Okanagan Falls Elementary students and staff wish to extend their gratitude and appreciation to the Penticton Writers and Publishers Club for the inspirational gift of literacy experienced through the Raise a Reader program 2011.
On Sept. 20, Yasmin John-Thorpe, founder of the Penticton Writer’s and Publisher’s Club of Penticton, was kind enough to arrange for three talented children’s authors to visit Okanagan Falls Elementary School and share the gift of literacy. Students from Kindergarten to Grade 7 were invited to share in interactive literacy workshops highlighting the advantages and pleasures of a being life-long readers and writers.
Three sessions involved early primary K-2, grades 3-4 and grades 5-7. Tina Powell shared her delightful story about Sandwiches with grades K-2 complete with props and dynamic special effects. Celeste Cantena presented her novel entitled Undefeated to grades 3, 4, and 5 with a message of believing in yourself and persevering with your dreams regardless of the obstacles. Author Rie Charles also facilitated a discussion and Q&A session based on her story No More Dragons to grades 6 and 7 focusing on bullying, intimidation and the need to develop confidence to face your own dragons.
All three authors were delightful presenting their books, sharing the passion and message behind their books, offering lessons about their writing/publishing journey and entertaining students with captivating and engaging presentations. One of the most thoughtful and authentic moments involved the giving of a book to each and every student. The authors were kind enough to autograph and present each book as a gift, all for no cost.
OK Falls student remarks included: “Reading is the magic our brains can do,” “This new book is for me and I will keep it forever,” “Books are friends, they make me happy, and I read my new one to my cat every night.” As principal, teacher and lifelong learner, I sincerely appreciate the gift of literacy and difference Raise a Reader is doing to help engage our learners in literacy by giving them a book they can enjoy at school and home.
Research shows parents who read to their children give them a significant advantage and support in developing phonological awareness, sight words, early reading skills and an affinity to read throughout life.
Raise a Reader realizes it takes a community to raise a child and their contributions are relevant examples of their commitment to education for our aspiring young learners.
Yasmin John-Thorpe and local authors — your dedication, efforts and passion for the RAR program go beyond words of recognition. Thank you for enriching our lives by building a more literate society and captivating our young minds with the joy of reading.
Lisa McCall, principal
Okanagan Falls Elementary School