Professor Owl’s August 2012 Newsletter

Summer holidays are wrapping up and for many, school books will soon be a main focus!

This month Professor Owl has plenty to share with you including updates from our favourite organizations, interesting article, as well as our usual Professor Owl’s book recommendations!

Also, take Professor Owl’s reading challenge – write and let us know what books you are enjoying and win prizes. **Remember though you must let your parents know that you are writing to us…**

Do You Need Help with Homework?

Going back to school can be a lot of fun – seeing old friends and teachers, however, the one thing that most children do not like about going back to school is the homework.

Listed below are some websites that can help you with every subject – helping elementary and high school kids find what they need on the ‘net’. They cannot do your homework for you, but can offer great age-appropriate kid-friendly links to sites, by e-mail.

For parents…

August 2012 is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

 by Sylvia W. McGrath


August is already here and soon it will be the start of a new school year, which means back to school shopping.  Consider also making it a month for basic healthcare services such as dental cleanings, immunizations, a physical and eye exams.  It is a fact that younger school age children can benefit the most from these services.

Ages Zero to Five

Examinations and proper vision screening is essential for early detection and intervention of problems in children.

  • Newborn babies: should have their eyes checked before leaving the hospital. The examination in the nursery is for general eye health and includes a “red reflex test.”

The exam can help detect several congenital eye problems, some of which may lead to blindness.  As well as the above for babies from birth to age two, their pediatrician will use history and the above test results to determine whether or not vision problems exist.

  • Children ages 3 to 10: eye exams should include vision screenings to assess visual acuity and ocular alignment. If there is ever a concern during a vision screening, your child should be referred for a comprehensive eye examination by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

School-age Children

  • Once in school, more than 80 percent of early learning is visual. If your child is not performing well in school, don’t attribute it to lack of interest or laziness. In some instances, the problem could be vision related. The American Optometric Association and the Canadian Association of Optometrists indicate the most common vision problem is nearsightedness or myopia. However, some children may have other forms of refractive error like farsightedness and astigmatism. In addition, the existence of eye focusing, eye tracking and eye coordination problems may also affect school performance.

Therefore, sometimes when children have difficulty concentrating, it may be that they are unable to see well enough to follow along. Children do not understand that their inability to process information or see the chalkboard is related to their vision.  When this happens, they may develop poor self esteem, become frustrated with formalized education or even act out. Due to this, many children are mislabeled as having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) when, in reality they actually have an undiagnosed vision problem.

Vision is an essential part of learning and early intervention is the key to ensuring lifelong independence.  An undiagnosed visual impairment at an early can set a child back years in development in just a few short months.

Without good vision, a child’s ability to learn and their understanding the world around them suffers. Since many vision impairments begin at an early age, proper care and early detection is key to ensuring a lifetime of success and independence.

Ensure early detection by setting up an annual eye exam. If you notice any of the following problems with your child between appointments, see your regular eye doctor right away.

  • Frequent headaches
  • Seeing double
  • Frequent eye rubbing or blinking
  • An eye turning in or out
  • Covering one eye
  • Short attention span
  • Avoiding reading assignments
  • Holding reading materials close to the face
  • Losing his or her place when reading
  • Difficulty with reading retention

Do keep in mind that as your child progresses through school, the print in his or her textbook will decrease in size. They may also need to begin utilizing the chalkboard or a computer monitor for some assignments. Since vision can change frequently during the school years, one cannot stress enough the importance of the annual eye exam.

For more information: 

The Canadian Association of Optometrists (OAC) –

The American Optometric Association (AOA) –


Professor Owl’s Book Corner

Professor Owl’s Reading Challenge

Welcome, my name is Professor Owl.

On my face, there is never a scowl,

For you see I am a happy bird,

I can make a difference word by word.

I will teach you how to love to read,

And for today that’s my good deed.

In my corner, you will find,

Books and news of every kind.

I challenge you to read five pages a day,

And then you can go out play.

By Sylvia McGrath

Book of the Month

 August 2012

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier and Michael Page

Paperback ~ List Price: CDN$   9.50
Hardcover ~ List Price: CDN$ 14.44
Audio Book ~ List Price CDN$ 20.35

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes is the utterly beguiling tale of a ten-year-old blind orphan who has been forced into a life of crime. One fateful afternoon, Peter steals a mysterious box that contains three magical pairs of eyes. When he tries the first pair, he is instantly transported to a hidden island where he is presented with a special quest: to travel beyond the known world and rescue a lost kingdom from its treacherous ruler. With the help of the Fantastic Eyes and some unlikely friends, Peter embarks on an unforgettable, swashbuckling adventure to save a people in need—and to discover his true destiny. “Jonathan Auxier’s strange and inventive debut, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, is a beautiful adventure told in a dashing and assured voice. It’s ‘Little Nemo in Slumberland meets Oliver Twist’. I enjoyed it tremendously.” — Audrey Niffenegger, author of the bestseller The Time Traveler’s Wife

Professor Owl’s Book Corner would love to see more books like this – if you are a children’s writer writing for children with special needs, we would love to hear about your stories and feature them in our book corner.

Professor Owl’s Book Recommendations

Matilda’s Cat [Hardcover] by Emily Gravett (Author)

List Price: CDN$ 14.43

Climbing trees, playing with wool …Matilda is sure her cat will love these things, but he doesn’t seem very enthusiastic. Undaunted, she thinks up new ways to amuse her reluctant playmate. Tea parties? Dressing up? Or what about a nice bike ride? As the beleaguered cat goes from nonplussed to terrified, Matilda gets more and more frustrated. After all, what use is a pet if it doesn’t want to play? An insightful, fond and funny look at the relationship between a little girl and her cat, this is sure to strike a chord with anyone who’s ever been a devoted pet owner.

My First Bilingual Book – Numbers (English-Italian) [Board book] by Milet Publishing (Author)

List Price: CDN$ 8.95

Guaranteed to enrich a toddler’s vocabulary, this simple and fun series of bilingual board books is ideal for helping children discover a foreign language. Highlighting the two basic concepts of colors and numbers, this collection combines photographs and colorful illustrations. All images include the words in both English and the second language in clear, bold text. Suitable for toddlers on their own or in groups, these books are a child’s perfect introduction to exploring new languages.

Phineas and Ferb Chapter Book Box Set (Books 1-3) [Paperback] by Disney Book Group (Author)
List Price:CDN$ 13.99

This box set contains the first three chapter books in the best-selling Phineas and Ferb chapter book series: Speed Demons, Runaway Hit, and Wild Surprise. Each chapter book features black-and-white screen grabs straight from the show. Also included is a sheet of stickers, perfect for fans of the the hilarious hit show!

Michael Vey 2: Rise of the Elgen [Hardcover] by Richard Paul Evans (Author)

List Price: CDN$ 19.99

I rolled over to my back, struggling for breath. The pain continued to pulse through my body—a heavy throb followed by a sharp, crisp sting.The man said, “Trust me, there are worse things in this world than Cell 25.”Michael, Taylor, Ostin, and the rest of the Electroclan have escaped from the Elgen Academy in Pasadena and are headed back to Idaho to plan their next move. But what’s waiting for them there will change everything.

Smiley Book


Calling all budding book reviewers! Have you read a book recently that you think Professor Owl would enjoy?Please send in your reviews! Be sure to include the complete title of the book and the author’s name so that we can give proper credit! 🙂

Variety Village Logo

We Believe in our kids. And when you believe, children believe in themselves too!

For more than 60 years, Variety-The Children’s Charity Ontario has worked with young people with disabilities and those who face developmental barriers to achieve their life potential. With their flagship project Variety Village, they are a world recognized authority providing integrated sports and life skills programs, applied research and learning programs that change children’s lives and strengthen communities.They have achieved this reputation because of their ongoing work to better the lives of children and young people with disabilities.  They are active in the greater Toronto area and across Ontario.Over the past few years Professor Owl’s Book Corner usually showcase one of these heroes along with their stories and accomplishments.  Many have gone on to win medals at the Special Olympics.  We will be starting again with this feature soon, in the meantime, join them for their annual walk this fall.


The 6th Annual Walk Roll Run and Fun Fall Fair takes place on Sunday, October 28 2012.

Register now and start collecting your pledges!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Starts immediately after the race for participants.
Opens at 11:00am for the general public.

In the Variety Village Fieldhouse ~ Fun for all ages and abilities! Come to Variety Village and check it out! Bring the kids. Bring the grandparents and the neighbours. Have some howling Halloween fun and start your Christmas shopping early!

Farmer’s Market

Kids’ Activities

Crafter’s Market

Pie Baking Contest

Best Costume Contest

Pumpkin Patch Bouncy Inflatables

Kids’ Halloween Loot Bags

Food and loads of fun, fun, fun!

Admission: $5 per person or $20 per family (maximum 5 people).

Admission includes 1 food ticket & 1 drink ticket per person. Additional food/drink tickets available for purchase.

If you would like to purchase an exhibit table for the Crafter’s/Vendor’s Market,please contact Debbie Murray at 416.699.7167

x. 238  TTY 416-699-8147 or email

Please support Variety Village – the sport, fitness and life skills facility for people of all abilities.

Variety’s programs promote inclusion, awareness and adapted activities.

For more information or to make a donation, contact us at Variety Village
3701 Danforth Ave.
Scarborough, ON M1N 2G2
P: 416.699.7167 x 249
F: 416.699-4845

Allies Wish to meet Justin Bieber

Allie is a very outgoing 16-year-old girl from Metcalfe Ontario who became a part of Make-A-Wish® Eastern Ontario after she was referred to us by a social worker at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. When we first heard about Allie’s need for a wish, we learned that she suffered from Cystic Fibrosis and CF Diabetes. Allie takes at least 30 pills a day when she is healthy and works at least one hour each day with equipment to keep her lungs clear.

After Make-A-Wish learned that her biggest dream was to meet Justin Bieber our team got straight to work to make sure that it happened in a big way. Since Allie loves public speaking, and our Fifth Annual Three Wishes Gala was set to happen two days before the meeting date, we asked her to give a speech and make a video about what her wish was. Allie happily wrote a speech where she reconfirmed this is truly her wish:

“To think that one day I will meet Justin Bieber drives me insane!! If my wish came true, it would be the highlight of my life!” said Allie. “I will never look back at it and say: Wow, what was I thinking?! Because this is truly my wish.”At the end of her video, Make-A-Wish made a special surprise announcement in front of the whole room; in fact Justin Bieber sent us a video announcing to Allie that she was going to be meeting him in two days! She was all smiles and was crying tears of joy, when her wish granters took to the stage and gave her wish Itinerary, train tickets, concert tickets and of course an oversized basket of Justin Bieber goodies.

Allie left the next day by train to Montreal, Quebec where she was pampered at a salon with her sister and mother before they went for their big introduction. Justin Bieber was a little gentleman who spent a lot of time with Allie getting to know her. Justin pulled one of his newest Acoustic Guitars out of his stock, signed it and gave it to her. Make-A-Wish® is proud to say that thanks to the help of our network of volunteers, supporters and affiliates, Allie was able to “Share the Power of a Wish®!”

For information about Make-A-Wish® Canada  please contact them at

Make-A-Wish® Canada
4211 Yonge Street, Suite 520
Toronto, Ontario M2P 2A9

Phone Number:
Toll Free: 1-888-822-9474
General Email: nationaloffice@makeawish.ca

Conferences & Events  

To raise money to support our services for adults and children with disabilities across the country, we host numerous events throughout the year. From corporate band competitions to golf tournaments, there are many different exciting events you can participate in.Have some fun while making a difference!

Support and Share the events, programs and services of March of Dimes Canada 

Click here to download a full size, high quality pdf version: LaLimonada_2012_web



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