On September 25, John Oliver Secondary hosted its Wonder of Reading Literacy Project, a massive literacy pep rally and reading extravaganza. More than one thousand secondary and elementary school students and community members took part in drama presentations, interactive games and readings and musical and digital adaptations of children's literature. The event also hosted literacy workshops for parents.
The interactive event featured aboriginal community partners, authors, educators, and literacy specialists in a fun-filled and exciting set of activities designed to inject wonder and enthusiasm for reading into the vibrant and diverse Sunset community.
The project was part of a multi-faceted, long-term literacy plan involving more than two-dozen community partners. The goal of the project is to support and extend the early literacy initiatives undertaken by partner elementary educators as their students make the important transition to secondary school, and to promote lifelong engagement with reading for students, their families, and by extension, the community at large.
"I can't think of anything better to celebrate than reading!" said Patti Bacchus, Chairperson of the VSB. "It's so wonderful to see so much excitement about literacy."
The morning celebration also included a theatrical tug of war between elementary students (representing literary villains) and a surprise opposing team of Vancouver's finest - the VPD. A highlight was a game-show style "battle of the books" between enthusiastic elementary readers who spent their summer preparing for the literacy challenge.
Wednesday's event will be followed by future-oriented components of the project, which include ongoing relationships between John Oliver students and the Sunset elementary schools, parents, and community members, to promote and support the many lifelong benefits of establishing strong reading programs and practices early in life.
More than 10,000 children's books, which will be made available in each Sunset elementary school for children to borrow freely, have already been generously donated to the project. John Oliver students and staff are currently building the accompanying bookshelves, which are designed after the quaint Victorian houses that can still be found in many Vancouver neighbourhoods.
To learn more about the Wonder of Reading Literacy Project go to www.wonderofreading.ca.