Gotta Keep Reading at 2015 Silver Birch Conference

On Friday, May 1, over 600 elementary students from schools across the District School Board of Niagara will come together at the annual Silver Birch Celebration of Literacy Conference. The conference will be held at Club Roma in St. Catharines.

The conference is the culminating event for students who have participated in the Ontario Library Association’s Silver Birch Reading Program. The program aims to develop a love of reading in students, promote Canadian literature, encourage Canadian writing and the development of literacy skills. Each year, students are asked to read the nominated works in each category and then vote for the winners of the Silver Birch awards.

At the conference, students will have the opportunity to hear from one of the youngest people to complete a swim across Lake Ontario. Annaleise Carr began her swim in 2012 off the shores of Niagara-on-the-Lake to raise money to give children living with cancer an opportunity to go to summer camp. She has since completed a swim across Lake Erie and written a book entitled “Annaleise Carr: How I Conquered Lake Ontario to Help Kids Battling.”

This year’s event will feature a fun blending of technology and books. A “Speaker’s Corner” style video chat booth will be set up for students to talk about their experiences at the conference and what they’ve learned. A number of students will also serve as social media ambassadors for the conference, live-tweeting the events of the day. Those interested in seeing the conference as it happens can follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #DSBNSilverBirch.

“Reading is so beneficial for students,” says Kim Salierno, DSBN Library and Educational Resources Consultant. “It builds vocabulary, boosts creativity and helps students develop their ability to think critically. Participating in the Silver Birch Conference is an enjoyable way we can support student success in this key area.”