Wednesday, 17 May 2017 08:00

Palliser teacher named a ‘Reading Champion’

Written by  Craig Albrecht, Palliser Regional Schools
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Reading Champion Shelley Davis Forman is shown with her junior high students at Arrowwood Community School. Reading Champion Shelley Davis Forman is shown with her junior high students at Arrowwood Community School. Photo contributed

Don’t assume for even a moment Shelley Davis Forman is unappreciative of the perks that come with her award from Scholastic Canada. It’s not what pulls her heart strings, however, in being named a Reading Champion.


“Without the thousand dollars’ worth of books — to know that a bunch of kids have nominated me as someone who has inspired them to be readers — oh, that makes my day,” says the Arrowwood Community School teacher.
Scholastic Canada, one of the country’s leading publishers and distributors of children’s books and educational materials, is marking its 60th anniversary by highlighting five Reading Champions each month. Information about each recipients is displayed on the company’s website, and they receive $1,000 worth of books for helping children discover the pleasure and power of reading.
Davis Forman, who primarily teaches Language Arts to grades 6-9 students, learned about the contest at teachers’ convention. She passed the information along to her students and encouraged them to nominate someone who inspired them to love books or enjoy reading.
“And if they won, they got to choose a recipient and I said, ‘wouldn’t that be cool if they won and we got the thousand dollars’ worth of books in Arrowwood?’” says the teacher of 27 years, adding she had no ulterior motive in mind. “I probably said to them, ‘I’m not giving you this to nominate me.’ We encourage parents to read to kids so l thought lots of them might nominate their moms or dads, or an older sibling that reads to them.”
Scholastic called the school with the big news and all that was divulged at the time was that she received multiple nominations from her students. Davis Forman calls the award “extra special” in that it came from students, and even more so from an age group that can be a little reserved at times.
“Probably the reason the kids would have chosen me, is I read aloud to them,” says Davis Forman, now in her 10th year at Arrowwood. “I have junior high kids who beg me to read aloud to them and that just warms my heart. I always tell them, ‘oh, that makes my little Grinch heart grow two sizes today.’
The secret, she says, is choosing subject matter the students are interested in. Not only do her students love to be read to, they also beg “Mrs. DF” for more time to read on their own.
Davis Forman says the books from Scholastic will be a welcome addition to the school library. She wasn’t able to pick out which particular books she wanted, but only the grade level they are intended for, and she chose grades 5 through 9.
“Even if it’s copies of stuff we already have, it’s always nice to have multiple copies so we can have groups of students reading the same books,” she says. “No matter how you slice it, it’s a great thing.”
Reading Champions are selected from nominations received by a committee of Scholastic employees, says Duessa du Plooy, spokesperson. She say they were touched by the “tremendous outpour” of nominations for the Palliser Regional Schools’ teacher.
“We thoroughly enjoyed reading their comments and loved that the Reading Champions program became a classroom project making kids think about the importance of reading and acknowledging someone that has made a difference,” says du Plooy.
A self-proclaimed “book-a-holic,” Davis Forman says the award is an affirmation of her efforts to share a love of reading with her students.
“I guess it just encourages me to keep doing what I am doing,” she says.
Nominations for Reading Champions are open through Dec. 15. To learn more about the program and read about Davis Forman and the other April recipients, go to the website at:  www.scholastic.ca/readingchampions.
Arrowwood Community School is a kindergarten through Grade 9 school of about 85 students located in Vulcan County.

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