|The purpose of the organization
is to promote children’s literacy
in our community.
The Grande Prairie Children’s Literature Roundtable was first formed in 1989 by 2 local teachers with guidance from the Canadian Children’s Literature Roundtable. Our goal was to actively promote children’s literature and literacy in our city. However, it was Linda Smith who was the quiet driving force behind this organization, until her untimely death in 2007. Linda was passionate about children’s literacy and literature, having published many children’s book herself. She was a tireless advocate of literacy and social issues. Linda was also key in the Wordspinner Festival, a celebration of books and authors from across Canada, which was hosted twice in Grande Prairie.
In the fall of 1998, the Children’s Literature Roundtable, with financial support from the local Rotary club, offered to design and implement a literacy program. (One of Rotary International’s goals was to fight illiteracy in communities throughout the world.) The Children’s Literature Roundtable and staff from the local Reading Network joined forces to initiate the Partnership Approach to Literacy (PAL) Project in our community; it was a tutoring project designed for school students with low reading or comprehension skills. Through this program and its trained volunteers, PAL reached approximately 900 children through our regular activities at schools and at the public library. Although this was a very beneficial program for many students, it was dissolved due to lack of funding.
The Grande Prairie CLRT promotes literacy within the community, inviting authors and illustrators for Grande Prairie every year. In order to bring the best literary artists from across Canada to our city, the CLRT applies for grants from Canada Council for the Arts to help cover travel costs. Members billet the guests in their homes to help defray accommodation costs, therefore the cost of having a prominent Canadian literary artist visit local schools is not prohibitive for individual schools. The CLRT members work together so that the maximum number of children can benefit.
Our organization is entirely volunteer-based; Librarians, teachers, parents, and anyone who is interested in children’s literature can become members. Volunteers meet monthly to plan author visits and literature based activities for children in our community. Funding is based on various sources depending on the project. The CLRT works in collaboration with the Grande Prairie Public Library, Peace Library System, Grande Prairie Regional College, Grande Prairie Public Schools, Grande Prairie & District Catholic Schools and Peace Wapiti School District in order to fulfill our purpose: promoting children`s literacy in our community.
The Grande Prairie CLRT also promotes Family Literacy Day (held on January 27th, annually) throughout the local communities and within its schools. Throughout the years, the Grande Prairie Children`s Literature Roundtable has brought the following literary artists to our community:
For more information on the Grande Prairie Children’s Literature Roundtable,
contact the Children’s Department at the Grande Prairie Public Library at (780) 532-3580.