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The Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society promotes literacy in the North Okanagan-Shuswap area through awareness, collaborative partnerships, and education in order to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and the community.

Unplug & Play 2017

LogoDuring Unplug & Play Family Literacy Week in January each year, children and their families are encouraged to disconnect from electronics and spend more time playing and interacting with each other.

LASS, in partnership with many community organizations, plans an annual community literacy celebration of events that encourages families to build literacy by reconnecting and playing. Local organizations and businesses throughout the North Okanagan-Shuswap host free events for families. Some examples of events include: family storytime, family skating, family swim, books and skating with the Silverbacks and/or Eagles, sliding party, curling, yoga, a magic show, and many more!

**Don’t miss out getting your raffle tickets at Unplug & Play events you attend to help us raise funds for our literacy programs! Simply visit the LASS volunteer with the book giveaways at each event.

Click on an event to see all the details, including locations and times!

Eventbrite - "Free Range Kids" Community Presentation with Lenore SkenazyClick the green button to register for the “Free Range Kids” with Lenore Skenazy special community presentation taking place on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at 6:30pm at Salmon Arm Secondary – Sullivan Campus!

Jam the GM 2017

The 2017 Jam the GM Children’s Book Drive takes place throughout the month of January. The Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society (LASS) and Salmon Arm GM are challenging community members to “Jam the GM” with donations of gently used children’s books. All books will be distributed to local organizations that provide services for families to then be taken home by children in the North Okanagan-Shuswap.


2016 Jam the GM kick-off event at Salmon Arm GM

The kickoff for this event will happen on Thursday, January 5, 2017 at 10:00am at the Salmon Arm GM dealership. Join LASS and our community partners for a story time party with Ardie Burnham, the ORL Youth Services Librarian. Bring your gently used children’s books to “Jam the GM”!


Book donations are accepted at the Salmon Arm GM showroom throughout the month of January as well as at the Enderby Library (clearly bag and label books for donation), and there are several book collection points in Sicamous.

The truck will then head to the Sicamous Eagles game on Saturday, January 14 and the Salmon Arm Silverbacks game on Friday, January 20 to collect book donations from hockey fans.

You can also “Jam the GM” at Piccadilly Mall during Unplug and Play Family Literacy Week (January 21 to January 28, 2017). The GM truck will be in parked in front of the Salmon Arm Library for the week.

Drop-Off Locations:

  • Salmon Arm GM (month of January)
  • Enderby Library (bag and clearly mark “LASS” or “Jam the GM”; month of January)
  • Eagle Valley Community Resource Centre (month of January)
  • Sicamous Health Unit (month of January)
  • Sicamous & District Recreation Centre (month of January)
  • Sicamous Eagles home game (Jan. 14)
  • Salmon Arm Silverbacks home game (Jan. 20)
  • Piccadilly Mall (Jan. 21-28)

America’s Worst Mom Coming to Salmon Arm

Lenore Skenazy, “America’s Worst Mom”, is coming to speak in Salmon Arm on Jan 25 during Unplug and Play Family Literacy Week. The New York City columnist-turned-reality TV show host got that title after letting her 9-year-old son take the subway, alone. In response to the enormous media blowback, she founded the book and blog, “Free-Range Kids,” which launched the anti-helicopter parenting movement. Lenore is fighting the belief that our children are in constant danger from creeps, kidnapping, germs, grades, flashers, frustration, failure, baby snatchers, bugs, bullies, men, sleepovers and/or the perils of a non-organic grape.

The Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society (LASS) and many community partners have all come together to bring this hilarious and controversial speaker to Salmon Arm to hopefully spark a necessary community conversation. She is also speaking in Kelowna and Kamloops. To book a ticket to this free presentation go to or sign up below:


This FREE community presentation is taking place during Unplug & Play Family Literacy Week and is generously supported by:

  • Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society (LASS)
  • Shuswap Children’s Association
  • City of Salmon Arm
  • Child & Youth Mental Health & Substance Use (CYMHSU) Collaborative
  • Salmon Arm Early Childhood Development (ECD) Committee
  • Sicamous & Malakwa Early Childhood Development (ECD) Committee
  • School District No. 83 District PAC
  • Bastion Elementary PAC
  • Hillcrest Elementary PAC
  • School District No. 83 Early Learning Department
  • Ken Jamieson

**Hear Lenore Skenazy interviewed on EZ Rock 91.5FM:

Fundraising for Literacy

LASS is fundraising to help support our literacy programs that run in the North Okanagan-Shuswap area.

“One of the main programs that we do not currently have sufficient funding for is the Cyber Seniors computer tutoring program,” says Assistant Literacy Outreach Coordinator Violet Pilkey. “While we receive some funding from the province we have not received any significant increase in funding even though we now offer the Cyber Seniors program in both Salmon Arm and Blind Bay.”

The Cyber Seniors program is an important resource for many seniors in the Shuswap area. “We really need this program,” said Kathy, a senior learner in the last round of Blind Bay’s tutoring. “Enrolling in the computer classes for seniors was one of the best things I ever did.” stated another Blind Bay learner, Maura.

Another learner, Carol, had this to say in a letter to LASS last year: “The Cyber Seniors


Spring 2016 Blind Bay Cyber Seniors program

Computer Tutoring program saved our sanity. This program is absolutely amazing. Both my husband and I were able to get help from both the program coordinator and a volunteer tutor. We were able to resolve general computer issues with our tablet. My husband teaches with the disabled ski school and now he can access his schedule online. It is a wonderful program and the tutors were able to teach us what we needed to focus on when using our tablet. Up until this program we have had no luck in getting the support we needed. The help we received at Cyber Seniors was kind and supportive with the whole package of frustration around elder technology. The program is very encouraging and much appreciated.”

One to One reading program at MV Beattie

One to One reading program at MV Beattie

Of course, there are many other programs that would benefit from increased funding, including our One to One children’s reading program, financial literacy programs, and general coordination. “Coordination includes traveling to the smaller communities to provide literacy services and programming, doing research and creating resources for learners and community members, attending kindergarten fairs, and being able to spend some time on finding out what the needs of our communities are and if our current programming is addressing those needs, as well creating new programs where a need is not currently being met.” explains Violet.

LASS is currently planning a raffle fundraiser where community members will be able to purchase a ticket for $2 or 3 tickets for $5 and be entered into a draw for one of four awesome prize packages. Tickets for the raffle will be sold starting Monday November 28, 2016 right until 5 pm on the last day of Unplug & Play Family Literacy Week on Jan 28, 2017. You can purchase tickets through LASS staff and Board members as well as at Unplug & Play events taking place throughout the North Okanagan-Shuswap in the final week of January 2017.

First prize is a free book a month ($25 value) for a year from Bookingham Palace in the Piccadilly Mall (total prize value $300). The second prize (with a total value of $292) is a sports package that includes a basketball and snowshoes from Sport Check, 6 flex tickets to a Silverbacks hockey game, and 2 pairs of merino wool “literacy socks” (pictured above). Third place prize is an arts and crafts package worth $250 with art supplies provided by Salmon Arm Stationery, Intwined Fibre Arts, and Thread and Paper, all local Salmon Arm shops located downtown. Fourth prize gets you a stay at the Prestige Inn in Salmon Arm and breakfast at Cafe Tasse.

Please show your support for LASS and the literacy work we do in the community by buying raffle tickets or by purchasing super soft and cozy merino wool literacy socks for $7.00. Both would make great gifts this holiday season.

ONE TO ONE Statistics from Vernon and Kamloops

If you are a volunteer in our ONE TO ONE children’s literacy program, you may have noticed we are tracking the PM Benchmarks (a reading level tool used in schools) of each student at the beginning of the ONE TO ONE session and again at the end. While we do not currently have the data compiled for our school district, we thought you would be interested in seeing how other ONE TO ONE programs in the area are doing.

one-to-one-pm-benchmarks-harwoodIn the first graph we have Vernon’s Harwood Elementary ONE TO ONE program showing the ten students’ PM Benchmarks at the beginning of the session in January 2016 (blue) and again at the end of the session in June 2016 (red). In just six months the students had increased their reading levels and four students were exceeding their intended grade level!


The second graph shows Kamloop’s Kidston Elementary ONE TO ONE program students’ PM Benchmarks in October 2015 (blue) and again in June 2016 (red). Pre-tutoring, ten of the students were reading at 1-2 grade levels below and six students were minimally meeting their grade level requirements. At the end of the year eight were exceeding, five were meeting, and three were approaching grade level!

We acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia.