Science Literacy Week 2017: A Real Page Turner

From coast to coast, during Science Literacy Week, we were encouraged to celebrate science in Canada by participating in science-based activities. And midweek, on Wednesday, September 20, 2017, classrooms around the country were asked to spend some time reading about science, on what was declared National Science Reading Day.

Honestly, I had no idea this week-long party was in the planning. I only learned of it from a sponsored post that appeared on my Facebook feed. I quickly realized, this was something we *had* to join.

Now, our home has LOTS of science reading material. I rarely go a day without reading about science. From journal articles to textbooks to the latest news headline, reading about science is just my daily life. It’s my job. Mind you with all these science (and engineering) books in our home, we don’t have many appropriate for children.

We need books! We must prepare for National Science Reading Day! The panic!

So we headed to the library. As we walked into the library, a poster was taped on the door about Science Literacy Week. We were totally in the right place!

We headed to the science section of the children’s department and we picked through books on physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics. As we rummaged through the books on the shelf, several potential selections were piled onto the carpeted floor. The librarian came by to see if we needed assistance (or to look at the mess we were creating as we sat on the floor while trying to take really bad selfies to document our participation in #scilit17). We assured her we did not, and that we were just exploring. Then she commented that it was refreshing to see us in the non-fiction section, because these books don’t often get looked at or signed out. These poor books must get bored always sitting on the shelf. Consequence of the internet and the downplay of science school projects were the librarian’s reasons.

We left with a giant stack of books on everything from birds, climate change to electricity and the periodic table. (Even I scored a book on the history of science – it was exciting given that a famous female scientist, Marie Currie, graced the cover).

When National Science Reading Day began I watched as my children stuffed as many science books as they could into their backpacks when they left for school (Their idea, not mine). I later heard from their science teacher about how they had shared all these books with the class that day and what a great time the students had browsing these hardcovers.

I watched the Twitter feed coming not only coming from their school but classes around the country showing their students actively engaged in science reading.

And of course, I watched my own children read the books that they had carefully selected from the library. So mesmerized by them, it became difficult to grab their attention from the virtual science world they had entered.

My kids made lists of the books they had read and proudly entered the Owl Reading Contest.

It truly was a magical day (and week)! All this science love was making this STEM mama very proud. Science literacy can be contagious and exciting!

I have to thank Jesse Hildebrand for founding such an exciting week, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for helping to promote this initiative. The concept is so simple, yet so powerful.

It’s pretty amazing that #scilit17 was trending all week.

We can’t wait to take part in Science Literacy Week again in 2018.

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