Freedom to Read Week

What is the biggest threat to our “Freedom to Read?”  Is it censorship? Or is it something else?  Perhaps it is apathy. Do we care enough about our rights and freedoms to do enough to protect them?  Or perhaps it is simply the fact that not enough of us spend enough time reading. 

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“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”  While this quote probably didn’t originate from Mark Twain, despite popular attribution to the brilliant writer, the sentiment is still worthwhile. We can teach our kids to read, but if they choose not to read, what then?  We need to protect our “Freedom to Read.”  It is vital to democracy.  Yet the forces that would seek to erode our freedoms need not concern themselves very greatly if we simply fail to take advantage of our freedoms.

Freedom to Read Week

What do the following titles have in common?

harry mock rye tale bibl orig

munroAll of these are titles which have been challenged.  Somewhere in Canada in the past 30 years, individuals or groups have tried to have these books removed from schools, libraries and bookstores.  The list of challenged authors includes Alice Munro, the 2013 Nobel Laureate for Literature.

Freedom to Read Week


FTRW-2014-banner-ENGLISH155x300The Book and Periodical Council and its Freedom of Expression Committee are delighted to announce the 30th anniversary of Freedom to Read Week. A national celebration of freedom of expression that takes place in libraries, schools and arts venues across Canada, this year’s program runs from February 23 to March 1, 2014.

Incorporating public readings and panel discussions, challenged book and magazine displays and a kit for librarians and educators, Freedom to Read Week encourages Canadians to express their views about censorship and the right to free speech and opinion.

For the rest of this article, click here.


Check out the new eLibrary offered by Surrey Schools. The collection has over a 1000 titles and will continue to grow. To use the service from home, you will need a username and password: Visit us at the school library and we will give it to you!

In the meantime, you can browse the eLibrary. Simply visit our online catalog and click on the “FolletShelf” icon. Or search for FolletShelf through

Flag Day

Animated-Flag-CanadaFebruary 15 is Flag Day in Canada. On this day we celebrate the establishment of our red and white Maple Leaf flag in 1965.  For most of Canada’s history, the Union Flag of the United Kingdom, the “Union Jack,” was official flag of our country, reflecting our status as a colony in the British Empire.  After Confederation Canada would fly the “Red Ensign” with the Union Jack in the corner, as Canada began to assert its unique status as a Dominion within the Empire. The government sought to establish a new flag in the 1960′ to more fully reflect our independence and standing in the world.  Many designs were considered. Ultimately the red Maple Leaf on the white and red flag won the day and is now amongst the most recognizable symbols in the world. For more on Flag Day:

District Online Resources

Students, you are missing out if you are not making use of our district sponsored online resources. Check out the wide variety of excellent resources that are available to you, free of charge, if you are a Surrey Schools student.  Note that if you are attempting to gain access from a school computer or tablet, you will be able to get in directly. However, from home you will need a username and password. See us at the School Library for that information.


Olympic Hockey

goldToday the Canada’s Men’s Hockey Team begins its quest to repeat as Gold Medal Champions at the Olympics. Four years ago in Vancouver the Canadian team capped off an amazing Winter Olympics with a thrilling overtime victory over the USA in the Gold Medal Game.  The Canadian Women were equal to the men, once again bringing home the Gold in dominant fashion.  What will happen this time around with the Canadian Men’s and Women’s hockey teams?

home winning2010

The Day We Fight Back

Millions of people around the world are lending their voices to protest mass surveillance and the infringement on our rights to privacy and freedom.  Check out the following links to learn more:

The Day We Fight Back: What You Need to Know (PC Magazine)

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Democracy Now




Teachers: Be Reading Role Models

There should be other adults in the lives of our students who are role models when it comes to reading. Sadly, for many of the kids in our schools, there may not be any adults who demonstrate the value of reading in everyday life. It is essential that teachers show our students that reading is a vital aspect of what it means to be a lifelong learner.

From Donalyn Miller’s Four Steps to Creating A School-Wide Reading Culture:

We hope that children have reading role models at home, but many don’t. We must surround children with reading role models throughout the school day – not just in Language Arts class.

Showing children that adults choose to read a wide range of texts for a variety of purposes sends a strong message that reading is important after formal schooling ends. Sharing your own reading life with your students and staff reinforces that you believe reading enriches your life. As much as possible, you should participate in the reading initiatives at your school, not only as a school leader, but also as a reader! Ask students what they are reading… take their book suggestions and share what you enjoy about the books you read.

For many of us, SSR is the best opportunity for us to demonstrate that we are readers. Teachers need to put away the marking and pick up books, magazines or other reading materials to show that reading isn’t just we do to pass tests or assignments at school.