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Our Fascinating Journey Through the ‘Forest of Reading’

Our Fascinating Journey Through the ‘Forest of Reading’

“Reading fiction is important. It is a vital means of imagining a life other than our own, which in turn make us empathetic beings.”
– Ann Patchett
“I feel happy when I read new books.” M.B.

“Every time we read a new book I am excited to know what it is about.” S.R.

“I am learning about how sometime authors use their senses when they are writing stories.” J.L.

“Actually when you read more books we learn new words.” N.K.

“When we read books we learn creative language.” E.K.

“When I read books I feel excited and confident.” R.Z.

During the last two weeks, our Grades One students have been profoundly immersed in the fine literature provided by this year’s Forest of Reading. The latter is an initiative of the Ontario Library Association. It is Canada’s largest reading program. It comprises of eight reading sequences that have been developed to encourage a love of reading amongst people of all age groups, as well as, celebrate Canadian books, publishers, authors and illustrators.

The ten new fiction picture books our Grades One and Two students are introduced to fall under the Blue Spruce award program. The texts are written and illustrated by nominated authors and illustrators for the award.

​​During our Read-Aloud sessions, the children are given multiple opportunities to examine each cover page carefully. Prior to reading, they inquire what adventure each book they are about to read will lead them to, by using the ‘I see’, ‘I think’, ‘I wonder’ protocol. During our reading, the children discuss these picture books in an authentic way, by constantly making connections to themselves, the world around them, as well as other texts they have previously read. After the reading, the children reflect on the author’s main purpose for writing, thus understanding that purpose and audience are at the very heart of the writing process.
In some books, our students have realized that a well-presented illustration is sometimes more powerful than words, as it allows their imagination to take over. The students are guided to notice the beautiful imagery and vocabulary authors use to depict their character’s feelings, or create an entertaining element.

“Illustrations can act as  symbols.” L.V.

The language curriculum specifies some of the many characteristics of ‘successful language learners’ as the ability to, “think critically, and to make meaningful connections between themselves, what they encounter in texts, and the world around them.” Our goal as educators is to empower our students with the knowledge and skills they need to be able to make meaning, and to analyze any text with a critical eye.

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