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Sounding out the Syllables to Four-Legged Volunteers

by Katie R - 1 Comment(s)

Story PALs is a library program that aims to help children improve their reading skills. In 6-week sessions, struggling readers ages 6-12 are paired off with a trained dog from The Pet Access League Society (PALS), under the supervision of the dog’s handler, for one-on-one reading sessions. PALS has highly socialized and trained dogs used in other programs such as visiting kids at hospitals and visiting nursing homes.

Children who struggle with reading often have a difficult time reading aloud in front of fellow children and adults. During their interaction with the dogs, the children forget these barriers. The dogs provide a calm and accepting environment for them. As a result, the children can read aloud without the fear of judgment or disruptions. This type of program has several positive effects which include providing an opportunity for children to increase their reading level while also improving their self-confidence. Says one parent:

After the third week, I was amazed by how much my son's reading had improved! He would not read out loud at home or in class before he came but is doing so now.”

A staff member also noticed changes in another reader: “One boy arrived reluctantly on the first day with his mother who was insisting that he at least try it. On his second visit he came running in through the doors to tell me he was here and was very excited to read to the same dog he had the previous week. He had made a quick bond with a large black lab and the volunteer. This boy was a struggling reader in Grade 5 and this program made an obvious difference to his attitude and reading.”

This program provides a relaxed atmosphere for children who would otherwise feel nervous and apprehensive about reading aloud and as a result, it gives them an opportunity to fall in love with reading. It is a remarkable experience for all involved — the parents, volunteers, dogs, and especially, the children.

Books to Share and Savour

by Betsy - 0 Comment(s)

There are a few new titles in our collection with a wonderful whimsy that makes them worth sharing, whether with your children, your classroom, or a child who may be having an upcoming birthday.

For Preschoolers

Love MonsterThe first title in Rachel Bright's new picture book series introduces us to an admittedly funny looking monster. Love Monster knows that he isn't the best-looking guy in the world, but he's determined to find someone who will love him. Adults will know that this doesn't work, and will appreciate that he's reading all the wrong self-help books, looking in the wrong places (up, down, the pond), yet, as one can always hope, just when one is about ready to give up, love is around the corner. There will be two more titles in a series intended for preschoolers and anyone reading to or with them.

 

For Kids 8–12

Snicker of MagicNatalie Lloyd's debut introduces readers to Felicity Pickle in A Snicker of Magic. The Pickles have always moved from place to place, as Felicity's mother has never been comfortable staying anywhere; it isn't until the Pickles get to Midnight Gulch, Tennessee, a town that had once been known for its magic, that Felicity finds herself longing to create a home for her family. Felicity herself has a touch of magic in her ability to see words emanating from people, which she then collects. Felicity meets her first real friend Jonah, who has a kind of magic of his own. Felicity sets out to discover what happened to Midnight Gulch's magic and whether she can, perhaps, bring it back, along with some security to her own family.

The denizens of this wonderful place are all as novel as you would expect in a place where ice cream has mystical properties, and the hair stylists are also mechanics. Felicity's appreciation of and use of language add to the book, and the extra tales, curse, and backstories will provide a treat for readers aged 8-12 who enjoys stories about language, families, and clever settings, along with a happy ending.

2014 Volunteer Recognition Event

by Katie R - 0 Comment(s)

On April 11, 2014 we held our annual Volunteer Recognition Event at the Central Library. Over 500 volunteers, guests and staff attended this year and enjoyed an awards ceremony and reception with food, cupcakes, and music. This special evening celebrates the amazing contribution Calgary Public Library volunteers make to library programs.

This year we also celebrated 40 years of our Homebound Readers volunteer program! Congratulations to our own "Famous Five" — Carolyn Arrell, Nellie Befus, Phyllis Gale, Norma High, and Becky Lathrop have been volunteering with the program since its inception 40 years ago.

Thanks to everyone that helped make it a fantastic night, and thanks to all Calgary Public Library volunteers!

 

Getting Started in the Garden

by Stephen - 1 Comment(s)

This year I’ve decided to get serious about gardening. Usually I just plant a random assortment of nice looking flowers and then pretend that the results were intentional. Most years those results are... unfortunate. So before I break ground I’ll be spending the month of May educating myself with some of the useful resources the Calgary Public Library has to offer.

Before I even check out a book, I’m going to head to the E-Library’s Gale Courses to enroll in one of their many instructor-led online courses called Start Your Own Edible Garden. This course focuses on selecting climate-appropriate crops and cultivating them in a garden which suits my available time, amount of sunshine and vegetable needs.

The first book I’ll be borrowing is Jim Fox’s How to Buy the Right Plants, Tools & Garden Supplies. This book helps readers navigate the garden store, ensuring that you buy quality tools and the right-sized plants while offering advice about where to start when you get all that stuff home.

I live in a small house wiPlantifulth very limited garden space, so thankfully there’s Urban Gardening for Dummies which provides a comprehensive guide to growing plants in the tightest of living conditions. Whether it’s on your rooftop, your balcony, or your windowsill this guide will help you make the best use of the space you have. It also includes tips on gardening in basement apartments!

Finally, I want to make sure that the plants I buy will survive our umm…. very unique… Canadian weather so I’ll make sure to check out both the Canadian Encyclopedia of Gardening and the Great Canadian Plant Guide before I plant anything in the garden. I wonder which plants like hail?

To keep myself inspired I’ll also be checking out Jane Goodall’s Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants. In this volume Goodall travels the planet to explore the critical role plants play in both our survival and that of the natural world as a whole. She also pays a visit to the Millennium Seed Bank which contains over a billion seeds!

If after all of this my garden ends up well… like it usually does, I can always pay a visit to one of the many community gardens in the city, including those found at the Forest Lawn and Southwood libraries!