Archive for the ‘In the News’ category

15 Minutes of Fun!

January 16th, 2013

January is family literacy month.  It’s a time to celebrate and embrace all types of learning – formal and informal.  We all like to do things that are fun; we like to play games, do arts and crafts, sing and perform, or share our stories.  Each creates an opportunity for learning to happen.

Here are some quick and fun 15 minute activities.  Try something new.  Be creative.  Most of all, have fun!

  1. Create your own comic strip about your family.
  2. Invent two new endings to your favourite book.
  3. Make up a new recipe together and post it online.
  4. Explore another city from the comfort of your home by going online.  What’s exciting?
  5. Tell knock-knock jokes together while doing the dishes.
  6. Sing five songs really, really loud!
  7. Make up a family theme song using everyone’s names and favourite activities.
  8. Invent a new game while playing at the park.
  9. Read a story to your pet (or favourite toy).
  10. Create your own story populated by friends and family.  Share it with them.
  11. Make a paper fortune teller with eight fortunes.
  12. Write a silly poem and tell it to your family at dinner.
  13. Log on to your favourite word game – can you beat your best score?
  14. Create your family tree.
  15. Play rhyming “I Spy” – “I spy something that rhymes with…”
  16. Play a board or card game together.
  17. Text your friend and tell them about your holiday.
  18. Learn how to knit or crochet.
  19. Paint or draw a picture of what you see outside your window.
  20. Find 20 things that begin with the letter “S”.

Still looking for some new fun ideas of how you can learn together, check out our Family Literacy page or visit us at one of the Family Literacy Day events.




15 Minutes a day… that’s all it takes!

January 3rd, 2013

According to ABC Life Literacy, just “15 minutes a day can improve a child’s literacy skills dramatically.”   The Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Community Literacy Committee is partnering with our local libraries to explore activities that parents can do with their children to improve a child’s literacy skills.

Many of these activities can be done while driving to and from activities, some don’t look or feel like literacy activities at all, and some are down right fun.  It’s just a matter of figuring out what works for your family and we can help with that…

Join us to explore Family Literacy at either or both of our two exciting, fun-filled FREE family events:

Sharing our Stories Open House, Pitt Meadows Public Library

Saturday January 19, 2013 from 11 AM to 3 PM

Join us to explore how stories have influenced our lives and shaped the lives that we lead at this fun filled family event.  Take part in a traditional Katzie welcome prayer, listen raptly during story time, or visit one of the fun interactive activity stations designed to entertain children of all ages.

This FREE Open House has something for everyone – children, youth, adults, and seniors. Refreshments and snacks provided between 11 AM – 1 PM.  Come share your story, and hear those of local residents!

Family Literacy Fair, Maple Ridge Public Library

Saturday January 26, 2013 from 2 PM to 4 PM

Test your skills at the interactive Amazing Literacy Race stations, listen to Paula Justis bring stories to life, join in a drumming circle Boris Sichon, take a bread in the teen lit cafe, or take part in one of the many other fun filled activities during our Family Literacy Fair.   Prizes to be won!  Get your passport stamped as you travel around the stations to be eligible to win great prizes including a Kobo E Reader and gift certificates for books.


For more information call 604.721.3738 or email: coordinator[at]


New and Exciting Literacy Challenge

September 27th, 2012

The Literacy Challenge is back. The newly re-vamped Literacy Challenge encourages Teachers and Students to record time spent on out-of-school literacy activities – not related to school curriculum – as individuals, then  to compile the totals for submission to the Literacy Committee.  The Classroom with the highest number number of minutes per student between October 15, 2012 and January 15, 2013 will win a SMART board SBX885 (graciously donated by Sharp Audio Visual) for their school, a pizza lunch and books for their classroom.  Other prizes will be announced during the contest period.

Teachers who want their classrooms to participate, must first register for the Literacy Challenge, by emailing with the following information:

  • Teachers Name
  • Teachers phone number
  • School name
  • Classroom grade
  • Number of students in the classroom

The Community Literacy Committee will confirm each Teacher’s registration by return email.  To learn more about the Literacy Challenge check out these tools and resources:

For those of you not sure what kinds of literacy activities qualify, check out this link for some ideas:

Have fun turning off the TV and exploring literacy!

Want more information, contact a Literacy Coordinator at coordinator{at}

Sponsored by:







May Community Literacy Challenge Winner

July 3rd, 2012

Alyssa, May Literacy Challenge Winner Accepts her Prize Package

Green Eggs and Ham… Yum Yum.  Or Maybe Not!

Green Eggs and Ham don’t sound very yummy to our May Literacy Challenge Winner.  However, she did think they were excellent ingredients for a children’s book.

Alyssa, recently submitted her entry to the Community Literacy Challenge after reading Green Eggs and Ham, one of Dr. Seuss’ most famous books.

Alyssa enjoyed turning off the TV and reading book in part because Dr. Seuss is “really funny.”   Alyssa found the part about Sam trying (but not wanting to try) the green eggs and ham, particularly funny.  Even more so, when Sam actually enjoyed them.

When asked if she’d like to try green eggs and ham, Alyssa doesn’t think so.  But then you never know.

As the May winner, Alyssa receives a gift certificate to Tales and Tomes Used Books and the Flying Wedge Pizza.

I wonder if she’ll ask if she can get a Green Eggs and Ham pizza from Flying Wedge?






Family Literacy Day Carnival a roaring success!

February 2nd, 2012

Family Literacy Day Carnival a hit!

Face Painting by Sharon Malone, Emerald Pig Theatre Society, at the Family Literacy Day Carnival 2012

Friday’s Family Literacy Day Carnival at the Maple Ridge Public Library was a roaring success!  With over 450 visitors, the library was vibrating with energy and enthusiasm.  Children and their parents enjoyed carnival activities including a bean bag toss, race to solve a puzzle, face painting station, problem solving puzzles, word games, and a special musical surprise.   This Family Literacy Day celebration was the largest yet and was offered through a partnership between the Maple Ridge Public Library and the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Community Literacy Committee (CLC).

First ever Flashmob in Maple Ridge Public Library.

Showstoppers Flashmob Dancers at the Family Literacy Day Carnival 2012

Library patrons who attended the Family Literacy Day Carnival on Friday, January 27th, enjoyed a special musical surprise at 4 PM that involved over 80 people singing and dancing.  As the sounds of “Don’t Stop Believing” rang out through the Library, patrons stopped and looked.  Participants of the flashmob swayed and sung to the music while holding uplifting signs  – dream, believe, learn, grow, listen and of course, READ – to encourage people to continue to improve their literacy skills.   This message was further enhanced by the varied Carnival activities located throughout the library for families to enjoy.

A video of the flashmob can be found at:


Thanks to our Partners and Volunteers

Successful events like the Family Literacy Day Carnival don’t just happen.  They are the result of community partnerships and hundreds of volunteer hours.  The Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Community Literacy Committee would like to say a BIG Thank You to each of the 100+ volunteers who showed up to support this event – either through publicizing the events, hosting a Literacy Booth and sharing the Literacy message, manning the popcorn machine, participating in the Flashmob (over 70 involved), or taking pictures of the event.

Our Community Partners are also essential to the success of this event and of the work that the Literacy Committee does as a whole.  Special Thanks go out to:

  • Caja Blomley –  future professional video editor
  • Sharon Malone & John Bell – face painters extra-ordinary
  • Friends of the Library Volunteers
  • Envision Credit Union – Popcorn and Popcorn Machine
  • Showstoppers Academy of Performing Arts  and all the singers, dancers, and their parents
  • The Maple Ridge NEWs – advertising and promotion
  • The Maple Ridge Times – media coverage and press releases
  • Maple Ridge Public Library

We couldn’t have done it without you!

Family Literacy Day Carnival – January 27th

January 19th, 2012

Come on Over to our Family Literacy Day Carnival – It’s FREE

Date & Time: January 27th, 2012, 3:00—4:30 PM

Location: Maple Ridge Public Library, 22470 Dewdney Trunk Rd, Maple Ridge

Celebrate Family Literacy Day with the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Community Literacy Committee and the Fraser Valley Regional Library with a fun family carnival.  Held annually on January 27, Family Literacy Day raises awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family.

Carnival activities will include a bean bag toss, puzzle races, alphabet fishing pool, other literacy games and a musical surprise!  Don’t miss this exciting literacy event.

Coming to the carnival counts as literacy time for the Community Literacy Challenge!

It’s easy and free to participate in the Community Literacy Challenge and you could win great prizes! Visit the Community Literacy table at the carnival or go to to learn more about this exciting challenge and to register.

Literacy Woven into Day to Day Activities

November 23rd, 2011

Promoting Literacy in Unusual Ways!

One of our Literacy Outreach Workers recently received a call from the Ad Manager, Carly Ferguson at the Maple Ridge News inquiring as to whether or not the Literacy Committee would like to submit a recipe to their upcoming Cookies and Carols Insert in the newspapers.  We’d like to extend a BIG Thank You to Carly and the team at the News for their ongoing support of literacy in our community.

Being a grassroots community group with no budget for marketing and promotion, we quickly jumped on the opportunity.  In addition, it gave the Committee the opportunity to showcase that Literacy Activities are truly integrated into every aspect of our life.  Including cooking.

Watch for this recipe in the News’ Cookies and Carols insert and give it a try!

Crunchy Cookies

This simple recipe is fun and easy for the family to make together.

Encourage your children to read the recipe, do the math to make a double batch (sharing is encouraged!), to measure the ingredients, and count the number of cookies the recipe makes.

Cooking together is a great way to create a fun, interactive learning experience for children and adults alike.



1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup butterscotch chips

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 cup chow mein noodles

½ cup coconut


Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips in a double boiler.  Stir in walnuts, chow mein noodles and coconut.

Drop in clusters on to a cookie sheet covered in wax paper.  Chill in refridgerator until firm.


Store in an airtight container in a cool place.   Enjoy!


Yield 18 – 22 Crunchie Cookies.




Literacy Committee is Making Connections in Port Haney

November 17th, 2011

MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. November 11, 2011

Shannon Alke is ready to give back. Alke is the latest recruit to sign on to train to become an adult literacy tutor with the Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows Katzie Community Literacy Committee (CLC).

“I struggled with learning challenges growing up, but went on to graduate from high school and continued on to take several general studies courses in college and obtained a certificate as a community mental health worker. I had a learning difficulty pertaining to math and physical co-ordination and I know how hard some people have to work to learn,” said Alke recently. “I am looking forward to the training. It may be a challenge as I do not have teaching experience, but I am ready.”

“I think Shannon will be a great tutor. She is compassionate, friendly, understanding and tolerant. She has all the qualities we are looking for,” remarked Elaine Yamamoto, Literacy Outreach Facilitator for the CLC.

Alke has also been a dedicated volunteer at the CEED Centre in Port Haney for the past two years working as the volunteer coordinator for GETI fest and starting up the Gardening for Mental Health program. She found out about the free tutor training after the Community Literacy Committee opened its doors to the Learning Room in an office at the Centre last week.

“It is great to be able to connect with such dedicated volunteers,” said Yamamoto. “There is currently a dearth of programs in our communities for the adult learners who would like to raise their level of literacy, so we are pleased to be able to offer our first round of tutor training. Having trained tutors will enable us to offer free one-to-one tutoring for adults looking to improve their reading levels. Our first training session will begin on Saturday November 26th and I still have a few places open.”

The free Volunteer Tutor Training Program was designed by Louise Baumbrough, a BC Certified teacher specializing in teaching students with learning challenges.  Modelled after the Douglas College ICARE program, volunteers will receive 33 hours of free training at the Riverside Adult Education Centre and ongoing support as they work with an adult learner over the following year.

The bright yellow walls of the drop-in office provide a welcoming space where anyone can come for help with literacy issues. The CLC Learning Room offers a small lending library, reading and writing assistance, a Women’s English Group and access to free learning software on computers provided by the CEED Centre. “It is better than I could have hoped. This week alone, I have connected with two volunteers interested in our tutor training and two potential learners, one who came seeking assistance with a plethora of government forms,” said Yamamoto.

The CEED Centre is also host to a federally-funded Computer Access Program (CAP) site where people can come for free use of computers and the internet. There are also weekly Community Discussion meetings and a Saturday evening Community Dinner run by volunteers of St George’s Anglican Church.

Christian Cowley, the CEED Centre’s Executive Director (and Yamamoto’s husband) said he saw the Literacy Committee office as a perfect fit for the Centre which draws a diverse population that can connect to the Literacy Committee as volunteers or learners.

Anyone wanting more information on the Literacy programs can contact Elaine Yamamoto at 604 306-0627 or check out the website

NEW Women’s English Group

November 1st, 2011

The Community Literacy Group is pleased to tell  you that we have a start date for our Women’s ESL group. Our volunteer Nirmala Jacob is TESL trained and is hoping to be able to focus on women who have little or no English skills.

This is a great opportunity for women who wish to improve their English skills to meet other women from around the world over a cup of coffee or tea.  Join us on Tuesdays from 10 to 11:30 AM to improve your English language skills and make new friends in a supportive and encouraging environment.

Our first gathering will be November 8th at the Learning Room @the CEED Centre in Port Haney (see Women’s English Group Poster (final) for additional information).

For more information contact the Literacy Outreach Coordinator at 604 466 6275 or via email at  Looking forward to seeing you there.


Part of the Solution Campaign – Launches November 1st!

October 25th, 2011

There’s a very good chance that someone you know cannot read this article.  According to Literacy BC about 35% of working age adults are at the two lowest literacy levels (Literacy In BC Fact Sheet,  This means that one out of every three working age people in our community do not have the skills to function and thrive in our society.

The Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Community Literacy Committee (Literacy Committee) recognizes that because everyone is affected by literacy, we must all be part of the solution.

This awareness led to the Literacy Committee launching a new campaign called “Part of the Solution”.  The goals of the “Part of the Solution” campaign are: to increase understanding of the impact of literacy on our community; and to show how everyone has a role in supporting literacy.  The campaign consists of a business program and a literacy challenge.

“The Part of the Solution Campaign brings businesses and families together to improve literacy in our community by working together,” notes Dan Ruimy, Campaign Organizer.  “On the business front, the campaign connects the work of the Literacy Committee with the business community and engages them as active partners in the campaign to promote literacy.”

Local businesses are invited to become a Part of the Solution Partner by distributing free literacy related bookmarks and brochures to customers and clients.  In turn the Literacy Committee provides a “Part of the Solution” window decal that demonstrates that the business has community spirit and is investing in their community.  In addition, “Part of the Solution” Partners logos will be posted on the Literacy website with links to Partner websites

The second component of the Part of the Solution campaign tackles family literacy head on.  The Community Literacy Challenge is open to elementary students who go to school or live in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadow, or Katzie.  Participating families are asked to replace screen time with literacy activities on a daily basis. Families could choose to play a literacy based game, read together, or write a family biography.  Literacy activity ideas will be posted on this website.  Great prizes will be awarded throughout the campaign which runs from November 2011 to June 2012.  Be sure to get involved.

To learn more about how you can become Part of the Solution or to take part in the Community Literacy Challenge, contact the Community Literacy Committee Coordinator at 604.466.6275 ( or log onto to read up on the Part of the Solution and Community Literacy Challenge Campaign.  Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Community Literacy Committee is supported by Decoda Literacy Solutions and the Province of BC.  Thank you to our Sponsors Ridge Meadows Education Foundation, the Maple Ridge News, and Sharp’s Audio Visual for their support.