A few weeks ago, we put the word out to area high schools that we were looking for energetic teenagers who wanted to share their love of reading with children.  We could not believe the response!  The Story Garden was buzzing this past Saturday with over 50 teens and readers! (NOTE: If you would like your Gr. 1/2 child to be involved, there is still time to register. Click here for details.)


We LOVE seeing so many readers in our Garden!

Once readers are paired with their leaders, the team spends some time getting to know each other.  They find out about each other’s favorite things, background and special details like the meanings of their names.


Our Leaders for Readers program connects high school teens with struggling readers in primary grades. The teens are trained to use effective techniques and great literature to inspire their young friends while earning volunteer hours necessary for graduation.

Every Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning in The Story Garden, readers are paired with a leader to spend an hour reading and sharing with each other.  The children enjoy having a special book read to them, and they also get to show how much they have been learning by reading to their leader.  Finally, teams work on memorizing a poem and reading a bit of their team novel.

Here is a look into the past few weeks at Leaders for Readers!

Anita and Huzaifa make sure that they have their warmest blanket with them before they dive into “The Big Storm”!


We’ve been wanting to do this post on our Pilot Project for quite some time… what a journey it’s been and so many amazing things have happened along the way.  Here’s a little look at what we’ve been up to over the last year and how we ended up planting a Story Garden.

Baby Bookworms & Beyond’s mission is: to triumph over illiteracy by sharing the gift of reading with one child, one family, one community at a time.  In 2012, we began establishing a prototype for transformation through our literacy programs in the Sheridan Community of Mississauga, ON.  This neigbourhood was our first choice because the public school is Number 1 on the Risk Index Chart, with most of their students recent immigrants and English as their second or third language. Could Baby Bookworms & Beyond make a difference?


We developed connections with area schools, organizations, agencies, faith groups, and the library, where relationships had already been established with local residents. With funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, our weekly Storytime STOP for families was launched at Oakridge Public School and at Polycultural Immigration and Community Services (PICS), the week of March 19th, 2012. The relationship building with the children and their parents began.

Families who attended Storytime STOP at the PICS Community Room.


Doris is the daughter of Snezana Gabric, PICS Program Manager.  Her mom came in to chat and Doris, unbeknownst to us, was making herself at home.  It had been very quiet for a few minutes, so we went to check on Doris.

She’d been busy.


Doris… getting read for storytime.

She had gathered all of the “Reading Buddies” in The Story Garden and set up her very own storytime.