Monday, February 27, 2012

Elle Me dit

If you look back (wayyyy back) to when I first started this blog it`s pretty clear I didn`t have a focus to it. I posted it kind of like my version of a memory book- I wrote recipes (which I`m tossing around posting again), pictures of where I went (I used to do way more apparently) and as a journal to the process of library school there in the end. What I didn`t talk about it seems, is what I was doing for a living. Who knows why, because at the time what I was doing was actually pretty fun. I was working in not-for-profit and I was fortunate enough to work with a pretty varied group of organizations doing everything from running Toronto Buskerfest to my personal favourite, Now Hear This)).

Now Hear This)) is a youth literacy project based out of Toronto and works mainly with the Catholic School Board (though when I was there we did private workshops, and worked with the TDSB as well) and had the purpose of bringing accessible literacy to the classroom. It`s a fabulous program - in the main program, SWAT (Students, Writers and Teachers), writers come into the classroom for about half a semester and teach students part of their English curriculum. As the site says "These workshops help develop literacy skills, cultivate talent and creativity, encourage self-expression and foster analytical and critical thought. Writers and teachers develop writing exercises together that complement course curricula and engage students in material they might otherwise find difficult and alienating."

Now Hear This)) is where my passion for literacy comes from - I believe so strongly that all people need for literacy is a chance. It's a fabulous program - I saw student after student who said they "hated to read" or "found books and writing boring" take a shift to the complete opposite direction, and, after the program was completed write, submit and have some pretty amazing works published in the Anthologies (they look slick, right!).
A big part of the reason I want to be a librarian is because of the work I did, and saw at Now Hear This)). Literacy is kind of like an invisible wall - many of the students I worked with thought they couldn't read, or that it was boring, or dumb, or whatever because they hadn't had a connection to it. When a writer came into their classroom and made it different, and therein interesting, literacy didn't seem so hard. It's one thing for a teacher to tell you to write an essay on the Shakespeare. It's another thing completely for a writer to tell you to read a graphic novel and that it's ok to write a paper on it, but oh hey, why don't you take a look the original play too, you might like it.

There are so many types of literacy - computer, math, dance, comics, and the list goes on. When you want to encourage literacy, embrace it in every form and use one form of literacy as a stepping stone for other forms of literacy.

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