Laubach Literacy Program ~ Shanda’s Story. #WATWB

The #WATWB was created as a mission to negate the overwhelming negativity that has been present in our social media streams. For every negative news story in the world, there are plenty of positive, uplifting stories that show hope, compassion and the resiliency of everyday people who face insurmountable challenges. Our hope is to share heartwarming stories that lift the human spirit.

The last Friday of every month bloggers will share their stories led by five co-hosts, this month’s co-hosts are Simon Falk, Inderpreet Kaur Uppal, Mary J. Giese, Peter Nena and Belinda Witzenhausen.





The most rewarding volunteer work I had ever done was to become tutor for the Laubach Literacy program.  I received so much satisfaction and pleasure when my students reached the goals they set for themselves. The stories for most of my students had a happy ending just like Shanda’s below.

 Shanda’s Story: My Second Chance

 Shanda’s life had  been affected from childhood with reading and spelling problems and she was pegged as a troubled teen.  However, her story started in high school, she seldom attended classes as her reading skills were such an embarrassment, it made her hate school.

Her last memory of school is one that has continuously haunted her; it was in her grade ten cooking class.  The teacher announced that everyone would participate in reading through a story about salmonella poisoning. She assigned parts of the story to each student and it was to be read aloud.  Although she pleaded with the teacher who was insistent that she should read her part. At this time her classmates started laughing she was so embarrassed she walked out of the class and that was one of the last days she attended that school.

Since she had dropped out of school and was without responsibility, her Mom felt it was time for me to get a job.  Her Mom had talked to her boss at work; who agreed to give her  a job in his factory. She took this job gladly. She would have never been able to make a proper resume or fill out a job application. With this job came more responsibilities, Shanda was to pay her Mom rent and gas money for rides to work. At this time she was only fifteen years old and had never had to be this accountable before. As life went on, and years had passed her by she had been through a few different jobs, and never really liked any of them.

She became a mother at the young age of 18, and had no choice but to keep jobs she didn’t like. Often her reading problems would interfere with the jobs.  She believed this is what caused her to dislike her jobs even more. How could someone who was hiding the fact that she couldn’t read, ever feel comfortable in a work environment?

Once her child became of school age, she really started to dread the fact that her daughter would soon start to figure out that her Mommy wasn’t able to read. She couldn’t imagine herself trying to explain to a four year old that she couldn’t read and knew something had to be done.

The next step was to admit her problem to others and try to find help. After some searching to the best of her abilities at the time, and ended up finding a private tutor.  This only lasted a few months, due to the fact that the cost to have her help was just too much for her to afford.

At this point she had quit a job working for a collections agency. She had a hard time keeping up with the reading that was required.  Quitting it was not easy on her home life. She had no income and that alone was a huge problem. If it wasn’t for her Mom helping she would have been without a place for both her and daughter to live. She found herself falling into depression

After a few months of not having income, she had no choices, but go get help from social assistance or having no place to live.  Her Mom could no longer provide for her and her daughter, so she did what she had to do. She was really that she had to go this way, but she soon realized this could  be her second chance and she was fortunate enough to have social workers who were kind and willing to help as much as possible.

Her second chance came when she had a conversation with a worker about the possibility of a future with a grade twelve. The worker referred me to a program that social assistance runs called  the L.E.A.P. program. During the meeting with a L.E.A.P counsellor we discussed where she would begin. She would have to be assessed and then improve basic literacy skills first.

This program helps young people with children reach their goals of furthering their education. Before she could ever think about entering a credit program, she first had to correct her reading difficulties. During a meeting with a L.E.A.P. counsellor  discussed where she would be able to go to receive help. This is when she was introduced to the Adult Literacy & Basic Skills Program.

Her first day in the classroom was somewhat nerve-wracking, but this feeling soon faded away. The classroom environment was so much different from anything she had ever seen before. Everyone was welcoming and accepting of each other, also willing to help one another when needed.

Shanda has spent over a year and a half in this program and doing things she never thought she was capable of. Currently attempting to complete a G.E.D online preparation course. Her goal is to get a G.E.D. diploma and to find something that would help her to have a career that will be enjoyable, and allow her to provide for her child.


For more information or to join our #WATWB please click here! 

April 2017 Newsletter


Welcome Back our new and improved Professor Owl’s Book Corner where in addition to supporting those with special needs and learning challenges, we are also committed to being more focused on YA/New Adult reading and literacy.  We will be featuring tips from a certified literacy tutor to help make your reading experience the best it can be.

We will also be encouraging young writers and artists with tips, writing exercises and will still be updating our Community News Boards with the latest news from Variety Village and The March of Dimes.

Professor Owl’s Book Corner hopes you enjoy our new format! Please feel free to give us your feedback on our new issue, also send us any ideas you may have to help Professor Owl’s Book Corner be all that it can be.  We look forward to hearing from you and to bring you a new, more interesting newsletter.


Sunday, April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day!

Light It Up Blue & WAAD

World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), observed on April 2, was adopted by the United Nations in 2007 to shine a bright light on autism as a growing global health priority. Every year on World Autism Awareness Day, Autism Speaks and Autism Speaks Canada celebrate its international “Light It Up Blue” campaign. Thousands of iconic landmarks, skyscrapers, schools, businesses and homes across the globe unite by shining bright blue lights in honor of the millions of individuals and families living with autism.

The Benefits of Reading

The benefits of reading start with the first book a baby hear and continue into childhood and throughout the child’s life.

If you are familiar with Professor Owl’s Book Corner you’ll know that I’m passionate about reading. I read a lot and have done so ever since I first learned how to do it. I read to my daughter from the time she was born and she has grown into articulate, smart young adult who made the most of her educational opportunities and has the tools to function well in society.

When I retired I took a course in the Laubach Literacy training to be a Tutor and spent several years volunteering at my local Learning Centre and found it the most rewarding volunteer work I had ever done.  I would spend my days teaching young adults. The ability to read well is the key to achieving the things that make life worth living: strong relationships, fulfilling careers and helping others.

Below are the 10 Benefits of Reading: The Top 10 reasons why reading is important and why children – and adults! – should read often and widely.

10Benefits of Reading

Kids wh0 read often and widely get better at it

This is pretty much just common sense. After all, practice makes perfect in almost everything we humans do and reading is no different from anything else

Reading exercises our brains

Reading is a much more complex task for the human brain than, for example, watching TV is. Reading strengthens brain connections and actually builds new connections.

Reading improves concentration

Again, this is a bit of a no-brainer ~ Children have to sit still and quietly so they can focus on the story when they’re reading.

If they read regularly, they develop the ability to do this for longer periods.

Reading teaches children about the world around them

While reading, children learn about people, places’ and events outside their own experience. They are exposed to ways of life, ideas and beliefs about the world which may be different from those which surround them.

This learning is important for its own sake however it also builds a store of background knowledge which helps younger children learn to read confidently and well.

Reading improves a child’s vocabulary  and leads to more highly-developed language skills

This is because children learn new words as they read but also because they unconsciously absorb information as they read about things like how to structure sentences and how to use words and language effectively.

Reading develops a child’s imagination

This is because when we read our brains translate the descriptions we read of people, places’and things into pictures. When we’re engaged in a story, we’re also imagining how the characters are feeling. We use our own experiences to imagine how we would feel in the same situation.

Reading helps kids develop empathy and it does because you’re identifying with the character in the story so you’re feeling what he’s feeling.’

Children who read do better at school 

And they don’t just do well in subjects like reading, English and history. They do better at all subjects and they do better all the way through school.  t subjects like reading, English, and history. They do better in all subjects and they do better all the way through school.

Reading is a great form of entertainment

A paperback book or an e-reader like the Amazon Kindle doesn’t take up much space so you can take it anywhere and you’ll never be lonely or bored if you have a book in your bag.

You can read while waiting in a queue, while waiting for a friend who’s running late or during a flight delay at an airport.

Reading relaxes the body and calms the mind

This is a critical point because these days we seem to have forgotten how to relax and especially how to be silent.

The constant movement, flashing lights and noise which bombard our senses when we’re watching TV, looking at a computer or playing an electronic game are quite stressful for our brains.

When we read, we read in silence and the black print on a white page is much less stressful for our eyes and brains.

There you have it – the Top 10 benefits of reading!





Sometimes two consonants work together to make one sound that differs from the sound that either of the letters makes separately.

The consonants s, c, t, and w each work with h to make one new sound.

s + h says /sh/ in ship

c + h says /ch/ in chin

 t + h says /th/ in thick

w + h says /wh/ in wheel

Notice that ship has four letters but only three sounds sh ip

Each word has three sounds. Show the letters that make each sound by writing them on the lines in the four boxes.  The First one has been done for you.


Words                Sounds                              Words                   Sounds


wish                 w    i_ sh                               rich                     __  __  __


shot                 __  __  __                             chat                     __  __  __


shin                 __  __  __                             much                    __  __  __  All lessons shown are available along with the readersfrom the link above.

Professor Owl’s Book Corner ~ send your answers to: We will include a lesson every second Thursday along with a newly released book review and if you email in your answers. At the end of every month we will have a draw for everyone who emails their answers~ and one lucky person will win a book.


 When I realized that there are two books in this series I just had to read book one first, so that I could do justice to the author Jen Estes and her fans.

Book 1

Fifteen (The Dreamwalker Diaries Book 1)

by Jen Estes (Author)

In legends, we are told if one dies in their dreams they will die in real life.

Fifteen-year-old Ashling Campbell knows that this is not true because when she closes her eyes every night, she doesn’t dream Instead, she is tossed to the front row of her future self’s execution – fifteen years from now – monsters have taken control of her hometown and she, or rather, her 30-year-old counterpart, is their public enemy number one.

For three months and counting, it has been the same dream… until an encounter with an antique dreamcatcher. Ash falls asleep to discover she’s no longer a mere spectator in these dreams – now she’s astral-projecting into the body of her future self. Each night, she goes on the run with a ragtag group of rebels – who have no idea she’s really a high school sophomore and not their noble warrior. She must make it through each night so that she can wake up and find a way to change the future. For every action, she does in the present day, she falls asleep to discover it had an equal impact fifteen years later. It’s up to her to manage her two worlds and make sure she’s still got a place in both.

Book 2

Sixteen (The Dreamwalker Diaries Book 2)

by Jen Estes (Author)

Together her thorny family tree, deal with a friend’s untimely return, and pass her driver’s test – all before she turns… SIXTEEN.

This is the second book in author Jen Estes series ‘The Dreamwalker Diaries’, it is about a girl named Ashling Campbell who keeps having vivid dreams about witnessing an execution, in a dystopian world, where monsters were very much real.

She continues having the same dream, over and over, until one day, out of frustration, she breaks the dreamcatcher she has hanging in her room ~ clearly it was not stopping her nightmares ~ and instead of just seeing the execution happening, she’s living it; the woman her dreams have been dying for the past 3 months is her, 15 years in the future.

With the dreamcatcher no longer shielding her, Ash’s dreams are no longer just dreams; she unknowingly developed the ability to astral project herself into her future self’s body while she’s asleep, and subsequently alters her future by doing things different in the present.

Sixteen delves deeper into the history of the Jumlin, and the Dreamwalkers, giving the reader a better understanding of what drives each. Ash is still coping with what happened in the first book, and trying to figure out how to fix what went wrong. This is proving difficult, however, because her dreamwalking window has closed. She seeks the help of Dr. Dietz ~ the neurophysiologist from the college sleep lab, only to find things are a lot more complex than she originally thought.

In this second book of this series, we get to see what happens when Ash’s past, present, and future collide

Things get interesting and once I started reading this story I could not put the book down until I had finished it.

When I closed the book, I was speculating if there will be another book in this series.  I hope so it was a great read and kept me hooked to the end.

Available from: http://  and   and other fine bookstores.
We would love to hear about your favorite books and your views on the ones we recommend here… send them


They say time waits for no man, but what if it did?

What would you do if you had the ability to control time? Would you make your time at school speed up? Would you make the weekend last longer or perhaps give yourself more time to write? Would you go backwards or to the future?

Photo~Make time to write.

Your mission should you choose to accept it…

Write a story about what you would do if you had the ability to control time.

✒ Write, be creative and most of all HAVE FUN! ✒




Attention all aspiring  authors:

Have you heard of Every November thousands participate in an online writing event to complete 50,ooo words in just 30 days. Now they’ve made it even better, is a virtual writer’s camp, designed to inspire you and keep you motivated while you work on your masterpiece. Camp runs twice a year in April and July and unlike NaNoWriMo welcomes word-count goals of 30,000 and up. Writers can tackle any project they’d like, including new novel drafts, revisions, poetry, scripts, and short stories. So sign up today!  See you at camp!



Variety Village

 Variety Village2


Hippity hop on down to Variety Village for our Easter Vendor’s Market on April 8th. 2017

Saturday, April 8, 2017
Members and non-members welcome!
$2 Donation for ENTRY into the market.

We have a wide range of vendors including:
Avon, Deezignzz, Nature’s Serenity, Steeped Tea, Usborne Books, Arts & Crafts Vendors and more!

Easter Photo booth!

Cipriano Palmer photography & cinematography will be here in the lobby to take photo’s from 10:00am until 4:00pm.
$8 for one 4 x 6 photo or $20 for three 4 x 6 photos. The first 20 guests will receive a free picture frame!

All proceeds from photography will be donated to Variety Village.
Click to learn more about Cipriano Palmer photography & Cinematography.

For more information on the event or to register a Vendor table please contact:
Avinash Sudama

416 699 7167 x358


For the past season, 12 of our youngest Volt Hockey players have been training hard and are now ready to challenge YOU to our first annual Volt Hockey game! We are looking for 4 teams interested in a friendly competition against our newest Volt Hockey teams.

$100/ Team (3 players) 3 on 3: Round Robin
SATURDAY, APRIL 22 4 teams (minimum required)
9:00AM – 4:00PM Trophy/Medals
Variety Village Food & Beverages Included

What is Volt Hockey? Click here to learn more.

Chris Murdoch
Manager of Teams/Team Events
416 699 7167 x255



Pizza Nova raised $107,101 during the That’s Amore Pizza for Kids day sale on Tuesday, May 10!

Thank you to everyone who supported the sale and our greatest thanks to Domenic Primucci and all the franchise owners and their staff who worked tirelessly all day to make this the best year ever!

 March of Dimes

 logo March of Dimes

Independence for Future Empowerment) program at March of Dimes Canada, that supports youth with physical disabilities transition into adulthood responsibilities,

If you love the TV show “Storage Wars” then you will love
Access Storage Charity Auction for March of Dimes Canada!

May 28, 2016 at 11 a.m.

31 Steve Fonyo Drive, Kingston, Ontario

On Saturday May 28, 2016, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Access Storage in conjunction with the March of Dimes Canada, will be holding a charity storage units auction at 31 Steve Fonyo Drive in Kingston, Ontario.

How it Works

Just like you see on the TV show, the door of the storage unit will be opened, you will be allowed to take a peek at the unit (without entering it) and the bidding will start. Once the bidding starts, the individual with the highest bid will win the storage unit.

Dave Zuma from Station 14 will be back as host and a BBQ will be held for all those who attend to enjoy!

All of the auctions and BBQ proceeds will go to the March of Dimes Canada programs and services to help people with physical disabilities.

Bid on storage units, support a great cause, and win some treasures!

We look forward to seeing you at the BBQ and auction on May 28th!

For more information on the above events, please contact


 wise-picks ~Lauback website, resourses for Tutors and Student.

www.alphca aplus .ca ~ In these pages you will find resources and information to enrich your learning experience. ~ Register with this site and you get information on: Online tutoring, words and vocabulary, homework help and much more. ~ Lots of fun and challenging activities for you and your family.