Promoting literacy in the North


Marny Twigge of the Hay River Centennial Library is encouraging local residents to participate in NWT Literacy Week.
— Myles Dolphin/NNSL photo

NWT Centennial Library and Hay River schools have organized a slew of activities to celebrate NWT Literacy Week 2012 set for Sept. 23-29. This year’s theme – ‘Lifelong Learning: It’s a trip!’ – ties in with Yellowknifer Lachlan MacLean’s car rally adventure from England to Mongolia this past summer, in which he raised funds for youth literacy in the NWT.

Travel itself is a great learning opportunity, but so is our everyday life no matter where we are on life’s journey,” said Helen Balanoff, the NWT Literacy Council’s executive director, in a statement.

Activities at the Hay River public library include another edition of the Armchair Traveller series on Sept. 27. It will be hosted by Nancy Makepeace as she shares her experiences biking on the Baltic coast.

Literacy is incredibly important. It doesn’t stop with reading and writing,” said Marny Twigge, event co-ordinator at the library. “You can also come to the Armchair Traveller series and listen, and perhaps discuss afterwards. Literacy is much broader than what most people think it is.”

Princess Alexandra School and Diamond Jenness Secondary School also have an assortment of activities planned.

On Sept. 26 at 10:30 a.m., all students will drop everything and read for 15 minutes. The number of participants will be sent to the NWT Literacy Council as part of their Read for 15 challenge.

Everyone in town should participate, too,” Twigge said.

On Sept. 27, students will be encouraged to dress up as their favourite book character or author.

On Sept. 28, Les Voix Humaines, the viola da gamba duo, will be presenting an early music history program at a school assembly. 

South Slave Divisional Education Council superintendent Curtis Brown believes Literacy Week is a reminder that reading and writing shouldn’t be taken for granted.

It helps remind people in our communities about the importance of developing strong oral language, reading, writing and numeracy skills,” he said.

These critical skills are required for student success in both school and later in life,” Brown added. “Research shows that youth who lack a quality education are more likely to lead less fulfilled, less productive lives. Our schools strive to create the best possible futures for South Slave children, and so we celebrate Literacy Week as partners with various other organizations in an effort to help students and their families achieve success.”

— Myles Dolphin