Creative ways to teach teens!

6 10 2016
ca-roule-poster2Kids learn best when they are having fun. No surprise or secret here.  One innovative approach in Victoria, BC, Canada was a project to encourage more kids to listen to  French.  On the West Coast of Canada the chance of hearing French is pretty slim or rare.  However, being the second official language in Canada, it’s important to encourage young students to study and speak French as well as English.
A group of Grade 7 students were challenged to develop their own teen radio show – in French!  The goal was to encourage more kids in Victoria, BC, Canada to listen and speak French.  This was an exciting project that commenced with brainstorming sessions with the Radio station Director and producers to come up with the name, format and content.
Once the name, Ca Roule!, was agreed upon, the students selected topics that were of strong interest to them.  It would mean they would be able to speak passionately about the subjects.  They choose Video Games (what teen doesn’t like playing those!), Sport, Music, Cooking and Books.  In addition, to writing their scripts, seeking out people to interview they also were able to select French music to be played live on air.  They had great fun seeking our both Canadian French and French artists online to share.
They found an older student who served as their MC to glue each section together.  Best of all, they found you could buy online, soundbites that added an extra bling to the overall production of the show.  Finally, one of the students’ fathers, was able to compose a signature tune for their unique production.  Indeed, he helped the students with the major editing and production of the final program.  A job that would be challenging for most!  The show was a success with many local schools in Victoria tuning in to listen, or downloading the show for sharing later with their students.  Local press also enjoyed learning about this ambitious project – see here.
All their hard word paid off, as they were invited to make four pilot shows that were aired live during the summer months.  The show now exists online for anyone to download to listen.
The project is now being extended to High School students to continue the format.
This idea can be expanded for any topic. Consider getting your students to be “junior reporters” and write their dream interview. You could always video and host on a private “YouYube” post!
Please share your creative ideas on getting kids to read and write more!
Listen & discover #CaRoule podcasts, anytime via (Link to be added).
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Free books in Valbonne to celebrate World Book Day

7 03 2013

Hot on the heels of World Read Aloud Day (6 March) we are celebrating World Book Day today – 7 March 2013.  Now in its 16th year, World Book Day was designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and is marked in over 100 countries around the globe.

There are many exciting events being staged around the world: Storytelling workshops, money off coupons, open house at libraries, author signings etc.

For those based in the south of France, The English Book Centre, Valbonne will be celebrating this unique event on Thursday, Friday and Saturday 7-9th March. 

To encourage more children to explore the pleasures of books and reading, they will be giving a FREE book to any child or teenager who comes to the bookshop during those three days.

Join in the biggest bookshop event in the world!





World Read Aloud Day 2013 – what are you reading?

6 03 2013

Did you know that 774 million* people in our world, cannot read…  And 66% of the world’s illiterate are female?  

Our entire civilization is at stake when girls are prevented from accessing the right to read and write.  All girls must be able to read and write their names, read their medicine bottles, vote, go to school and college, and have the freedom to work,

Based on World Bank research and economic data and UNESCO education statistics, it estimates the economic cost to 65 low and middle income and transitional countries of failing to educate girls to the same standard as boys as a staggering US$92 billion each year.  Let’s repeat that fact; the failure to offer girls the same educational opportunities as boys costs developing countries almost $100 billion each year in lost economic growth.

*These facts are confirmed  by my source: U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy – Date Verified: 2.20.2012.

Reading educates and empowers people – both women and men.  Family poverty hits girls hardest as they are pushed to find work to support their family.   Girls drop out of school more – with a 29% decrease in primary school completion for girls versus 22% for boys.  With no ability to read, people cannot learn and this disability typically results in a life of  poverty, disadvantage or crime.  This trend is confirmed by reviewing, for example, the percent of prison inmates, in the USA who can’t read is 63%.

Reading workshopImagine a world where everyone can read…

If this was true, how could reading improve the lives of street children, children in conflict with the law and children in the worst forms of child labour?  Many children have multiple problems and belong to more than one category or move between categories over time. Many of the root causes and factors that impact on the lives of these children are similar – namely poverty and this drives lack of education and opportunities many take for granted.

With those sobering thoughts in mind I call everyone to celebrate by arranging to read aloud, give away a book, or taking action in any way you can.

As a children’s book writer, I ask that you celebrate World Read Aloud Day on 6 March 2013.

World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.

By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world.

As a young girl, I can never remember my father without at least a book or newspaper – often both – in his hands. He would read to us, tell us stories and sing songs each night as he put us to bed with my mother.  He encouraged my brother and I to visit the library each week, and we were given a free reign to choose any book to take home to read. He allowed us to select our favourite comics at the newsagent, and set up a regular home delivery each week, so that we did not miss out on our favourite stories or pop-world gossip.  This style of reading was fun – it was different from the forced reading we had to do at school, and yes, this approach assisted me to love reading.

That’s why I was so keen that I would follow my father’s example and ensure my kids took up his love – to read books. As soon as they could hold anything, I thrust black and white board books into their hands. I followed this up with the full range of wonderful look and feel books that exist, and ensured that they were read to each night. Now to my delight, they love books as much as my husband and I and of course, their late Grandad.

March 6th would have been my father’s 76th birthday.  I think he would love to know that his birth date has been chosen as World Read Aloud Day.

A love of reading is one of the greatest gifts you can give to any child – take a moment to determine how you can pass on this wonderful gift to children in your life.

Take action for the Global Literacy Movement!

Please link to the site below if you are interested in launching a LitClub in your community: for Girls or Boys, or for Mothers.

If you would like to register for World Read Aloud Day, coming up on March 6, 2013, click here.

– See more at: http://litworld.org/actnow/#sthash.f6PXMZbF.dpuf

“Together we can change the world, story by story.”




Early Learner Picture book to help make reading fun and assist Orangutan Charities

9 09 2012

8 September 2012.  In the week that will celebrate International Literacy Week and also see the British royal couple, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, visit the largest remaining rainforest in Borneo, children’s author, Sandra Arthur will release her latest early learner picture book, Crocodile Attack, from her series: Radio Ron’s Postcards from Borneo.

Crocodile Attack features Borneo’s rainforest as its backdrop for the curious story of “Radio Ron” (a Royal Air Force Radio Technician) who takes a journey with Dayak tribes-people.  This is a vivid, fun and thought-provoking adventure book for children under nine years that is also proving popular with children who are learning English as a second language.  The story is a work of fiction, but was written as a tribute to the author’s father, who was with the British Royal Air Force in Borneo during the mid 1960’s.

This humorous picture book, illustrated by British artist Lisa Williams, will appeal to all children, young and old.  At the same time, readers will learn interesting facts about the endangered orang utans (orang-utans) of Borneo.  The book is completed with environmental information and parent and educator notes, for a lively reading and educational experience.   Whilst the story is fiction, the background to the light-hearted story is based on historical events.

As children develop their own reading skills they can catch up on the adventures of “Radio Ron” in a junior fiction book, Cpl Ron’s Borneo Warrior Rescue, that has received accolades worldwide.

Sandra commented, “As book lovers around the world celebrate International Literacy Day I hope that my book will be picked up by parents and educators in their quest to help children develop a passion for books.  Learning to read is one of the biggest milestones young children face.  By offering a fun approach to early reading practice, I hope my work may encourage a life long love affair with reading and books (whether on an electronic screen or paper).   I’m delighted to say that my Radio Ron stories are already known around the globe via a great project called Educate Earth (see note below).

My book may be a young child’s first introduction to environmental issues.  I believe that children who learn about environmental issues will become more conservation-conscious, develop empathy for such issues, and grow up to become informed adults.”

This book also includes games, puzzles and suggested classroom activities. The story offers many of the high frequency words children learn between ages five to nine. There are also a number of “word builders” to help children increase their vocabulary.

Lisa Williams remarked, “I think this book offers young children a great way to discover a little about the oldest rainforest in the world.  I had great fun drawing the images and developing the games.  I have learnt so much about orang-utans and hope teachers and parents will use this material to engage and inform their children whilst having fun learning to read.”

This new book is now available on lulu.com as a paperback, hardcover, ebook (pdf) and later on iTunes as a special ebook with voice-over and music for an upbeat reading experience.

Sales of this book will also support Orang-utan Charities

Why help the orang-utans?

Due entirely to human activity, the population of orang-utans in  Borneo is now only 12% of what it was less than a century ago.  Due to logging and palm oil production these great apes are losing their natural habitat and could face extinction in the wild by 2022.

Orang-utans are known as keystone species and extremely important in retaining the biodiversity within the Borneo rainforest.

When a keystone species decline or they completely disappear, the survival and abundance of many other species in that ecosystem are negatively impacted.  Their protection is vital to the overall health of the lowland forest ecosystem in which they thrive. In contrast, the vitality of the orang-utan population will only flourish if their forest home is kept undisturbed and intact.

How is Sandra Arthur’s Radio Ron Postcards from Borneo helping to educate people who can’t normally afford to buy their own books?

An Australian entrepreneur selected Radio Ron’s Postcard from Borneo to be part of a new educational DVD for distribution to families around the globe.

Called “Educate Earth” a group of education clips from YouTube (with author permission) and other sources was compiled onto a DVD that was supplied to impoverished communities in Kisii in Kenya, Adum-Kumasi in Ghana and Vanuatu, an island is the South Pacific. Other locations will be added over time.

The hope of this project is that wherever there is access to a portable dvd player, laptop or TV (such as in a school, hospital, health centre, doctors waiting rooms etc) individuals can watch and secure an education without even attending school. Many poor people in these regions cannot afford an education.

Educate Earth DVDs were shared with parents to help them educate their children, if they cannot afford to send them to school.  At the same time, the range of stories included on the DVD are equally entertaining for adults who may have missed out on schooling and thus can learn by watching them with their children.

How will Literacy Week will be supported by Sandra Arthur?

Sandra Arthur has planned a series themed readings at local schools, bookshops and kids clubs in the south of France, Kingston ON, Canada and potentially UK (to be announced) not only in during literacy week but throughout the fall period.

Where can you preview the Radio Ron’s series of books?

Link to lulu’s website here – the title is available as paperback, hard cover, ebook and epub with audio.

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/SandraArthurBooks

 

What is International Literacy Week

International Literacy Day, traditionally observed annually on September 8, focuses attention on worldwide literacy needs.  More than 780 million of the world’s adults (nearly two-thirds of whom are women) do not know how to read or write, and between 94 and 115 million children lack access to education.

Why 8 September?

In September 1966 the World Conference of Ministers of Education on the Eradication of Illiteracy was held in Tehran, Iran. September 8, the opening date of the conference, was proclaimed International Literacy Day. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) inaugurated its official observance of International Literacy Day in 1967.

Coinciding with the beginning of a new school year in many countries, International Literacy Day is an ideal time to recognize the role literacy plays in everyone’s life. A growing number of International Reading Association Honour Councils involve their members and communities in activities at the state and provincial levels. Many national affiliates celebrate the day by presenting awards or organizing events. Classroom teachers, librarians, clubs, and communities use this unique day to create and further literacy action and partnerships

To find out more about International Literacy Day, visit UNESCO at www.unesco.organd the International Reading Association at http://www.reading.org.

For materials to help you celebrate International Literacy Day, visit the

International Literacy Day page at http://www.reading.org.





Supporting Orangutan Charities via book sales

5 08 2012

Supporting Orangutan charities

My family travelled to East Malayisa (Sabah), one the third largest islands in the world, Borneo back in 2010.  We are all orangutan crazy, and were keen to see these amazing primates, in their habitat, before it was too late.

We took a cruise along the Sungai Kinabatangan river – the longest river in Sabah. We were rewarded by being able to see crocodiles, various snakes, many proboscis monkeys, long tailed and pig tailed macaques, wild pigs, and a wide range of birds including hornbill, storks, snake birds and eagles. We marvelled at the colourful butterflies that fluttered around but sadly no orang utans were spotted in the tree tops. Certainly elusive and difficult to observe in the wild, but becoming a rare treat as they systemically lose their habitat each year.  We therefore headed to a special Orangutan Centre called Sepilok, to learn more about their important work.  As my sons had adopted two of the Sepilok babies: Michelle and Ceria we had an added incentive to visit.

You might be surprised to learn that the second most popular tourist spot in Malaysia is the Sepilok Rehabiliation Centre For Orangutans – and yet few European (and no north Americans) are seen wandering around the centre.   I did note that people from Australia/Korea/Japan and other asian locations, formed the majority of visitors.   The plight of the orangutans is thankfully becoming known around the world, due in part to a wonderful BBC series called Orangutan Diaries and work led by many UK charities.

Still a relatively poor country (Sabah) tourism is slowly taking off and some wonderful 5 star hotels can be found on the west coast of KK and luxury eco cabins are being built, to attract the more discerning eco traveller.

I wrote the following blog report in 2011, that covers my experience of visiting the Orangutans at Sepilok.   The information is still valid and makes interesting reading if you wish to learn more about this unique land and primate.

In my small way, I am trying to help the plight of the orangutans (facing lose of habitat etc) by raising funds for charity via sales of my books.  I currently have the following books available on lulu.com:

Early Learning Reader:-

Short stories/Illustrated books for 4-9 years
-Orang Utan to the Rescue
-Crocodile Attack (due September 2012)

Jungle adventure for Boys and Eco-Warriors
-Cpl Ron’s Borneo Warrior Rescue

https://myglobaleventreports.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/christmas-with-sepilok-orang-utans/





Unique opportunity to observe orangutans in the wild

1 04 2012

It’s a small world! I was fund raising for the orangutans and promoting my kid’s books, Radio Ron’s Postcards from Borneo and a new historical fiction, Corporal Ron’s Borneo Warrior Rescue at an international school event in France, when my Lithuanian friend, Agne, who was helping me, told me about her “famous” relative. It turned out that her husband’s Aunt is Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas! Dr Galdikas has studied orangutans longer than any other person in human history and has worked ceaselessly to save orangutans and forests, and to bring orangutans and their plight to the attention of the world. For almost four decades Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas has studied and worked closely with the orangutans of Indonesian Borneo in their natural habitat, and is today the world’s foremost authority on the orangutan. I had known about Orangutan Foundation International, but never really researched the background to this charity.

Having achieved my own trip of a lifetime back in December 2010, to observe the wonderful orangutans in their unique home, Borneo, how I wished I’d known about the following eco-trips with a naturalist expert, could be available. For anyone interested to learn more about the amazing country of Borneo and at the same time to see, perhaps for the last time in the wild, the wonderful Great Apes – orangutans, the Orangutan Foundation International are arranging four special trips in 2012. These shy, majestic creatures are facing loss of habitat due to deforestation, forest fires, palm oil production and illegal pet trades. A number of international charities, such as OFI are working hard to help the orangutans, but sadly it appears to be a difficult battle, as their numbers continue to decline, year after decline. There are now around 6000 orangutans left in Sumatra and figures for the whole of Borneo are sketchy with numbers estimated between 25,000 – 40,000.

These four special trips in 2012 with Dr. Galdikas as your own personal naturalist, are a must do trip for anyone interested in Orangutans. Dr Galdikas will give her insights into the orangutan’s natural history and behavior and share her adventures working with this incredible species for over 40 years. Spaces for each trip are limited to 13 individuals and they will fill quickly. If you are interested in joining one of our tours please contact Irene Spencer for availability: irene@orangutan.travel or telephone number +1 619-574-1371 in San Diego, California, USA.

Back in 1971, Biruté Galdikas arrived in one of the world’s last wild places, Tanjung Puting Reserve in Borneo. There were no telephones, roads, electricity, television, or regular mail service. The reserve was being logged and the laws protecting wildlife were not enforced. The rhinoceros had already been hunted into extinction in the area. At this time, very little was known about orangutans in the wild.

Despite these conditions and a number of people that said it could not be done, Dr. Galdikas developed the first comprehensive study of the wild orangutan. Through this work, Dr. Galidkas created Camp Leakey, the site of the longest continuous study on any primate. She has also protected one of last havens for orangutans in Borneo despite the tremendous pressures from illegal logging and mining interests.

During this trip, you will visit the sites of Dr. Galdikas’ work including her famous research site at Camp Leakey and the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine Facility, which houses over 330 orangutan orphans. Dr. Galdikas will share with you her expertise in the areas of primatology, anthropology, and conservation. As the world’s leading expert in orangutan behavior, you will come away with insights into one of human’s closest living relatives. You will also spend time along riverways and walking through the forest in search of some of the most amazing wildlife on the planet including proboscis monkeys, barking deer, rhinoceros hornbills, and Bornean wild pigs.

Having visited the northern part of Borneo, in Sabah, where I was lucky to observe not only orangutans, but also the endangered proboscis monkey and much more, I would highly recommend this trip to anyone interested not only in nature, but also for those who genuinely may be interested to help the plight of these fantastic animals.

The trip application can be downloaded at http://www.orangutan.travel





The Road to Literacy: Strategies for Parents and the Pre Reader

20 09 2011

Sandra Arthur warmly welcomes this viewpoint from teacher, Angela Jackson (originally featured at www.SandraArthurBooks.com)

“So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray,

Go throw your TV set away,

And in its place you can install

A lovely bookshelf on the wall.”


“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by
Roald Dahl

Learning to read is the most important skill any child will acquire during primary education; if a child can’t read, he can’t do anything. He can’t read text books; he can’t read the instructions in a maths exercise: he can’t read a book for pleasure. His or her progress is compromised from the very beginning of his school life. As parents there are many, many strategies we can adopt in our daily lives that will ease the transformation from a non reader to a competent reader. Think caterpillars and butterflies!

1. The first tip is a no-brainer really. Talk to the baby; talk to the small child. I used to feel an idiot chattering away to my baby as we tackled the weekly shop but naming objects helps the baby and later the small child to acquire a large and rich vocabulary. Being familiar with lots of words on starting school, will give the child a great advantage.

2. From the age of 6 months, look at books with the baby. Point out objects; talk about what’s happening in the pictures. Babies enjoy bright colours and simple drawings and the warm, cosy parent-child moment will create the right associations in the child’s mind.

3. Think about singing songs and rhymes to increase a child’s vocabulary. Remember that children need to hear language from people. To a baby, television is just noise.

4. Point out written signs. Stress the importance of the written word

5. Another no brainer: show your child that you value reading, that books are important to you. Have books and magazines around the house. Let your child see you reading books, newspapers and magazines.

6. Treat books respectfully, reverently. Don’t allow the child to draw on reading books. Teach him to turn the pages carefully. Encourage him/her to keep the books and, later, drawing materials in a special place.

7. If there’s a library near you then it’s a good idea to join it. Many libraries and some book shops hold regular story hours and staff are often trained to advise readers on ways to use books creatively.

8. Find time to read a bedtime story every night. Apart from encouraging a love of books, it also sets the scene for a calm bedtime.

While committed, conscientious parents do all this on a regular basis, it’s also worth mentioning not to push too hard and to enjoy the voyage of discovery.