Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Just ONE book

It takes one book to create a reader. Just ONE book. The book has to be accessible and inclusive. It's our job to get the right book into the hands of prospective readers - This short clip speaks to a perfect book for an indigenous adult or youth or a person interested in Indigenous culture.

Thursday, April 7, 2022


Maria Montessori taught us that it takes three things to create readers, time, a hero and books. This clip speaks to the third of the three: the need for books. Not surprizing, it takes books but what kind of books?

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Wanted: HEROS

Maria Montessori should be trusted. She taught us that to share the gift of reading it takes time, a hero and books. In my last blog, I spoke to the time she tells us it takes. In this, I briefly address what Maria describes as the need for a hero in the process. We all have to recognize our status with our youth and step up to the plate. We, parents, educators, family members, bus drivers...anyone and everyone who has contact with youth has to take on the responsibility of helping these students acquire the gift of reading...no, reading is not a tool but rather, a gift.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Am I a conspiracy theorist

Have we been manipulated into thinking that reading is a science that can be applied to everyone - when we choose to apply it? It certainly how we perceived it to be in the See Dick - See Jane era.... How can we be hanging on to that outdated strategy that has failed so many for so long. Is there really a programme that will create readers out of anyone and everyone? Or was Maria Montessori right in her belief that reading is as simple as walking and talking? Marlene Barron nailed it in 1990 but something seems to have blocked her path to truth. Might it have been greed? Money? Check out her I Laen to taed andwrt the wa I laen to tak -

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Ukrainian folk song - senseless war

I speak to conferences, classes and parent groups. And as I do, I can't rid myself of the dark shadow cast by the senseless killings and heartbreaking suffering of so many Ukrainians. When I lie in bed waiting for sleep to take me, I always think of the many who are hungry and cold - the tens of thousand who are witnessing the destruction of their homes and families and their way of life. Then I spend much of my day listening to why the world cannot stand and face this monster head on and say no more. I wouldn't be a good leader as I am not good at doing little to nothing on most things. There is right and there is wrong. There are, it seems more than ever, those who see conspiracies in everything. I am not among these and find it maddening that ignorant theories can be spread as so many suffer - suffer in a real world. I look forward to someone taking the lead and calling this maniac Putin's bluff. Russians will not allow him to destroy two countries.

Monday, February 28, 2022

A gift for educators and parents - THE GIFT OF READING

What has happened to common sense in our world? I'm not talking about the world pandemic although I could go on at lengths if I thought it would make a difference. I'm not talking about climate change, fires and floods. I'm not talking about the indifference shown toward the thousands of murdered children being located near residential schools. (Excuse me but this horrific crime should be on the front page of every Canadian newspaper every day. The growing number has to be highlighted and shared. Canada's shared humiliation has to be in our collective forefront.) And no, I'm not talking about the last several years south of our border that make Canadians so happy to live here north of there. And finally, the craziness in Ukraine... tragic killings/murders that we witness on a daily basis. No - this post is based on common sense and in it, I will focus on reading. Common sense as I see it: Change will not happen if we keep doing the same thing again and again. In education, we are committed to teaching based on standardized tests whose purpose is clearly to support curriculum. This is how it is. This is how its always been. I am not the first to suggest that we should teach students and not curriculum. There was a brief time that report cards reported on students - not a letters or numbers or other symbols that indicated how well students faired next to the curriculum but rather who teachers believed students to be and reported on their growth. That initiative failed. We turtled back to that safe place of doing what had always been done. We teach "reading" as we did decades and decades ago. Don't look any further than standardized tests that haunt and hurt so many. Numerous academics, educators and parents have voiced objections to this archaic practice. Yet millions invested in training educators on how to administer and work with tests as well as the actual purchasing millions of tests have deep, strong roots. Maria Montessori laid out a clear path to created readers. But this path necessitated change. Education rejected and continues to reject her advice and direction. In our book, The Gift of Reading, Wendy and I lay it all on the table. Clean. Simple. Honest. I will post a series of three short clips outlining Maria's philosophy. Educators and parents - apply this plan in any way you see fit. Even if you pick and choose, you will be doing those under your care a great gift; the Gift of Reading.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Stuck at home during this world pandemic? Discover Richard Wagamese.

 Richard Wagamese - not a great Ojibway author...rather, a great author

Is there a better time than now, when you are being forced to stay home, to experience the gift of one of Canada's greatest authors, Richard Wagamese. 

And by reading Richard's work, you will become a part of the healing necessary as directed by the recommendations of the TRC. 

Richard's writings are a safe and good starting point for anyone who is wanting to learn about the the 60's scoop, residential schools, Ojibway (Indigenous) values and beliefs...

Knowing both the man and the writer, I will recommend two books, his first and my favourite. 

Keeper'n Me - his first novel and wow, what a start!

Can you imagine growing up not only not knowing your birth parents, but not knowing your community - 

Richard takes us back to the beginning...the challenges/battles he faced growing up in a world of confusion and unanswered questions. 

This is Richard's story and it is the story of so many who were taken from their homes and placed in situations that our colonial government assessed as being in their best interest. You need not go back to Canada's first Prime Minister who spoke of taking the Indian out of the Indian. We have evolved but maintain so very much of that hateful and hurtful energy. 

Keeper'n Me opened my eyes to so much. Try it if you haven't already. 

Ragged Company - my favourite of his many 

Over the years, Richard and I spoke at a few conferences together. At one such conference in Edmonton, Aaron Paquette (friend/artist/author/now city counsellor) handed me a signed copy of Ragged Company to give away. I didn't. I kept it and had Richard sign it to my wife. It was her favourite. I gave out one of  my own books that was greatly appreciated. My late Mother used to say, "what you don't know won't hurt you". I applied it to this situation. I felt guilty and still do. 

In an attempt to get in out of the cold, four street people pool what little money they have and begin to frequent local theaters for matinee movies. In one of the theaters, they come across a finely dressed gentleman who becomes key to the plot of Richard's story. 

One day, one of the four finds a pack of smokes that not only has half the cigarettes left but includes three twenty dollar bills - sixty dollars and a lottery ticket. What they did with the cash, you can likely demise. However - the  ticket? How does a  person cash in a  lottery ticket if they have no proof of existence? No licence. No social insurance card. No credit card.  Nothing! What then? 

Back to the well dressed guy from the theater. 

And then?