Hockey, cow gas and wedgies.
Just some of the topics that author Sigmund Brouwer discussed with students of Coronach School on Monday, February 13. Brouwer uses his upbeat personality combined with comedy, music and interaction to hopefully get students to enjoy reading and writing more.
A favorite cause of Brouwer’s is to encourage children to love books. He visits 80,000 students per year at schools across North America to present “Rock And Roll Literacy”, drawing on the theme that great stories, like great songs, engage our feelings. To help with the literacy cause, he has also co-written two hockey fiction books in French with Gaston Gingras, who won a Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens in 1986. Brouwer also frequently presents “Rock and Roll Literacy” with six-time Stanley Cup Champion and NHL Hall-of-Famer Bryan Trottier, from Val Marie, Saskatchewan, all in efforts to hook reluctant readers.
“When you feel something in a story, you’re 100% there,” Brouwer explained in his “Rock and Roll Literacy” presentation, and “The worse the problem, the better the story.”
“I’d like to use my background as a novelist to help kids get excited about reading,” says Brouwer, on his website coolreading.com. “Once I found that talking to children about writing could open doors for them. I’ve been committed to doing that, and I will continue to do so. Kids who can read and write well when they get out of school have a lot better chance of reaching their dreams than kids who still struggle with it.”
“I continue to spend a certain part of my year speaking to kids, and writing books that grab reluctant readers.” Sigmund explains, “From what I’ve seen, there aren’t a lot of books out there designed for 85 percent of the kids, who are not avid readers. Most books are written for the 15 percent who love to read. I have a real concern about that. So, I will keep writing one novel a year - that takes six to seven months - and spend the rest of the year writing for reluctant readers and visiting schools.”
During the presentation, Brouwer encouraged students to visit his website, www.myrockandrollbooks.com, where they could download three free books if they have an iPod, Kindle and other such devices. Brouwer also left 75 books for students to enjoy at the Coronach School Library.
Vice Principal of Coronach School Terry Sand was impressed by Brouwer, “Sigmund’s presentation was upbeat and motivational. The stories he told kept the students interested.”
“I hope the students have an increased desire to read books. I hope they also have an understanding that writing is something that can be done by everyone as a means to tell their story. Writing and reading interesting stories can be fun,” added Sand.
“The Rock & Roll Literacy presentation showed that reading and writing can be activities that are enjoyed by everyone. Improved literacy skills are important for all of our students. Any presentation that inspires students to do more reading and writing is a positive step,” concluded Sand.