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*Editor's note: WSD Library Consultant Kevin Mowat, who is part of this story, passed away on Sept. 5, 2017. We have left the story as originally written, to offer an example of the many ways Mr. Mowat positively impacted WSD students and families with his literacy efforts over the years.
Students at Niji Mahkwa School will have plenty of good books to start off the school year, thanks to a major $60,000 grant for the school's library and reading programs.
The school received a Chapters-Indigo Love of Reading grant in the spring, to the delight of students and staff.
"The grant will help three main initiatives at Niji Mahkwa," said Principal Chris Goring. "One is to give our library a reboot and refresh our content. The focus will be to bring in an infusion of books with Indigenous content and ideally written by Indigenous authors."
The grant will also go to support book collections in classroom libraries as well. Teachers like to keep plenty of books on hand for free reading time and other activities.
"We really want multiple genres of books that will help engage students and encourage their love of reading," Mr. Goring said.
As well, the grant will support the school in developing community literacy and family reading habits.
"Our community room, with the assistance of our community support worker, will have a family lending library, to help bring a wide variety of books into children's homes. It's a great way to supplement our home reading program."
Mr. Goring said he believed it was the community component that helped the school secure the grant.
"We want to bring our parents in and increase the volunteer base in our school, like having parents volunteering in our library."
WSD Library Consultant Kevin Mowat worked with Niji Mahkwa to help build up a solid base of library volunteers.
"Kevin had already trained a group of parents, and we've created a schedule where we have parents already working in our library," Mr. Goring said. "We hope to build on that in years to come."