Christine Barker and I travelled with DeBeers promoting literacy in eight NWT communities, as well as at the Gahcho Kué mine this spring. It was a wonderful experience to visit some communities I’d never been to before, and to meet with children and educators.
We visited Gamètı̀, Whatı̀, Wekweeti, Behchokǫ̀, Łutselk’e, Ndılǫ, Dettah, Fort Resolution, and Hay River with the DeBeers Books in Homes program. The program gave out 6,900 books to 1,800 students in 14 different schools this year. Since the program launched in 2003, DeBeers has distributed more than 50,000 books to NWT residents.
The Books in Homes program works like a traveling book fair. Books are set up on several different tables and each student in the community picks out three free books to take home. This was my first year participating in this program, and I enjoyed seeing students pick out books and immediately sit down on the floor and begin to read, laugh and share their books with their classmates.
Our role in the Books in Homes visits was to offer different literacy games or activities that promote reading and learning. Our Story Walks and bookmark making sessions were the most popular.
We also did a family literacy program at Gahcho Kué mine site. Parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles and anyone else who was interested was invited to pick out free books to take home, and create a recording of themselves reading the books they had picked out. This way parents who work away from home for extended periods of time never have to miss another bedtime story!
DeBeers also provided 700 books to Stanton Territorial Hospital Foundation. This will allow each baby born at the hospital during 2018 to go home with a new book.
— Charlotte Upton, Family and Community Literacy Coordinator