Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Our 15th annual Crescent Valley Community Tenant's Association Christmas party

Santa loves this picture of him and Pete the Cat.
 Play, sing, talk, read and write/create every day!

Play, read, sing, write, talk are five things promoted throughout New Brunswick libraries and preschools as part of our province's ongoing support and celebration of children's and families' learning.  We had fun doing all of these at our 15th annual Crescent Valley Community Tenant's Association Christmas party.

"I am probably going to draw a mountain," he said.
Then he did.
More mark making.

We brought our blankets and regular hoard of seasonal and ever-popular board and pictures books for the reading corner.  This was also our "singing corner;" first, as directed by the individual children, and, later, when we paged through our copies of the Disney Christmas Sing-Along to find those important middle-verse lyrics during the party's group sing.

The reading corner - snuggled beneath
the window that looks out on a snowy field.

David Shannon authored this year's most popular party read.

Disney's Christmas Sing-Along is a
must have for our parties.

We set up our now traditional card- and decoration-making table and also invited children to draw and colour.  As well, we reached back to our supper and a movie days and taped large sheets of blank paper on two of the walls for self-expression of all sorts.  New this year was a Lego table (Duplo, actually) for extra creative play.

Christmas flowers growing beneath a warm winter sun
(even if it was snowing outside that day).

Homemade cards are the best.
We were pleased to provide 37 gift-wrapped and individually designated books for Santa to give out, and also to share some of these great photos with the proud parents and grandparents of the aspiring engineers.

Santa's Workshop

"We built a zoo."

Santa's sleigh

Santa's 'Flight Present Dropper'

Builder: It's a new system. The sides keep balance and
then you punch in the address, the toys
go in here and come out here down the chimney.
Photographer: So Santa doesn't even have to get out?
Builder: Right. Very fast.

Next week, we get to attend the Christmas Adult Social provided by the CVCTA, where we will sing a few carols, play a game or two, talk to friends old and new, and maybe even do a bit or reading and writing - things also important for adult and life-long learning.

A big 'Thank You' to the Hillcrest Village Knitters who presented us with a check for $200 for the purchase of books for children under 16 in North End neighbourhoods.

QLNB's Cheryl Brown and Beverly Lyons of Hillcrest Village Knitters


Interested readers can find out more about some of the hows and whys of our part in this neighbourhood event by reading Community Literacy at Christmas (2016).

The Province of New Brunswick Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is using "Play, Sing, Talk, Read and Write/Create Every Day" messaging to support children's literacy development and early school success.  This messaging dovetails wonderfully with our provincial public libraries "Every Child Ready to Read @ your Library" initiative.  More information can be found on the Saint John Free Public Library's YouTube channel

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Province of New Brunswick, Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture supports Event Storytents

This has to be my favourite part of Celebration Sunday!
- Child Participant

The boys’ grampy comes by the event tent and says, “Don’t forget to write down the books you’re reading cause you’re in that reading club.  You need to read 100 books!”  Wendell facilitates with providing pen and paper so the two boys can leave with their list.
- Worker Field Notes

At an event, a storytent can enhance a community fair, a school festival, or an organization’s summer picnic.  Effective event tents can promote a reading culture.  They demonstrate that reading can happen anywhere.  They encourage children and families to keep books and reading in their quality pictures of a fun outing.  As well, they provide a way to promote or outreach additional services; or to gauge interest in new programming.

This year we planned for nine event storytents, and managed to hit eight, across Saint John.  A total of 305 children and adults read, borrowed or received books over the course of eight events (an average of 12 adults and 27 children per event).

She really enjoyed the storytent last year, so we thought we would come back again.
- Parent Participant

The two girls came back and picked up I Am Invited to a Party by Mo Willems (an Elephant and Piggie book).  “I don’t have this one!” one exclaimed, and they read it together, laughing and giggling.
- Worker Field Notes

CVCTA Fun Days is the usual fun chaos!  Children are everywhere and unsupervised.  Running through tent, falling over.  [A former storytent kid] now has three of her own, pops in to say ‘Hi.’  One of several ‘Storytent alumni’ who came in to read to sons or daughters, nieces or nephews. 
- Worker Field Notes

Thanks for bringing the books!
- Child Participant

Anecdotes and conversations with families indicated that event tents were once again a valued service and promoted literacy and library services in a unique way.  We are very grateful for major support from NB's Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture which makes our involvement with these events possible.

Additional 2017 event storytent support came from City of Saint John, the Crescent Valley Community Tenant’s Association, the Milford Community Centre, the Province of New Brunswick Department of Social Development, RiverCross Church, the Saint John and District Labour Council, and the Saint John Free Public Library.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Saint John Free Public Library supports Storytent

With the support of the Saint John Free Public Library, along with the New Brunswick departments of Social Development and of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, we were able to offer Quality Storytents and a Summer Reading Club outreach twice weekly on Roxbury Drive.  Each Tuesday and Thursday, from June 27th to August 22nd, we pitched our tents in a backyard common managed by Social Development.

At the Roxbury tents, families requested books in English, French and Arabic.  Here the support of the Saint John Free Public Library proved crucial.  Their grant allowed us to purchase many wonderful books in the languages of each family's choice: books we were able to lend for reading in the home.  Our Free Public Library was also a source of French and Arabic children's books we borrowed for use in the tent.

 Roxbury is a forte symphony of languages and culture - sometimes Arabic, sometimes French, sometimes English.  The children are loving the singing books.  I can see Mom reading Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed to Ali and Mohamed in English, to their delight. Someone in that household has read the first three Harry Potter books in Arabic - I will order the next few.
- Worker Field Notes
 [Toddler] was on the outside of the tent.  I handed him the Go Dog Go board book.  After some hesitation he took it from me.  Then he ran off with it to show a friend, and then into his home apparently to show his mom.
    He and Mom came to the tent a few minutes later to read or look through some books.  Her daughters joined them as they looked at the Arabic book with the animals.  Mom, who doesn’t speak English or French, pronounced the Arabic name of the animals to her daughters: they gave her the names in English.
- Worker Field Notes
 On Roxbury, the children also engaged heavily in self-directed writing activities, in apparent imitation of our own note- and attendance-taking (frequently by commandeering and repurposing our notebooks!).  We created a writing box with child friendly materials to accommodate the interest in writing, and it is our perception that at least half of the children’s storytent time was occupied with various forms of writing and pre-writing behaviour.

We were very pleased with the response of the children and the community to the Storytent and the Summer Reading Club.  We lent out 84 books (children's and adult's).  In the tent, 30 different children  read to at least 479 books.

Mom has sent us out some steamed zucchini stuffed with rice.  I Google “Thank you” on my phone and write my first Arabic word on a 3” by 5” cue card: Shaukraan. “Thank you.”
- Worker Field Notes

[Toddler #2] brings a plate of French fries to the tent.  His sister shout at him in Arabic - presumably about keeping his supper out of tent.  So I take some Byron Barton books out to where he’s standing, forlorn.  I read him Machines at Work, Trucks and Boats.  He pays close attention, then puts his supper down and ‘reads’ Machines at Work and Trucks back to me.
- Worker Field Notes

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Provincial Department of Social Development support for Quality Storytents

Girl, very young, sits by Cheryl who is reading to two other girls.  She studies Cheryl position and then arranges herself the same way, holding her book ‘just so’ and mimicking reading aloud.
- Worker Field Notes

This year's Quality Storytent program at Courtenay Bay was made possible through the support and encouragement of the New Brunswick Department of Social Development.  In addition to significant funding, the Department provided on-site storage space.  (Similarly important storage space was provided for us in the neighbourhoods of Anglin Drive and Roxbury Drive.)

Storytent and the Summer Reading Club outreach ran each Monday from June 26th to August 21st, on a common green space next to the Brunswick Drive High Rise.

This location was very much a family location, with adults present in almost every tent.  As well, and this is site specific, there were many children bringing their dolls to the storytent.  Families typically borrowed; adult novels as well as children’s books, texts in both English and Arabic.  Over the nine sessions, families borrowed 48 books and read at least 331 books.

Additional support for the Courtenay Bay project, storytent projects in two other neighbourhoods, and for our 2017 Event Storytents, came from the Province of New Brunswick's Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture and the Saint John Free Public Library.
“She’s been reading the books every morning.  She loves them.  We have a lot of books.  Knows the authors.”
- Parent Participant

Saturday, September 2, 2017

City of Saint John support for Quality Storytents

[Girl] decided that she wanted to read the Piggie dialogue in one of the Elephant (Gerald) and Piggie books [by Mo Willems].  This was fun.  Then she picked up another book and wanted me to read it.  I asked her if she wanted to be Piggy or Gerald?  She wanted to be Piggy.  We read the book in our respect roles.  Then she wanted to read it again, only with switching roles (so I got to be Piggy this time – Piggy is my favourite).  It was fun to watch her take some control over the reading situation, with us doing a bit of co-constructing around our reading.  Then she picked up Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (another Mo Willems book).
    She said: “First I will read it all to see if I can read it.  Then you can be the bus driver and I will be the pigeon.”  So she read it through and only needed to ask me one word (“Cousin”).  Then she reiterated her plan:  “Now you be the bus driver and I’ll be the pigeon and then we’ll switch.”  So we did.  “Now I’ll be the bus driver and you be the pigeon.” 
    Repeat readings…all in a row…fascinating!  She picked up another Elephant and Piggie book (I am Invited to a Party) and we repeated the whole process, with me reading it first, then she reading it, then us playing roles, then switching roles - all at her request.
    [Girl]  borrowed three Elephant and Piggie books at the end of tent, and I was left amazed again at the wonderful nature of the child-led reading process.
- Worker Field Notes

The City of Saint John, in cooperation with the Department of Social Development, made it possible for us to bring the Quality Storytent program and our Summer Reading Club outreach to Anglin Drive.  Storytent ran once per week for nine weeks, from June 30th to August 25th.  We adopted previous years’ schedule of Friday mornings.  Our tents were set up on the corner of Anglin Drive and Pigeon Terrace, a common green space managed by Social Development, within sight of both the local playground and the community centre (the previous years’ location).  We hired a local youth who had experience with last year’s tent to act as a reader on sunny, busier days.

Toys arrived.  Some went to Mallory’s pocket, some went into a box.  Now four boys are listening to Mallory read Munsch. 
- Workers Field Notes

Thirty different children accessed the Anglin Drive storytent, borrowing 39 books, and reading at least 253 books over the summer.  We are very greatful for our City's support for this project.  We are equally appreciative of their invitation to join them at several of this year's Passport2Parks celebrations.

Additional support for the Anglin Drive project, storytent projects in two other neighbourhoods, and for our 2017 Event Storytents, came from the Province of New Brunswick's Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, the Department of Social Development, and the Saint John Free Public Library.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

AGM 2016

QLNB will be holding its AGM in Room 1 of the Saint John Free Public Library, Central Branch (1 Market Square, Saint John, N.B.)  at 6pm on Thursday, March 2nd.

For more info, please contact Cheryl Brown, our Community Literacy Coordinator, at 333 2601 or