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Le générique du Bulletin
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March/April 2003
Vol. 35, no. 2
ISSN 1492-4676

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Library Staff Share the Wonder of Reading

Their small faces light up when their name is called. Itís their turn to share a book one on one with todayís volunteer.

Since November, staff from the Library have been donating an hour of their time each week to read with kindergarten and Grade one students at Centennial school in downtown Ottawa. They are taking part in OttawaReads, a program offered by the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) that partners schools in the community with local businesses and public sector organizations. Following the lead of National Librarian Roch Carrier, who reads to groups of school children whenever he can fit it into his busy schedule, staff at the Library jumped at the chance to participate in the Early Literacy Program.

Based on their reactions thus far, the experience has exceeded their expectations.

The Volunteers

"The chance to join the OttawaReads program came at a good time for me. Recently, the youngest of my four children, Nicholas, turned 20 and was off to college. Time to set new routines!

The class, or should I say the children, has become a topic of family conversation in our home. We laugh at the antics, and acknowledge the challenges these young children will face. They have become a part of our life story.

Each week, I look forward to my book day, when we read the title and author and open the pages to a new adventure."

Michelle Landriault volunteers in Linda Lecourtís Junior Kindergarten class

"Since January, the highlight of my week has been the hour I spend with students from Mary Ellin Wilsonís Grade 1 class. Some of the children are already able to read an entire book with little or no help from me, while others need a little more assistance. Listening to them as they turn the pages of the brightly illustrated books takes me back to my childhood and the many happy hours I whiled away reading. When the hour is up, I am not always sure who has benefited the most  -  the students or me!"

Rebecca Grace

"I remember the pride of reading my first book  --  all by myself. Reading has since become not just a hobby for me but an obsession. I hope that I can transmit the excitement of reading to these kids, not yet old enough to read on their own. Iím rewarded when I see a spark that wasnít there beforeÖ"

Linda Sigouin volunteers in Linda Lecourtís Junior Kindergarten class

"I have always enjoyed reading. When my children were young, I tried to instill in them the love of reading. Today, we all enjoy reading and are always swapping books. When I heard about this volunteer program, I got very excited. I couldn't see myself NOT agreeing to participate. I have thoroughly enjoyed all the children at Centennial School. They really seem interested and eager to read and learn. They make me smile!"

Lyne Edmonds volunteers in Mary Ellen Wilsonís Grade 1 class

"I volunteered with OttawaReads to share my love of reading and learning. Each child in Mary Ellen Wilson's Grade 1 class is going through the marvelous process of becoming a reader. It's a real privilege to be able to witness and be part of that process."

Karen Krzyzewski (also known as the Story Lady)

"Volunteering with OttawaReads is enriching on so many levels: it has introduced me to a wonderful bunch of kids and to a really great selection of titles that have been released since my own daughter was at that stage, and it feels good to be contributing. It's the best hour of the week!"

Liz Morton volunteers in Mrs. Lecourt's junior kindergarten class

From a Teacher

"It's a wonderful experienceÖThe children know when someone is coming and they eagerly look forward to that time...The program has made a difference. While Room 17 has children who are read-to at home, we also have children who only receive this experience inside the classroom."

Linda Lecourt, junior kindergarten teacher, Centennial Public School

From the Organizer

"This is an amazing program that in a few short months has met with incredible support from both the private and public sector. We are delighted that the National Library has taken a leading role."

Sheila Jenkins, OttawaReads Program Coordinator

The importance of literacy, both to the individual child and to Canadian society as a whole, cannot be over emphasized. In todayís high-tech world of self-service and rapid transmission of information, basic reading skills are needed more than ever. Programs such as OttawaReads provide each of us with the opportunity to help children not only acquire the tools to function in our world of words, but to unlock their imaginations and set them free to discover and create new worlds of their own.

If you or your organization are interested in participating in the OttawaReads program, you can find more details about the initiative on the OCRI Web site at www.ocri.ca/ottawareads.html.