Children love story-time and Tuesday, December 15, the students of kindergarten and early elementary school had the opportunity to participate in a theatrical reading of the story “Le verger dans le ventre” by its author Simon Boulerice. In order to explain how we were able to have such an opportunity at our school, I would like to first tell M. Boulerice’s story as an important voice in Quebec youth literature, his impact in the classroom as part of children’s literature and finally how learning about M. Boulerice’s literature and his visit are an important part of overall French strategy here at Akiva and will help student motivation to excel in French.
Simon Boulerice was born on the South Shore of Montreal in 1982. He is an actor, playwright, director and a Quebec writer; author of many novels and literary works for very small children and youth, writer of plays and collections of poetry. He began his career by getting the Medal of the Lieutenant Governor in Cégep de Saint-Laurent in 2001 and then was selected to represent Quebec at the Canada Games in summer 2005 as an author, actor and dancer. Since then, he continues to be critically acclaimed writer and winner of many awards, runs a literature program on Radio Canada and contributes to the influence of literature through various interviews on television show “Tout Le Monde en Parle”. He is also well known for his performances in Belgium and France and continues to educate in his lectures for future teachers at the University of Montreal. His intuitive insight into children and how to engage them, undoubtedly comes from his childhood experiences where he chased away his loneliness with his boundless imagination and creativity through writing. He gladly tells everyone that it was his teacher in fourth grade who instilled his desire to become a writer by complimenting him on his way of writing.
Akiva is a school for which the teaching of French and the Quebec enculturation are priorities, so it was only natural to invite Simon to be part of a theatrical play. Akiva is also a school in constant contact with educational research. By teaching a children’s book, imprint is undeniable. Read is not so easy and understanding what we read is sometimes even more difficult. Children’s books help to support reading comprehension through the “double narrative” achieved with a combination of the text and the image together and the link they weave to support a child’s comprehension. (Gelet-Montesinos, 2015).
In our classes, teaching French through reading books was key part of our learning for the first part of this year. In kindergarten, story time is ongoing and students of the French section enrich their vocabulary with “Mimi and her friends”. In grade 1, teaching is based on short texts that tell the adventures of Alphabétik, their mascot. In grade 2, “un merveilleux petit rien” is a story that was supported by a visit and workshop by the Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec. In grade 3, students are reading “Le champion du lundi”. In grade 4, the new manual Texto (collection of texts) systematizes the use of reading strategies. In grade 5, grammar becomes creative with the integration with an art project and the novel d’Erik Orséna. Finally in grade 6, lessons are learned by the study of youth crime novel “Le corbeau” by Christine Brouillet.
The workshops play reading, given by Simon Boulerice, that took place in our library was organized with a few goals in mind. It helped to support our reading objectives and served as a teaching tool. The workshop also helped highlight the importance of the Akiva library as a key learning place in our school, as well as underscored the rich French cultural opportunities that are being showcased for our students in the school.
Magali Sauves, M.A
Doctorante (Ph.D) en rédaction de thèse
French Coordinator/Coordinatrice des études françaises École Akiva