Listening up for literacy: Tuktoyaktuk takes part in national audio book project

Mangilaluk Class Photo-Apr 2016 b

Mangilaluk Elementary School students pose with drawings they created after listening to the Christmas Wind Radio Show. Back row from left is Landon Brooks, Sean Arey, Chery Chicksi, Peter Selamio and Natalie Avik. Middle row from left is Kenneth Keevik, Edward Pokiak, Maizlyn Loreen, Mona Lisa Felix and Irene Illisiak. Front row from left is Jaden Cockney, Bailey Nogasak, Sophie Ross-Saunders and Kiara Cockney. – photo courtesy of Ida Thrasher

by Jessica Phillips, Northern News Services (published Saturday, April 2, 2016)


A Grade 2/3 split class at Mangilaluk Elementary School in Tuktoyaktuk are turning reading comprehension into an art form.

The students took part in a project involving [over] 1,600 students from across Canada. Titled The Christmas Wind Radio Show, the initiative was created by children’s author Stephanie McLellan, who lives in Newmarket, Ontario.

<<SEE MORE about The Christmas Wind Story Project HERE>>

McLellan wrote a book called The Christmas Wind and recorded herself reading it. Once a week the students listen to a bit of the audio from a password secured class webpage and draw what they imagine.

“I recorded the audio and broke it into eight parts,” McLellan said. “The kids send me their drawings and I put them into little books.”

When finished, all of the drawings are scanned, made into miniature movies and shared with other participants. McLellan paid for all the resources on her own but The Canadian Children’s Book Center helped her find all the schools to participate.

“I was originally going to release this Christmas book last fall,” she said “But after visiting students in Labrador and British Columbia and talking to them I wanted to engage them.”

The illustrations that will be used for the book, scheduled for release this fall, are not yet complete.

“When the book gets published, each school will get a signed copy to put in their library,” McLellan said. “I’m also sending out certificates for the students to show they were a part.”

The students at Mangilaluk School have recently finished all eight parts and can now view everything from other classes that have also finished all the steps on the project’s website.

Ida Thrasher is the teacher of the Grade 2/3 class.

She gave her students a week to finish each drawing and would give them another listen to the audio in the middle of the week.

“After each recording we talked about it to make sure they understood,” Thrasher said. “It really makes you use your imagination.”

She said she would definitely let her students do something like this again even if it meant squeezing other subject areas a little.

“It kind of brings you back to a time when you could only listen to radio,” she said “My students really enjoyed being part of this.”

(Note: The original article can be viewed here with a subscription to the newspaper)

See more about The Christmas Wind Story Project HERE


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