Tell and Respond to Stories

April 6th, 2014 by angiemcleod No comments »
capture2 Tell and Respond to Stories

The Power of Stories

by Terry Small

We are all soft-wired to tell and respond to stories.

Phillip Pullman said, “After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”

He’s probably right. Stories are a powerful organizing tool for your brain’s neural network. A well-told, timely story can literally reshape the brain.

Stories give people a chance, not to see who they are, but who they might become. Narrative is powerful. Stories allow our brain to see the world differently. They give us hope.  Neuroscientists are investigating the science of hope.  It turns out that a feeling of hopefulness changes your brain.

The following article excerpt by Terry Small and published in Brain Bulletin #47: The Science of Hope attests to the power of Stories.  To read the full article please visit:

The Science of Hope.

Hope is important for your brain.

Neuroscientists are investigating the science of hope. It turns out that a feeling of hopefulness changes your brain. Your brain pumps chemicals when experiencing the sensation of hope. These chemicals can block pain and accelerate healing.

Hope, which involves belief and expectation, causes the brain to release neurochemicals called endorphins and enkephalins which actually mimic the effects of morphine. The result is that the brain can overcome hurdles and move to a place of recovery. In scientific terms, hope and recovery are not causally connected, but they are correlated.

I believe hope is as vital to the brain as the oxygen we breathe.

Times are difficult these days. A feeling of hopefulness can make a real difference!

What do I do for my brain? I feed my brain stories that paint a clear picture of hope.

Stories are the #1 brain state changer on the planet! Stories do far more than entertain. Neuroscientists believe that our brains are wired for stories. Stories captivate the brain. They release emotions that are inextricably tied to those of the story’s characters. Brain scientists call this “narrative transport”.

I believe storytelling has become a casualty of our busy, hectic pace of life. Parents, leaders, teachers….everyone should tell more stories. Remember a story is not a story until it is told.

To read more about Terry Small’s work and some of the stories he finds particularly enjoyable, visit his website at:



Book reviews: Stories to make your students laugh

April 5th, 2014 by angiemcleod No comments »
capture1 Book reviews: Stories to make your students laugh

Stories to make your child laugh.

This article was written by Lucinda Tooker for teachers and published in the Teacher Magazine Volume 26, Number 5, March 2014. We thought it would also be very useful for parents looking to engage their children in reading. We thank Lucinda for allowing us to post it here. DM

Stories to make your students laugh

By Lucinda Tooker

I am always looking for picture books that lend themselves to lessons relating to the 6 Pillars of Character ( British children’s author Jeanne Willis and illustrator Tony Ross have teamed up for a number of suitable picture books, published by Andersen Press.

Flabby Cat and Slobby Dog are completely out of control. They are probably depressed, and their sole coping mechanism is to eat and watch TV. When they discover that everything in the house is shrinking (because of their expanding girths), they seek help from their distant cousins—the wild wolf and the cunning tiger. This book is really funny, and it gently conveys a message about the benefits of getting off the couch and leading an active lifestyle. Perfect for nutrition month in March!

Your parents would probably be relieved to read a bad report card, if the alternative was to lose you to a biker gang. So goes the premise of Big, Bad Bun, written as a letter from Fluff to his parents describing his misadventures with The Hell Bunnies. He really has only run as far as Grandma’s, where his parents pick him up after reading the bad report card Fluff tucked under his pillow. Personal accountability is discussion topic arising from this story.

When Colin Smally, the youngest of 10, heads outside for the very first time, his over-protective mother wraps him in cotton to keep him safe. But poor Cottonball Colin is not as safe as she had hoped! Still he has the time of his life, and thereafter is permitted to go out, unprotected, into the great, wide world. “Sometimes he got scared, and sometimes he got hurt. But ohhhh…it was worth it!” As with the other books, the illustrations add to the story, allowing readers to speculate about the validity of his mother’s concern.

Lucinda Tooker, teacher-librarian, Maple Ridge

100th Day of Schooling Celebration

March 10th, 2014 by angiemcleod No comments »


edith mcdermott book donation from McLeod Nunez classes e1394477530256 225x300 100th Day of Schooling Celebration

“Oh my goodness–we had such a terrific 100 day!!”  commented Betty McLeod, a Kindergarten teacher at Edith McDermitt Elementary in Pitt Meadows.  McLeod, along with another Kindergarten teacher, Kate Nunez celebrated the 100th Day of School by collecting “100 pieces of lego, building with 100 dixie cups. 100 second jumping, hopping, making 100 with Oreo cookies and pretzel stick, collecting 100 chocolate kisses. The biggest accomplishment was we collected 158 books between the 2 classes!!!  How cool is that?” McLeod commented in an email.

Very cool!  This random act of kindness by the Kindergarten students has put 158 books into the hands of the Literacy Committee for re-distribution at community events.  By donating story books the children in McLeod and Nunez’s classes are sharing their love of reading and some of their favourite stories.

For the Literacy Committee it  is a win-win all around.  The children are excited that the books will be passed on; the Literacy Committee is excited to have a new stock of books to hand out; and, those visit the Literacy Committee booth at upcoming community events (Earth Day – April 26th and Literacy Day at the Haney Farmers Market – June 7th) will have a wider selection of books to choose from.  

A special Thank You goes out to the children and families in McLeod and Nunez’s classes at Edith McDermitt for collecting and donating the books.  They will be treasured by their new owners!




Buy Cheers to the Planet Tickets

March 6th, 2014 by shantiang No comments »

Buy Cheers to the Planet tickets from us and you will

  • support the CEED Centre,
  • support literacy, and
  • be able to sample local, sustainable and organic food, wine, beer and spirits

It’s a win – win – win !

 Paper tickets available at:

Bean Around Books & Tea
22626 Lougheed Highway, Maple Ridge


The Learning Room, within the CEED Centre
11739 223rd Street, Maple Ridge

Online tickets available here. Just put “referred by CLC” in the comments section.


Volunteer Tutor Training starts soon!

February 17th, 2014 by angiemcleod No comments »

Interested in helping those those struggling with literacy issues?  The Literacy Committee is currently looking for volunteers to train to help adult learners improve their literacy skills.    

Our free Volunteer-Tutor Training Program starts March 3rd and will run for 4 sessions.  These workshops will take place at Riverside Centre (Room 1073) at 20575 Thorne Avenue, Maple Ridge at the times noted below.   Riverside Centre is located between 203 and 207th Avenues on Thorne.  Free parking available on site.

Please mark ALL the following dates in your calendar.

  • Monday, March 3, 6:30 PM. – approx. 9 PM
  • Saturday, March 8, 9 a.m. – approx. 1 p.m.
  • Monday, March 10, 6:30 PM to approx. 9 PM
  • Wednesday, March 12, 6:30 PM to approx. 9 PM

Light snacks and beverages provided.

To learn more about and/or to register for the CLC’s Volunteer Tutoring Program, please contact or call 604.220.5231 or 604 721.3738.


Learning together: Pre-school Literacy Explorer kits

February 11th, 2014 by angiemcleod No comments »

Pre-School Literacy Explorer Kits


Pre-school literacy explorer kits are available.  These kits are designed to help parents introduce simple ideas around reading, writing, and math into their day-to-day activities.

The kits are one outcome of an ongoing collaborative Family Literacy Work Group that identified in 2012 that many parents don’t know how to “teach” their pre-school children basic literacy skills.  The group put their heads together and determined that they wanted two types of tools or kits:

  • one kit for family service providers that made weaving literacy activities into daily programming easy and that showcased how parents could adapt activities at home; and,
  • a second kit for parents that help them learn about simple literacy activities that they could do with their children at home.

These comprehensive kits include:

  • Instructions on how introduce and do activities
  • Resources and tools to do activity
  • Consumables needed

Kits can be borrowed from Childcare Resource and Referral (CCRR) for free (with a membership).*

To borrow a kit call, the CCRR 604.467.2273

For Information on this Family Literacy Work Group, contact  Angie McLeod at or call 604 721 3738

Family Literacy Work Group Partners

application Learning together: Pre school Literacy Explorer kits

Funding from:

application Learning together: Pre school Literacy Explorer kits

* Family membership is $5 per year and Agency / Daycare memberships are $20 per year.

Family Literacy Day 2014: Two Successful Events

February 7th, 2014 by angiemcleod No comments »

Celebrating Stories of all kinds!

LWW cast Emerald Pig 150x150 Family Literacy Day 2014: Two Successful Events

The Cast of the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe get in to the spirit of Family Literacy Day.

Family Literacy Day is celebrated in the third week of January every year.  For the past two years, the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows Public Libraries and the Literacy Committee have come together to spearhead two separate, and very different, Family Literacy Day events.  

On January 25th in Maple Ridge, families were invited to the Library to explore storytelling in all it’s forms.  From Len Stanga, Stories on Wheels, to more traditional storytelling methods, visitors to the event were entertained.  Librarians, Volunteers, the Literacy Outreach Workers, and some visitors, took the opportunity to dress as their favourite fictional character.  

photo 14 e1391798876508 150x150 Family Literacy Day 2014: Two Successful Events

Young boy making an alphabet pizza using one of the new Preschool Literacy Explorer kits.

The following Saturday, February 1st, Pitt Meadows residents were invited to explore the last ten decades of literacy and literature.  With puppeteer, musician, and storyteller Elspeth Bowers on hand to entertain the crowd, and librarians and exhibitors dressed in their favourite decade costume, there were lots of things to do.

Visitors to both events were sure to come out with lots of ideas for having 15 minutes of literacy fun each day.

Check out the photo albums from both events on the CLC’s Facebook Page.

To learn more about these events and how you can participate next year, contact the Literacy Committee at coordinator{at}community or call us at 604.721.3738.


Puppeteer Elspeth Bowers shares stories at Family Literacy Day

January 30th, 2014 by angiemcleod No comments »
Elspeth 150x150 Puppeteer Elspeth Bowers shares stories at Family Literacy Day

Come on Saturday to see storyteller and puppeteer, Elspeth Bowers celebrate the decades with stories, songs, and puppets for all ages.

Pitt Meadows Family Literacy Day

  • February 1st, 1 – 3:30 PM
  • Pitt Meadows Public Library

Stories have connected people and ideas for centuries.

As Ursula Le Guin said “There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.”

Stories are from the human mind.  They come through books, told stories, puppets, plays, movies, television, and computers.  They are told, sung, and chanted.  They are the shortest distance between truth and the human being.

On February 1st between 1 – 3:30 visit the Pitt Meadows Public Library to celebrate Family Literacy Day.  

This fun-filled family event will explore stories through the decades – particularly the past century – with displays, activities, and puppet shows.    Enter to win a prize basket, test your body with games and activities from past decades, or enjoy a Tim Horton’s coffee, hot chocolate, and tim bits.

Storyteller and puppeteer, Elspeth Bowers is hosting puppet shows at 1:15 PM and 2:15 PM that celebrate the decades with stories, songs, and puppets for all ages.   Fun is sure to be had by all!

For more information visit: Family Literacy Day 2014

Or, call Pitt Meadows Public Library at: 604 465 4113





Teens find Financial Links helpful

January 23rd, 2014 by angiemcleod No comments »

My name is Kelly and I’m a mentor at our local community center. The kids that I mentor wanted me to email you on their behalf and tell you that they think your page,, has some great sites on financial literacy. We ended up bookmarking some.  

Thanks Kelly for sending  us the email.  Check out the Comments section of the above page to find read the humorous take on some of the worlds strangest taxes that Kelly and her teens sent us!



Volunteer Information Session

January 20th, 2014 by shantiang No comments »

Wednesday January 29, 2014  6:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Room 1073 Riverside Centre, 20575 Thorne Avenue


Find out how you can help support literacy in our community.  The Literacy Committee needs volunteers for a variety of positions.  Some of our volunteers help out on a regular basis, others only when they have time.


Here are a few examples of what our volunteers might do:  work with adult learners (next free training session starts March 3), help out at events, join our Committee, or prepare our newsletter.


Come to this Volunteer Information Session to learn more about the Literacy Committee and our many volunteer opportunities.  Please RSVP to 604 721-3738.