Students encouraged to read through positive mentors

Premier Alison Redford was to be special guest, unable to appear

  • Feb. 20, 2013 3:59 p.m.

A celebration of literacy saw 700 Grade 3 students from across Red Deer Public Schools converge at Red Deer College yesterday to participate in a variety of activities that will motivate them to read.

Premier Alison Redford was supposed to be the special guest at the event but her plane was unable to land at the Red Deer Regional Airport due to weather conditions, so at the last minute, officials called upon Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski to fill in during the event.

Jablonski had the opportunity to read to the students and participate in some of the activities in the afternoon as well.

The day centered on the book The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce. In addition to the reading by Jablonski, students rotated through three different activities based on the book including a science experiment figuring out how to make a book fly, reader’s theatre where children performed for each other and re-told the story of the book. Students also played a game like Jeopardy after watching the short film version about the book. Redford also participated in the activities as well.

These activities were led by third and fourth year students from the University of Alberta/Red Deer College Middle Years Collaborative Bachelor of Education Program.

With literacy one of the three key priorities for Red Deer Public Schools, this event provides a powerful opportunity to promote interest in reading to our students, said Jean Cobb, principal at West Park Elementary School, who planned the event and began talks with the premier’s office nearly a year ago in hopes that Redford would attend the event.

However, on Tuesday, due to fog, Redford’s plane was unable to land forcing her to miss the event.

Meanwhile, the project is also connected to and is supported by the district’s 125th Anniversary Celebrations.

“I think literacy is what it’s about and I think the more we have people who demonstrate that belief, the more our children will believe in that,” said Cobb. “Literacy in is every part of our lives whether you’re writing a grocery list, or you’re reading directions. There are very few things that don’t require some type of reading and writing process. Almost every thing in our world requires some form of literary skill.”

Literacy 101 is sponsored by the Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools while Red Deer College has taken on an important role in hosting the event, said Cobb.

“We wanted students to have an amazing day that would motivate and encourage them to love reading,” she said. “We are thrilled to be at Red Deer College and that the premier will be part of our special day and provide an important message on the adventures and discoveries available to students through reading.