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!
The Manitoba Reading Association and The Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg are teaming up to honor educators. The hard work of educators needs to be celebrated. Read on to learn how to nominate a Literacy Leader near you.
Manitoba Reading Association
The Manitoba Reading Association would like to honour those who support literacy initiatives across the province. Perhaps you know an administrator that has gone the extra mile to support literacy within your school or division. Or maybe you know a community member who volunteers their time to implement literacy initiatives in your area. Please see the following PDF files on how to nominate a literacy leader in Manitoba. Nominations are due April 28th, 2023.
Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg (RCGW)
The RCGW would like to celebrate all the teachers and community leaders who have advanced literacy throughout our province. Is there someone in your school division or community who deserves to be recognized for their outstanding work in the field of literacy? Perhaps you know a teacher who has done some remarkable things in the areas of classroom teaching, teacher education, or research. Maybe you’re aware of a member of the RCGW who is retiring or moving away from Manitoba who should be honoured for their accomplishments here, or a community member who has raised awareness about the importance of reading. You may work with or know about a colleague who has made significant literary contributions at the local or provincial level. We would love to help you honour these individuals with our Annual Awards Evening! Please see the following PDF poster and fill-in form on how to nominate the teacher or community member you think should be recognized. Nominations are due April 28th, 2023.
“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 “Stories Connect Us: We Are More Alike Than Different”. This theme is meant to help readers feel connected to the world around them through the sharing of stories. We can all develop a deeper understanding of different perspectives by sharing our own stories and by listening to others’ stories.
On behalf of the Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg, I have prepared the attached idea calendar. The RCGW is a group of dedicated educators who meet monthly to share and work to promote knowledge and awareness of lifelong literacy and learning. Please share the 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 with teachers and families. By doing so, you are helping to empower our students to change the world.
Representative of the I Love to Read Committee
Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg
Resurgence: Engaging with Indigenous Narratives & Cultural Expressions, In and Beyond the Classroom
Wednesday, February 8, 2023, from 5–7 p.m. on Zoom
RCGW Members: Join us for a free interactive workshop with the creators of Resurgence, a new Indigenous resource. Through critical engagement with Indigenous works, Christine M'Lot & Katya Adamov Ferguson will support participants in connecting with Indigenous narratives and perspectives, bringing Indigenous works into the classroom, and creating more equitable and sustainable teaching practices.
To register, please email email@example.com.
The Zoom link will be shared with registered participants a day in advance.
If you know someone who would like to attend who is not yet an RCGW member, it's not too late to join! Have them email firstname.lastname@example.org. Membership fees are $20.00.
The Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg is pleased to continue to offer scholarships to Bachelor of Education students in Manitoba. This year, up to four scholarships of $1,000 are available. Information about how to apply is below. Deadline to apply: April 6, 2023.
Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg Members can access the PD Incentive Fund to help support costs associated with professional learning. The write-up below is Leslie Dickson's reflection of her learning after receiving support to attend an event. Members can apply for up to $500 to support professional learning. Application forms coming soon.
WRITTEN BY LESLIE DICKSON
For those of us who needed to transition from vacation to school mode, the Pembina Escarpment Reading Council's event Engaging Literacy Practices for Middle and Senior Years on August 30, 2022, in Carmen, MB, provided that opportunity. The day highlighted the daily practices of four dynamic teacher experts in literacy practices. It was filled with practical strategies to engage pre-teens and teens in reading and self-discovery.
Lori Emilson – A Picture Book Taught Me This
Lori, a newly-retired Literacy and Curriculum Support Teacher, guided participants through Lakeshore School Division’s “Book-a-Day” program. This program encourages teachers to read a quality picture book everyday to their students, to build diversity in libraries, and for students to read four new books every month. Lori highlighted favourite picture books that demonstrate diversity, teach theme, and illustrate beautiful language to students of all ages.
Tara McLauchlin – What to Read Next: A Guide for Diversifying the SY and MY Canon
Tara, a Literacy Coach in the St. James-Assiniboia School Division, advocated the use of choice reading in the English Language Arts classroom and adding diverse texts in both classroom libraries and teaching texts. Using an “if you like that, then you’ll love this” format, Tara shared ideas to supplement those “die hard” core texts that have traditionally been taught in ELA. She shared current books and graphic novels that pair nicely with the classics to add diversity and student voice in the class. Tara recommended two professional reads: the article "Got Diverse Texts? Now What?" by Dr. Tiffany M. Nyachae and the book Literacy is Liberation by Dr. Kimberly N. Parker.
Ellen Bees and Stacey Bradley – Engaging Students in Literacy
Ellen, a Middle Years Teacher, and Stacey, a high school Continuous Improvement Coach and teacher-librarian, both demonstrated their passion for literacy and shared a plethora of book titles. They also highlighted classroom strategies to engage students in literacy across all content areas. These strategies include selective varied texts, offering thematic book clubs, and using technology in the classroom to access podcasts, audio and digital books. Ellen and Stacey recommended several picture books, including I Sang You Down from the Stars by Tasha Spillett-Sumner (ill. by Michaele Goade), Pluto Gets the Call by Adam Rex (ill. by Laurie Keller), and If I Go Missing by Brianna Jonnie and Nahanni Shingoose.
About the Author – Leslie Dickson is in her 19th year of teaching Middle and Senior Years English Language Arts and Social Studies with the Winnipeg School Division. She is currently working in a teacher support role. She spends her time with her dogs, reading, watching movies, traveling, and spending time outside. She is also a Past President of the Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg.
Members of the Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg are eligible for the member rates for the following professional development opportunities, hosted by our partner councils.
Kari Yates – Shifting the Balance
Manitoba Council of Reading Clinicians is pleased to host author Kari Yates on the topic of the Science of Reading. Yates recently co-authored Shifting the Balance: 6 Ways to bring the Science of Reading into a Balanced Literacy Classroom with Dr. Jan Burkins. Yates joins us via Zoom to look closely at the research, re-evaluate current practices, and embrace new possibilities. The event will be held January 19, 2023, 8:45-3:45, at the Norwood Hotel in Winnipeg.
MCRC is so excited to bring colleagues passionate about literacy together once again to investigate this important topic. Publishers will be on-site to share the most up-to-date resources and programs available to support our work. Early Bird Registration is only $100 and ends of December 22, 2023 so don’t delay – register today at www.mcrc-online.ca.
Cris Tovani – Removing the Masks of Disengagement
The Manitoba Reading Association is pleased to announce that Cris Tovani is coming to Winnipeg in 2023! The best reading strategy in the world won't work if students are disengaged. Now, more than ever before, students want authentic reasons to read, write, and discuss. Cris Tovani shares planning structures and literacy strategies that will help teachers anticipate and remove learning roadblocks.
The in-person registration rate is $150, with a virtual option for $100. The event will be held at the Victoria Inn Winnipeg on April 21, 2023, from 9:00-3:30. Coffee, snacks, and lunch are included. Registration is open now! Click here to register!
The Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg, a Special Area Group of Educators of the Manitoba Teachers' Society, proudly presents Donalyn Miller as part of MTS PD Day on October 21, 2022. Learn more below.
Why Join RCGW?
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Notice of Annual General Meeting
The Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg's annual general meeting will follow the MTS PD Day event, Friday, October 21, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. at Canad Inns Fort Garry, and we invite all members to participate. Learn how you can get involved and volunteer with RCGW by hearing about our impact and electing the Executive. The reviewed financial statements will also be presented for consideration. The agenda will be shared in advance with current members.
It is with great sadness that the Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg learned that Past President Dr. Zakaluk, Professor Emerita, passed away on May 17, 2022. Bev was an inspiration to many people in Manitoba. She was a very devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. We are very sorry for the family’s loss.
Bev faced the inevitable challenges in life with grace, dignity, and hard work. She obtained her first three degrees, B.A. B. Ed., and her M.Ed., from the University of Manitoba. Bev loved teaching and completed her training at The Provincial Normal School in 1951. She first taught as an elementary classroom teacher in Bisset, Manitoba. There she met a middle school educator who was to become her devoted husband, Bernard Zakaluk. She later taught at Woodhaven Elementary School. After completing her master’s degree in education, Bev became a Reading Clinician at the Child Guidance Clinic in Winnipeg School Division, where she worked in multiple schools.
Dr. Zakaluk later completed her doctorate at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Bev was a doctoral student of Dr. Jay Samuels, and together they published a helpful book called Readability: Its Past, Present, and Future. For years, their book was often quoted in the literature. Later in her career, Dr. Zakaluk self-published Family Literacy Programs: The Bookmates Experience. She also had several articles published about her other initiatives as a contributor to Reading Manitoba, the former journal of the Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg, as well as other journals.
Manitobans were very happy that Dr. Zakaluk returned to Manitoba after her doctoral studies. For over 25 years, she taught many university courses at all levels, including certification, post-baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral courses. Many teachers and reading clinicians speak very positively of Bev as an insightful mentor and supportive academic advisor. As a professor, she was demanding and rigorous. She also knew how to inspire and patiently nurture emerging potential. As a colleague, Bev modelled collaboration as she engaged in school-based research and numerous projects with other professors and school personnel. Upon her retirement, Dr. Zakaluk was honoured by being designated as Professor Emerita by the University of Manitoba.
Dr. Zakaluk strongly recommended that her students join the International Reading Association (which later became the International Literacy Association). She urged students to read the journals and maximize the use of teaching and learning resources published by the IRA. She encouraged attendance at the annual IRA conferences and took great pleasure in introducing her graduate students to the distinguished international literacy leaders who came to speak in Manitoba.
Bev was a role model as a Manitoba literacy leader, becoming president of the local council of the IRA, the Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg. She planned enriching professional learning sessions and conferences with her teams. Bev was an innovative person who began the development of “I Love to Read Day” in the eighties. Her vision expanded with many projects in Manitoba. Her idea of “I Love to Read Day” eventually led to the annual, provincial celebration of a whole month of literacy activities in February. Bev was deeply honoured to become a lifetime member of the RCGW.
Bev joined the Manitoba Council of Reading Clinicians (MCRC) and continued to teach graduate courses to prepare reading clinicians for service in Manitoba. She also mentored clinicians in the field to develop a rich repertoire of assessment tools and encouraged creative programming linked to Manitoba curricula. She urged new clinicians to be active in the MCRC’s activities and she attended as often as she could. She became an Honourary Life Member of MCRC and delighted in attending council events well into her eighties.
Dr. Zakaluk was a firm believer in the power of parental involvement in literacy development. In 1984, she was one of the founders of Bookmates, Inc., which continues as a not-for-profit organization in Winnipeg. She maintained her devotion to the Bookmates’ mission to inspire families and communities to grow together through the shared joy of literacy learning. Bev remained an avid promoter of public libraries for families. Later in her career, she wrote a book, Family Literacy Programs: The Bookmates Experience to make the larger community aware of the importance of Winnipeg’s model parental involvement program to enhance literacy.
Over the decades, Bev was acknowledged for her many contributions and became an award-winning educator. She was honoured for her indefatigable dedication to education and literacy by many organizations. Her well-deserved, prestigious awards include the Lieutenant-Governor's Medal for Literacy; the YMCA-YWCA 2002 Women of Distinction Award for Education, Training, and Development; the Dr. and Mrs. H. H. Saunderson Award for excellence in teaching and later the Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching; the UMFA Faculty of Education Merit Award; and the University of Manitoba Outreach Award.
Bev’s devoted leadership and service to our community was also recognized nationally and internationally. She was awarded a national volunteer award for Canadian educators, the International Reading Association Celebrate Literacy Award, and a Certificate of Merit from the Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg. As a member of Manitoba Reading Association, she continued to follow the literacy initiatives of each of the reading councils with enthusiasm.
We are truly grateful for the vision, dedication, inspiration, emotional and academic support that Dr. Zakaluk demonstrated in her long and meaningful life, as a distinguished Manitoba educator, reading clinician and professor. She will be deeply missed by many former students and colleagues. May Bev’s memory continue to inspire her family, colleagues, friends, and former students. We are grateful for her years of dedication to the development of literacy at all levels in Manitoba. She truly enhanced the literacy landscape of our province in all her endeavours.
This tribute was also published on the MCRC website. Please also see Dr. Zakaluk's obituary.
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.