Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Board Orientation Retreat

The new Action Read board that was elected at the September Annual General Meeting recently came together for an orientation retreat. We got to know one another, shared some great stories, got creative and learned all about the roles and responsibilities of the board.
We had a very productive day, filled with valuable information and open conversations, and we had a few laughs too! We also enjoyed a delicious vegetarian lunch from 'With the Grain'.  

I’m so excited to work with this dynamic group of individuals who are going the extra mile to serve this 'small but mighty' organization!  ~ Mira Clarke, Executive Director

Left to Right - Jeff Guitard, Cindy Garland, Leah Sadler, Colleen Harper, Joyce Allen, Courtney Townsend, Vanessa Morton, Cheryl Turner, James Gray.  Missing John Dack and Paul Mesman

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Dispatches from "Coming from the Heart"

Boozhoo (warm hello)! This group, led by long-time Action Read staff member and elder Jan Sherman, explores creative writing through a First Nations, Metis, and Inuit perspective.

Since returning from the summer break, this devoted group of learners has explored a number of writing topics.  They have responded to quotes from a traditional perspective based on spirit, heart, body, and mind; have written about traditional to contemporary Indigenous music; have written about what a Territorial Acknowledgment means to them and have written responses to other people’s writing from River Bundles a local publication.  They have even done some nature based creative writing exercises (e.g. what kind of tree you would be and why!). Members continue to show greater understanding of their uniqueness as learners at every session.

Jan Sherman discussing the medicine wheel with learners
The group has also explored Anna Bowen’s writing about the land we live on, and spoke to Anna directly when she lead a special class. 

There is so much to cover in this group, and the energy and passion of the learners continue to drive it forward!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Diversity Workshops

In the spring 2018, with the support of the Guelph Community Foundation, Action Read held a series of workshops to celebrate diversity, and to create a comfortable and inspiring context in which to share ideas and experiences around issues of identity, culture, and abilities. Our Project Coordinator Dawn Matheson brought her own unique perspective and considerable experience to the project.  She immediately identified the need to
approach each workshop through a “kind and compassionate” lens. Seemingly a small thing, it set a very
positive and non-judgmental tone to the project, which served to encourage participation and engagement.

We held 6 very well attended, highly engaging workshops. The project created new learning partnerships, built new community connections and created a sense of belonging. Workshop topics included spoken word poetry writing and performance, film, advocacy letter writing, music as therapy and community drumming.

Approximately 40 learners participated in the project and all of them agreed that the learning activities were valuable and enriching.

Huge thanks to the Guelph Community Foundation for their support of this special project!

"Music for Community Building" with Gary Diggins
Action Read staff member Laine

Noah Irvine "Mental Health and Addiction. Getting Your Voice Heard" 

"Poetry Potluck" with Kevin Sutton 

"Transported" Workshop with Dawn Matheson

Here are a few comments about what people appreciated about the workshops;

·          “The amazing pleasure of trying something I honestly felt I had no “feeling” for or about”

·         “The talk about the Syrian and Kenyan Refugees and their stories about their immigration to Canada”

·         “The writing round to the poem in a group of four or three.”

·         “The inclusivity and open-mindedness.”

·         “Interesting stories, all unpredictable and sweet. Gained knowledge about others.”

·          “Seeing everyone drum together was awesome!  It was easy for everyone to participate. And it was so fun!”

·          “I like the sharing that went around in the room. Also the fact it doesn’t matter where we are from, there is community.”

·       "We had a lot of fun and laughter"

       "We created community!"

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Board Breakfast

Members of the Board and staff met for a delicious breakfast at Angels Diner, to say good-bye to our Board Chair Michael Brodzikowski. We really appreciate the diligence and focus Mike provided to the Board, not to mention his gentle approach and upbeat attitude. We know that Mike will go on to great things in his engineering career, and wish him every success!

Board Staff Breakfast at Angels Diner

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Northstar is Here!

Recently, Action Read learned that Rotary-Trillium would support us in becoming a brand
new site for the Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment program. We are one of only a few
in Canada, and so far the interest has been excellent. In only a few short weeks, we have
promoted the program extensively in the community through presentations and
meetings.  Uptake has been very strong - there is obviously a real need for basic
computer instruction that offers certificates for job seekers. Huge thanks to Rotary
Trillium for their support.  And give us a call at 519-836-2759 if you want more 
Northstar learners showing off their certificates!  Source: Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment Program

Monday, November 27, 2017

Learning about Dyslexia

Last Wednesday Action Read tutor Mel Stronach, with the assistance of her learning partner Colleen Harper, gave a fantastic workshop on working with dyslexia.  Mel is a high school teacher who also recently trained on the Orton-Gillingham method for teaching literacy to individuals with dyslexia.
Mel’s presentation was riveting! She and Colleen shared lots of hands on practical examples, reflections, and experiences.  Mel went over the role of grapheme / phoneme correspondences, spelling strategies, auditory, kinesthetic and visual strategies, suffixes, etymology and much more in the workshop. Fortunately, she created a binder filled with strategies and ideas for other to use if they were unable to make it out.  Speak to staff if you’d like to check it out.
Mel and Colleen sharing their wisdom!
Multi-sensory resources that Mel and Colleen use in their learning sessions.
Listening closely

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Aboriginal Writing Group Poem

Action Read's Aboriginal Writing Group meets weekly to work on reading and writing skills, and to make connections to indigenous worldviews and principles. These include the importance of balance, storytelling and community; the significance of elders, respect for traditional knowledge and connection to the land; the importance of silence and listening, experiential learning and mentorship, and much more. The group also learns about the seven grandfather teachings and honouring and connecting learning to the different aspects of the medicine wheel - intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual.
Informed by this approach to learning, the following poem was created by the group in observation and celebration of the beauty and colour of the changing seasons. We hope you enjoy the vivid images and feelings they create!

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