Happy Family Literacy Day!

In 1999, ABC Life Literacy Canada, a non-profit organization, introduced Family Literacy Day to “raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family.”

This year, ABC Life Literacy is encouraging families to take 15 minutes out of their day to prioritize learning.

Here are ten suggestions on how to achieve this goal:

1. Start reading aloud to your newborn. Children become attuned to the sound of your voice and the tones of the language you speak as their hearing develops.

2. Ask older children questions about the story to ensure comprehension.

3. Encourage oral storytelling by providing prompts: “What did your doll or teddy bear do today?” “Tell us a story about the Christmas/Halloween/Valentine’s Day party at school?”

4. Record or write down your children’s stories. Use an app to convert them into a book, animation, or slide show. While read or watching the end product, point out new words, story structure, and grammar.

5. Turn off the television and use that time to read together.

6. Organize a children’s book club in your neighborhood.

7. Make regular visits to the local library. Check the events calendar for more information about activities and crafts offered.

8. Keep teenagers reading by providing magazines and newspaper articles that appeal to their interests.

9. Invite children to participate in activities such as making shopping lists, sending e-cards, or checking directions on Google Maps.

10. Volunteer your time in local literacy groups. You could read to children, tutor adults, or help with administrative tasks.

Find out more information about ABC Life Literacy Canada here.


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A Writer’s Life

Yesterday evening, I returned to the Guelph Public Library (Westminster Square Branch) to lead a discussion on the creative life with a lively group of writers and wannabe writers, who braved the cold, blustery temperatures. I shared my experiences and advice on finding inspiration, establishing daily rituals, dealing with writer’s block, and getting published.

I was impressed by the depth and breadth of questions and comments. The group was a diverse one with interests in writing poetry, fiction, memoirs, and self-help books.

Thanks to librarians Karen Cafarella and Deb Quaile for organizing and facilitating this event.

L-R: Erin El Masry, Joanne Guidoccio, Deb Quaile, Karen Cafarella



Local Author Interview

interviewpixGuelph author Joanne Guidoccio’s newest novel, A Season for Killing Blondes, has everything a mystery lover could want: a heroine in distress, an old flame from her past, vexing villains and, of course, a series of gristly murders.

Read the rest of the review and interview on the Guelph Public Library blog.


Guelph Partners in Crime

At podium: Deb Quaile L-R: Donna Warner, Gloria Ferris, Joanne Guidoccio, Alison Bruce

At podium: Deb Quaile
L-R: Donna Warner, Gloria Ferris, Joanne Guidoccio, Alison Bruce

Yesterday evening, I participated in a lively panel discussion with three other mystery writers at the main branch of the Guelph Public Library. We are all published authors and members of Crime Writers of Canada.

We read excerpts from our recent novels and shared our experiences in researching, writing, editing, and marketing our books. We delved into a variety of topics, among them mystery genres, humour in writing, query letters, dealing with rejection, self publishing vs traditional publishing, and social media.

Thanks to librarians Andrea Curtis and Deb Quaile for organizing and facilitating this event.

To learn more about Guelph Partners in Crime, visit our websites:

Alison Bruce

Gloria Ferris

Joanne Guidoccio

Donna Warner