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140 Schoolchildren Attend Unique Literacy Event

Children in Grades one, two and three made television appearances, camped out, and got crafty at Trent University on January 22 -- all in the name of literacy.

Trent University's primary and junior teacher candidates hosted the 140 children from Queen Elizabeth Public School, Queen Mary Public School, Otonabee Valley Public School, and Curve Lake First Nation School at the Children's Literature Storefront event at Gzowski College on Argyle Street. After a dramatic performance of the book The Paper Bag Princess, students broke out into groups for hands-on activities intended to inspire literacy.

Teacher candidates put their classroom learning into practice with activities that saw children puppet-making, story-telling and smiling from ear-to-ear.

"It's so nice to have contact with the children; that's really what we're here for," said Jess Fitchette, teacher candidate.

At the Celebrating Culture storefront, students were read the poem Whoever You Are by Mem Fox. A discussion about why they are special resulted in the creation of a storyboard that they would take back to their classrooms. They also had an opportunity to watch a slideshow - pictures from teacher candidate Mike Mooney's trip to Ghana.

The focus of the storefront, Mr. Mooney explained, was the incorporation of multicultural education into the classroom.

At the Aboriginal Awareness booth, the teacher candidates looked to reinforce oral tradition through storytelling. Each child had a part to play in each of the stories.

"The goal for today is to take all the knowledge we have gained so far and present it in an engaging way," says Kelly Rivett, teacher candidate, adding these types of activities can take the fear out of reading for children.

Organized as part of a Language Arts course assignment, the event was scheduled to complement National Family Literacy Day on January 27.

Posted January 23, 2004

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