Every Child! Every Parent! Every Day! Read Aloud 15 Minutes!

Why Read Aloud?

The information below was copied from the Read Aloud website.

There is an easy way to improve your child’s chances at school. It will entertain and delight him. It will strengthen the bonds between him and you. And it is virtually free.

Sound too good to be true? Actually, it isn’t. The magical method: taking time to read aloud to your child.

In an era of high-stakes testing and education reforms and revolutions, research has repeatedly proved that one simple parenting technique is among the most effective. Children who are read aloud to by parents get a head start in language and literacy skills and go to school better prepared.

“Reading aloud to young children, particularly in an engaging manner, promotes emerging literacy and language development and supports the relationship between child and parent,” concludes a review in this month’s Archives of Disease in Childhood.

In other words, reading that bedtime story may not only entertain and soothe Johnny, it may also develop his vocabulary, improve his ability to learn to read, and – perhaps most important – foster a lifelong love of books and reading.

Developing that passion for reading is crucial, according to Jim Trelease, author of the best-seller, “The Read-Aloud Handbook.” “Every time we read to a child, we’re sending a ‘pleasure’ message to the child’s brain,” he writes in the “Handbook.” “You could even call it a commercial, conditioning the child to associate books and print with pleasure.”

This reading “commercial” is critical when competition for a child’s attention is so fierce. Between television, movies, the Internet, video games and myriad after-school activities, the pleasures of sitting down with a book are often overlooked. In addition, negative experiences with reading – whether frustrations in learning to read or tedious “skill and drill” school assignments – can further turn children off from reading.

That can have long-term consequences. As Mr. Trelease succinctly puts it in his handbook, “Students who read the most, read the best, achieve the most, and stay in school the longest. Conversely, those who don’t read much, cannot get better at it.”

Reading aloud is, according to the landmark 1985 report “Becoming a Nation of Readers,” “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading.”

Despite this advice, however, some educators and many parents don’t read aloud to children from a young age and thus fail to nurture avid and skilled readers. Indeed, this is especially true for children in low-income families. According to the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, only 48 percent of families below the poverty level read to their preschoolers each day, compared with 64 percent of families whose incomes were at or above the poverty level. Children from low-income families are also less likely to have exposure to print materials.

The good news for families is that this sage piece of parenting wisdom is easy to follow. Reading aloud to your child requires only a book – free, with a library card – and your willingness to spend a little quality time with your child. And while the sacrifices to read aloud are few, the benefits are many: Your child may learn to read better, think better, imagine more richly, and become a passionate and lifelong reader. More than these long-term benefits, however, are some more immediate: The pleasures of spending time with your child and sharing the enjoyment of a good book.



What’s Happening at Literacy for Life Foundation!

Check out our calander on our main page of the website for some exciting Canada 150 Celebration Events.  Join us for fun, activity and learning.

Did you know…

The Grate Groan Up Spelling Bee was a success.

Fun! Fun! Fun! Grate Groan Up Spelling Bee 2017!


Raffle Tickets for sale.  $10.00 a ticket. Win $3000.00 in Air Canada Gift Cards. Call office at 403.652.5090 or purchase at Studio D, The Shop or Highwood Museum for tickets.

Wonderful Cards for sale:

Do you need Greeting Cards?  NorthplusSouth, an Okotoks business, donated some wonderful good quality cards for our use.  Only $1.00 a card.  Select cards are by donation.  Choose from Christmas, Valentines, Easter, Thank you, Birthdays, Anniversary and much, much more.

November 15th – 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. Come out to our office for cards, chocolate and cookies.

Purchase them at #3 1204 – 10th St. SE, High River, Alberta.  (our office) Available during work days from Monday to Thursday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.


Conversation, Chocolate, Cookies and Cards

Book Bungalows

32 Book Bungalows have been adopted and distributed to good homes.   The Bungalows become the property of the individual or group that takes them and it will be their responsibility to maintain the books and the bungalow.

The Town of High River has created a map that shows all the locations of the Book Bungalows. The map is available on our website. Do you already own a little free library?  Would you like to be added to the map? Please contact the office with your address and contact information.

Highwood HighSchool Grade 10 Construction class constructed the Bungalows as a school project and did an awesome job. We are excited to partner with the young people at that school.   High River Home Hardware is a generous donor to this project as well as the High River Rotary, and the High River Vitality Fund. We also have had help from so many volunteers in our community. Delbert Moncrieff donated his time and truck to transport the bungalows to the Culture Centre.  The High River Firemen and Fred Stegmeier came out and helped move them into the Culture Centre.

Thank you Delbert

Awesome Volunteers
















Beelieve in the Importance of Literacy

Imagine if…

  •   you couldn’t understand what your doctor was telling you about your child’s illness?
  •   you couldn’t make sense of safety instructions at work?
  •   you couldn’t figure out how to complete a job application form?
  •   you didn’t know whether you were given the correct change?
  •   you couldn’t figure out the dosage on your prescription?
  •   you didn’t know what road signs meant?

These skills are vital for everyday life.  47% of Albertans has difficulty with everyday literacy activities creating vulnerable adults and families. Many people struggle with one, some, or all of them impacting the economic, social and emotional health of the individuals and their communities.

We beelieve in the value of literacy

Literacy for Life Foundation is in your community every day working with individuals and families building the skills needed for everyday living.

Join the Literacy for Life Foundation in our 1st annual Grate Groan-Up Spelling Bee fundraiser. Your support is vital to our success in continuing to offer sustainable, free and low-cost programs for all residents in the Foothills area.

The Councils of each of the Municipalities have entered a team in the event.  Their goal is to have fun, support a worthwhile cause, as well as promote healthy competition to win a prize for their community library and to be able to say they are “Grate Spellers”!

Support Literacy for Life and win funds for local libraries by donating here http://www.litforlife.com/events.htm

Enjoy this video of our bee, spotted at the Okotoks Kite Festival spreading word of Literacy for Life’s Grate Groan-Up Spelling Bee fundraiser.

Pick your town and library here http://www.litforlife.com/events.htm


bee kite videoAbout the Videographer

Go West Video Productions in independently owned and operated by Rikki Neukom of Okotoks, AB. Started in 2011, most videos she has produced have been Holiday Home and Show Suites Video Tours for the web. When asked if she could help out with The Grate Groan-Up Spelling Bee campaign Rikki was more than happy to as she has a real passion for reading.

Visit Go West Video Productions at www.facebook.com/gowestvideo.


About the co-author

Sandra McGrogan is a Builder/Facilitator with Literacy for Life and Chairperson for the Grate Groan-Up Spelling Bee Committee. She has been with Literacy for Life for 3 years. Her 2 passions are literacy and the theatre. She has acted and directed with Windmill Theatre Players since 1991. She currently has a one-act play that won Best Play, Best Director and Best Actress at the Regional One-Act Festival and will be entered in the Provincials on May long weekend to represent the Foothills Region.




Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless. ~Sherry Anderson

Literacy for Life thrives due to the work of volunteers. .  The organization is thankful for the dedicated volunteers that support the work of the society.  Each person brings skills; passion and dedication to helping people meet their literacy and learning potential.

This year, National Volunteer Week in Canada is April 21 – 27. It’s a week-long recognition and celebration of the commitment of the roughly 13.3-million volunteers across Canada.  Literacy for Life celebrates the commitment of volunteers that share themselves with the communities in the Foothills.Key to my heart

Volunteers are the key to the governance of the organization.  7 dedicated people devote hours to making sure Literacy for Life meets its mission and mandate. This is a tremendous responsibility.  Thank you to present and past Board members!

Volunteers are an important key to providing our programs.  Thank you to the Learning Coaches (tutors), group facilitators, Dog Tale volunteers and their dogs and all the people that sew bags and stuff the bags and envelopes for the Books for Babies Program.

Volunteers are an important key to fundraising!  Thank you to the casino workers, fund raising committee, and all volunteers that have worked to ensure funds are available to do the work in the community.

Volunteering is an accepted part of being a staff member.  Not because they are made to but because they know it helps the people they serve. Thank you to our staff that provides service above and beyond.

The First Ever Grate Groan up Spelling Bee in the West is happening as a fundraiser for Literacy for Life.  This event would not happen without volunteers.  Volunteers are needed to organize, promote, put on the event and participate in the event.  Thank you to the Spelling Bee Committee and Sandra McGrogan (chair), the Municipal Councils of High River, Okotoks, Black Diamond, Turner Valley and the MD of Foothills and to our very own BEEs – Naydene and Dianne!Bee Logo - no words

Our volunteers work in many ways to improve the lives of so many, so it’s important to say thank-you.

You can never say that enough.

To be a volunteer, it takes…

Generosity, a willingness to give your time to others
Understanding, because their lives might be very different from your own
Empathy, an ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and feel what they must feel
Compassion, to truly care about making someone else’s life better
Patience, because the process doesn’t always go as smoothly as it might
Dedication, to stick with the project and see it through

You’ve shown these qualities and so much more, so thank you for all that you do.


More buzz about our GRATE Bee-vent


Spelling Bee Logo

More buzz about our GRATE BEE-vent

Sandra headshot cmyk sized for print  Sandra Wiebe, Judge

Sandra Wiebe is the sole owner and publisher of Routes magazine, an arts and culture magazine for southern Alberta. She began the magazine almost 5 years ago after completing a bachelor of communications in journalism at Mount Royal University.

As a journalist and lover of the printed word, Sandra is pleased to be supporting this fundraiser for Literacy for Life.

Jessica Patterson  Jessica Patterson, Judge

Jessica Patterson is the editor of Okotoks Living magazine. She has been spelling properly since Grade 4, when she misspelled “area” and lost the class title of “Best Speller.”

Jessica is also an experienced freelance writer, columnist, photographer and proofreader. She has written hundreds of articles on a wide range of subjects and has seen her byline appear in print and online.

She is supporting this fundraiser for literacy because she believes everyone has it in them to be good at spelling. Literacy is one of the most important life skills and a tool of personal empowerment.

And also…

According to the International Board on Books for Young People, “literacy is born from the human need to tell stories, to tell stories about one self or about others, to tell stories about the world to better understand our existence, the others and the universe we live in. All the stories, the myths, the fables and the novels, including those addressed to children are, in fact, the result of this wish and this basic need: they help us to live, to survive; they help us grow and develop.”

I support Literacy for Life as it strives to further the sharing, reading, and telling, of stories.

Doris Workman photo  Doris Daley, Judge

Doris Daley is a self-described lover of words and makes her living on stages throughout North America as one of the Canada’s leading writers and reciters of western poetry.  Many part time jobs keep her hopping, all related to the written word: proofreading, freelance writing and shifts at the Sheep River Library.

“Literacy is to my life what breathing is to my lungs,” she says. “I’d surely tip over if I couldn’t read.”

Currently on her bedside table is a collection of Australian poetry classics, a cupcake recipe book, Beau Geste by PC Wren, the Bulk Barn coupon flyer, a thesaurus, a rhyming dictionary and the current issue of Horses All.

 Pat Fream  Pat Fream, Time Keeper

Pat Fream is a freelance writer and copy editor for Routes Magazine. When she’s not writing from her sunny hilltop home near Dewinton, Pat is cooking endlessly for her ravenous teenagers, reading splendid books, volunteering at hospice or traversing the countryside on foot with her pal Tucker. Pat has a communications degree and nearly a quarter of a century of writing experience.

Pat is excited to be a part of this fun event for Literacy for Life.

A big thank you to our media sponsors

AM logo 1  Sun logo 1 high river online

Go West Video Productions

How can you help your community win the prize?

You community will be going head to head against groan-ups in your rival community in a Spelling Bee competition that will raise funds to support literacy and learning programs in the Foothills. For the teams that raise the most donations, 2nd place, and third place, a significant prize will be awarded to the local library of their choice.

Each of these 5 teams represents a Municipal Council which includes Okotoks, High River, Black Diamond, Turner Valley and the MD of Foothills #31.

Go to your team’s giving page and support your team

  1. Town of High River
  2. Town of Black Diamond
  3. Town of Okotoks – The Big Rockies
  4. Town of Turner Valley
  5. MD of Foothills #31

Want more information contact s.stegmeier@litforlife.com or call Sue Stegmeier at 403- 652-5090.

All proceeds from the Grate Groan-Up Spelling Bee go to our Literacy Programs

47% of Albertans have difficulty with literacy that interferes in their day to day life. You can help us make a difference.

We rely on fundraising activities, grants and donations to meet the needs of our community. You can help by making a pledge, being a sponsor, setting up a giving page, supporting a team.

Donate now through Canada Helps

Thanks for getting involved with Literacy for Life

Please use the social sharing tools below to share this announcement and get your community buzzing about the Grate Groan-Up Spelling Bee! Search #GGSpellBee on Twitter and Pinterest.


News From the Hive

Spelling Bee Logo

We have some GRATE things happening in the HIVE! 

John Barlow
John Barlow of the Okotoks Western Wheel, Bee-Master of Ceremonies 

Editor and Associate Publisher Okotoks Western Wheel
Married to Louise Barlow, three children (Graeden, Kinley and McKenna)

John is a journalist who has been involved in the publishing industry for more than 20 years. His passion for promoting literacy in our communities is the reason why he is excited to support Literacy for Life and its various programs including the Spelling Bee.

John expressed that it is important that children, teenagers and adults alike have the opportunity to enjoy the drama, adventure and emotions reading can provide. Promoting literacy is an essential key to opening the door to what can be a life-long love of reading.

Darrel Janz 2012
Darrel Janz of CTV, Master Bee Pronouncer

From 1973 – 2012 Darrel anchored the CTV Calgary 6PM News. He now anchors weekends and does a weekly feature entitled “Inspired”.

Darrel supports this event for literacy because to him the ability to read and write is absolutely essential. Writing and reading has been his life and his livelihood. He is grateful that his parents put a great deal of emphasis on reading good books and is sure that his family  were one of the few families in their little farming community in Saskatchewan with subscriptions to Time,  Sports Illustrated and Life Magazines, as well as numerous farm periodicals. When Darrel wasn’t doing chores or playing hockey his nose was always in some kind of reading material.

It paid off, because he had a very satisfying career in broadcast journalism for over half a century.

 Danielle Smith Headshot                                           
Danielle Smith, Honorary Chair for the BEE

Danielle Smith, MLA for Highwood and Leader of the Official Opposition Wildrose Party is the Honourary Chair for Literacy for Life’s 1st Annual Grate groan Up Spelling bee, June 7, 2013.

Danielle’s love for the written word began in high school and she graduated from the University of Calgary with a BA in Economics and a BA in English.  She is a particular fan of classic English novelists like Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy and Somerset Maugham.   Robertson Davies is her favourite Canadian novelist and she likes some of Margaret Atwood’s work.

Danielle and her husband David live in High River with their well walked dog Caine and new puppy Colt.

Danielle is thrilled to be the Honourary Chair of the Grate Groan-up Spelling Bee, an event that represents her own passion for words and supports an organization that shares her commitment to lifelong learning as it reaches out and provides literacy and education programs for both young and old.

A big thank you to our media sponsors

AM logo 1  Sun logo 1  high river online

How to BEEcome involved in the BEE

Make a pledge

Be an event sponsor

Set up a giving page to support your Municipal Council and local library. Click on this link Canada Helps and set up a giving page.

Go to your team’s giving page and support your team

  1. Town of High River
  2. Town of Black Diamond        
  3. Town of Okotoks – The Big Rockies
  4. Town of Turner Valley
  5. MD of Foothills #31

Want more information contact s.stegmeier@litforlife.com or call Sue Stegmeier at 403- 652-5090.

All proceeds from the Grate Groan-Up Spelling Bee go to our Literacy Programs

Who Benefits from the Bee? Children. Families. Our Community.

Literacy for Life Foundation provides literacy programming to all residents of the MD of Foothills No. 31.  From birth to preschool, school-age to adult, families and seniors. They are provided at little to no cost to the learner, family or community agency.

  • Family in-home sessions for healthy learning ideas
  • Group rhyming sessions for infants, parents and seniors
  • Adult lifelong learning workshops and tutoring
  • English Language Learning for families and adults
  • Essential skills and workplace literacy training

47% of Albertans have difficulty with literacy that interferes in their day to day life. You can help us make a difference.

We rely on fundraising activities, grants and donations to meet the needs of our community. You can help by making a pledge, being a sponsor, setting up a giving page, supporting a team.

Donate now through Canada Helps

Thanks for getting involved with Literacy for Life

Please use the social sharing tools below to share this announcement and get your community buzzing about the Grate Groan-Up Spelling Bee!  Search #GGSpellBee on Twitter and Pinterest.