It was a mutually beneficial event – 13 grannies reading to more than 50 classes of students at 13 schools. This picture shows you how we were thanked by the students. We read to groups from pre-kindergarten to grade nine and everyone had a good time.
The Edmonton School Boards promote Read In Week every fall and encourage representatives from the community to come in and read to classes of students. This year the theme for the Edmonton Public School Board was ‘Read the World’ which we felt was perfect for us. We have been reading in schools for several years now – it connects us with the grandchildren in our community and provides an opportunity for us to share the work we do. Several schools over the years have partnered with us and done special projects to raise money for the children and grandmothers in Africa through the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
We contact the schools through a member who works at the School Board, through our many connections, and through our grandchildren and the schools they attend. The books we use are from our GANG library, the public library and our personal collections. We try to ensure that the books we use have a connection to the African continent.
After we have made some connections, we have a ‘how to’ session for those who are going out to read. This gives us an opportunity to ensure that the message we deliver is consistent and helps to make everyone more comfortable with reading to the students. We sign up for the schools and books we want, find our teammates and generally share in the excitement of this project.
Grandmas at the read in kickoff event where we met the Minister of Education,
the Chair of the School Board, the Mayor and others.
We were presented with several copies of the theme book, For Every Child, which expressed the UN rights of the child in words and pictures. It was a great book to highlight the differences between living in Canada and living in other countries where children don’t have what we have. In many of the classes we had children from many different countries, so the questions and comments were very rich.
Each class was different – sometimes we just read one book and moved on, and in others we had a full 45 minutes with the class. In one class we had an interpreter for the deaf. In many classes there were aides to be with children with special needs.
We make a point of sending a thank you to the schools and we follow up with an invitation to learn more about us.
This year our plan is to provide a soup lunch for the teachers at the school along with a presentation about the work of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Our hope is that several of the schools will accept our invitation and develop a project to help raise funds.