreshments in the Manitoba Legislative Building’s Blue Room. The Lieutenant Governor presented them with a book bound in red velvet containing stories the students had written. “I will never forget that day we spent with Her Honour,” one student shared. “I think she liked us as much as we liked her!”
The mid-80s saw RCGW join forces with the Winnipeg Public Library and Manitoba School Library and Audio-Visual Association (now the Manitoba School Library Association) to host exciting community events at the Eaton Place Mall and Centennial Library. The collaborative events, held yearly between 1987 and 1989, were opened by local dignitaries and welcomed hundreds of children, parents, teachers and librarians who participated in reading activities and enjoyed the wonderful entertainment.
The vibrant energy of I Love to Read Month continued to rise in the early 90s. RCGW published its first I Love to Read Month Idea Calendar to coincide with the International Year of Literacy in 1990. RCGW also hosted Manitoba’s Biggest Read-In at The Forks, where 300 students participated in person and over 10,000 students participated in their own communities. In 1991, Polo Park Mall hosted a very festive I Love to Read Day. The entire shopping centre was decorated, with over 1,400 children and their family members taking part in the celebration’s many activities and workshops.
The Province of Manitoba has recognized or proclaimed February as I Love to Read Month for many years. In 1997, the Honourable Premier Gary Filmon launched the Premier’s Reading Recognition Certificate, encouraging children in Grades 2 and 3 to set a goal to increase how much they would read. Many education ministers have since taken time in February to acknowledge the importance of literacy and highlight special events.
Over the years, RCGW also has coordinated outreach campaigns to promote the love of reading. One year, RCGW invited educators to order special I Love to Read Month buttons, while another year the committee launched a bus shelter poster campaign to promote the importance of reading with loved ones. More recently, RCGW has donated books to the Children’s Hospital Cancer Care Unit so that children and youth have access to affirming and inspiring books during their stay at the hospital.
Today, many educators honour I Love to Read Month by hosting celebrations of literacy and welcoming guest readers into their classrooms. It is common to spot local celebrities — including Winnipeg Jets players and radio station hosts — reading their favourite picture books to young children in classrooms throughout the month of February. The Manitoba Reading Association has a committee that takes the lead on selecting a yearly theme to focus I Love to Read Month efforts, while the Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg continues to produce its very popular annual idea calendar. Many schools build on these ideas and host their own book drives and special events.
Through these continued efforts, dynamic partnerships, and the ongoing dedication of thousands of educators across Manitoba, I Love to Read Month will continue to advance the Manitoba Reading Association’s vision of “Every Manitoban a Literate Manitoban” and nurture in all readers a lifelong love of reading.
This year's I Love to Read Month theme is Moving Forward with Hope.
Share the Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg's Idea Calendar today!
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.