Quilchena Reading Challenge begins again!

Welcome to the first Quilchena Reading Challenge of 2020-2021!

As we all know, September was a bit different this year and my focus was elsewhere so I wasn’t able to publish a reading challenge last month. We will start with the October challenge and now that our routines are beginning to settle in, we can all get back to our reading.

The Quilchena Reading Challenges are for all students, teachers, and parents. The categories are designed to be applicable to any and all reading levels. As a reader, you get to choose how long, how hard, and in what format the books are to complete this challenge. I trust you to make good choices for yourself.

Start Something New

Even though it’s not September anymore, we are still settling into this slightly different newness of a school year. This month, take an opportunity to embrace new things and read something new, all from the comfort of a familiar, cozy reading spot.

    1. A book about a subject (like an animal) you know nothing about.

2. A story or non-fiction book about a refugee or immigrant experience.

    1. The first book in a series.
    1. A story or non-fiction book about or set during autumn.
    1. A book of short stories (you don’t have to read all of them.)
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Spotlight on: getting caught reading

One of our most beloved library monitors is finishing grade seven and going off to high school. Emma has been a dedicated library monitor and is a Reader Extraordinaire! She has completed every monthly Quilchena Reading Challenge, as well as this June bonus “Get Caught Reading” photo challenge. She also tells me that she’s almost finished the Read Harder 2020 reaching challenge, which is designed for adults and is meant to last the whole year. Amazing!
And without further ado…

Get Caught Reading

I am an anti-racist educator

art by @maxine.sarah.art

There are some events happening right now, mostly in the United States, that are very upsetting. There are people who have been hurting for a long time and are trying desperately to make their voices heard. I won’t describe the events in detail here, rather I will let families choose how much of this specific story is known in your homes.

One thing that I believe is not optional, especially for those of us who are in positions of the most privilege (white, cis, able-bodied, neurotypical, and whose people come from a Christian background), is that we work to make space for stories of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) and other folx who live within the structures of oppression in our society.

There is racism in Vancouver, and there is racism in our schools. There has been, in some way or another, always. In the last couple of months people with Asian family heritage have been targets of escalated verbal and physical violence. That racism is present and active in our city and schools is something we all need to understand and accept before we will be able to create spaces that are truly safe and supportive for every single one of our students and their families. I want every family at Quilchena to know that acts of racism or any other acts of oppression are not okay in our community.

This year I started working on a diversity audit of our English fiction collection in the Quilchena Library. This means that I have started gathering information about how diverse (or narrow) the selection of stories is in our library. This will be an ongoing project for me as I work my way through our French and English fiction, our French and English easy chapter books, our French and English readers, and our French and English picture books. I will be devoting a significant portion of my library budget over the next few years to improving the balance of voices represented in our library collection, specifically focusing on #ownvoices titles.

There are a lot of great lists being published right now that can help us find books written by and about people who are not always represented on our home and school library, and classroom shelves, but who are definitely represented in our community. I have also found some helpful tips for talking to kids, particularly kids living with systemic privilege like my own daughter, about racism.

If you would like any help pursuing these topics at home or at school, I am happy to chat or host a more formal conversation about it.

Book Lists

We Are Kid Lit Collective: 2020 Summer Reading List

Picture Books about race, racism and resistance

Middle grade #ownvoices books

Other reading, mostly for parents

Why read diversely?

“The Top 5 Reasons Well Meaning White Parents Do Not Discuss Race With Their White Children”

Talking to young children about race.

“Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk about Race: resource roundup”

Get Caught Reading!

I am giving us a second crack at the BONUS reading challenge that I posted a few months ago. I think it got lost in the shuffle of getting organized and re-calibrated to teaching and learning.

This is a BONUS ROUND in our Reading Challenge series. I will be posting a June challenge shortly. In this BONUS Challenge you are encouraged to send your photos to Mme Brogan or to post them on your class Team.

Have fun!

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Quilchena Reading Challenge: May edition

Welcome to May! I hope this month brings you soft breezes, delicious drinks with ice cubes in them, and some great stories.

This month’s Challenge title is: Adventures you can have at home

In case you missed it, we have an exclusive (modest) discount at Book Warehouse right now. It is particularly for the reading challenge, but you can buy other things with it too. It is applicable at the West Broadway and Main St locations and all you have to do is tell the cashier that you are part of the Quilchena Reading Challenge and they will apply your discount.

Click here to download the May edition of the Quilchena Reading Challenge

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If you are in need of new books

Calling all Quilchena Readers!

I know that you have all been worried about how you will complete the Quilchena Reading Challenges now that you don’t have access to our library. Well, never fear!

I am happy to announce that I have secured a small discount of 10% for all Quilchena Readers at Book Warehouse (both the W Broadway & Main st locations.) You can call or go online and choose your books and they will get them ready for you to pick up. They are also allowing one family at a time in the children’s /YA section (but better to not browse right at the moment. Talk to me in your Class Team if you need suggestions of what to read.)

When you pay for your books, simply tell the cashier that you are from Quilchena and are doing the Quilchena Reading Challenge and they will apply your discount (you can use this discount for reading material other than the challenges too.)


You may also be aware, but there are other local bookstores that are being pretty great right now too: Pulp Fiction Books and Massy Books both have free delivery anywhere in Vancouver, and Iron Dog Books is a great new store that has a great selection (including puzzles) and can schedule pick up times like Book Warehouse.

Quilchena Reading Challenge: ALTERNATE April edition

Whoa. Hold on! Back that truck up! Did you read that correctly??? An ALTERNATE Reading Challenge? Mais, pourquoi? Well, I know that not everyone lives in the library, like I do, and I thought perhaps it may be a bit too challenging to find things to read to fit all the categories this month so…. I give you:

Get Caught Reading . . .   April Challenge version B

You probably have a favourite place to sit and read at home. You might have a few. You might be finding, these days, that you need to seek out new, interesting places to read because your usual spots are, well, a little overused at the moment. This month, you have an Alternate Reading Challenge: to Get Caught Reading in unusual places.
Be creative! Take a photograph of yourself for each category and send it to Mme Brogan.  Try to be reading something different in each photo.

This month, Get Caught Reading….

  1.  …under a tree.
  2.  …surrounded by soft things.
  3. …with a family member.
  4.  …while you’re eating.
  5.  …in public (but not too close to anybody.)

If your family doesn’t want to give consent for media release, you can still participate! Either you can pose for photos with your back towards the camera, or you can set up your shots with your reading material (and other personal touches) in the spot where you’re reading, just sans vous.

Quilchena Reading Challenge: April

Calling on all Quilchena Readers!!!

It is time for the fourth installment of the 2020 Quilchena Reading Challenges!!! Just because we’re not seeing each other at school every day doesn’t mean we can’t share our reading adventures. We can read together… apart!

I am going to continue posting our monthly Reading Challenges as planned, but I will also be posting ALTERNATIVE Reading Challenges each month in case the traditional challenge category format is a bit too tricky in the limited way we are living at the moment.
We will also have to modify how you can submit your completed challenges. More on that below.

If you’re just joining the fun, here’s how to participate:

  1. Download the April Reading Challenge.
  2. Start reading! Choose books, that match the categories in the challenge and write down the titles as you complete them. You must read these books in April. (There is no length/difficulty requirement. Choose books that interest you, that are an interesting stretch, or are in some way a good fit for you right now.)
  3. Stay tuned for what to do when you finish this month’s challenge. I have a couple of ideas of how you can show me…. I’ll tell you soon.

There will still be a draw for a prize for students who complete each month’s challenge.

I will create challenges each month from now until June. There will be a special prize draw for readers who completed and handed in all 6 challenges.

Read on for the April editions of the Quilchena Reaching Challenge:

Spring has sprung!  April Challenge version A

The first day of spring was technically last month but the weather is now getting noticeably warmer and the trees and plants are growing new leaves and flowers. There are many special days in April (did you know that World Penguin Day is April 25th?) Maybe you should take your book outside and find a perfect reading spot from which to observe the warming of the season.

  1. A book of poetry or a story told in verse. (April is Poetry Month)
  2. A joke book, or a humorous novel. (April 1st is April Fools’ Day)
  3. A book with an environmental theme. (April 22nd is Earth Day)
  4. A book in honour of a cultural or religious festival. (Sakura, Vaisakhi, Ramadan, Passover, Easter, etc)
  5. A story that takes place in a forest.

Tips for Reading Aloud: March edition

Image result for parents reading booksThere is something extra special about sharing a beloved book from our childhood with our own small people. There are a number of picture books from when I was little (early 80s) that are still in print today.

It is always a good idea to preview a book before beginning to read it aloud. In the case of a book we remember fondly from childhood, the preview isn’t so much about making sure the text works well as a read-aloud, but rather to screen it against the test of time. The fact is that some books, despite our fondest memories, do not age well. When read today, to today’s young audience, a number of “classics” are rather jarring in their treatment of diverse characters (read: they are sexist and racist.)

Image result for reading AND together OR kids OR parents

Sometimes we can change words on the fly, if we encounter a problematic term and it’s fairly isolated. Other times the prejudice becomes so thick, so quickly, that the best thing we can do is to stop reading and show our authentic dislike of the text; talk about why the prejudice is not okay as well as how you remember reading the book as a child (when it wasn’t something that stuck out as inappropriate) and isn’t it great that we can see a tangible example of how we are getting better as a society?

Keep sharing your favourite stories with the young people in your life.

Happy reading!