Shifting the Balance PD

It seems that talk about the science of reading and the call for changed practices in the literacy classroom is everywhere these days. But so much of this conversation has focused on beginning readers. If you’re an educator supporting upper elementary readers–or even younger readers who have grown beyond their peers–you’ve likely wondered, “What about us? What does the current body of research reveal about practices in intermediate classrooms?” In this workshop, (a companion to the workshop presented by MCRC in January 2023), Shifting the Balance: 6 Ways to Bring the Science of Reading into the Balanced Literacy Classroom (Burkins & Yates), co-authors Jan Burkins introduces six shifts for upper elementary teachers to consider as they work to make reading success more accessible for all students. This session is based on the newest book Shifting the Balance: 6 Ways to Bring the Science of Reading into the Upper Elementary Classroom, co-authored with Kari Yates and Katie Egan Cunningham. Across the full-day workshop, Jan will zoom in on common practices that need reexamination, use scientific research to untangle misunderstandings related to those practices and offer brain-friendly, high-leverage instructional moves as an alternative.

Register Now!

Right to Read Inquiry

MCRC Response to OHRC Right to Read Inquiry Report

Literacy is a human right. Education, and specifically literacy, has the power and agency to become a social equalizer for marginalized populations, and a social determinant of health (SDH), well-being, and life success for children and their families.

The Manitoba Council of Reading Clinicians (MCRC) would like to acknowledge that the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) Right to Read: Public inquiry into human rights issues affecting students with reading disabilities is an important document that highlights the fact that students with dyslexia, as well as other students, are not receiving the evidence-based, explicit, and systematic instruction that they need to be successful in developing early foundational reading skills. The inquiry found that most students are not being taught to read in a way that aligns with research, but often using models that are based on philosophies or beliefs that are both inefficient and ineffective, such as using cues to guess words rather than letter-sound knowledge to decode words. The report provides evidence-based recommendations that align with research to support students in developing into proficient readers and writers. These recommendations are echoed by researchers, educators, speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and psychologists. As reading clinicians, we also support these recommendations.

An important theme throughout the report is that early foundational skills are critical to developing strong reading comprehension and are part of comprehensive, evidence-based language arts instruction that includes writing. Many students who have difficulty decoding words have excellent language comprehension but are not able to access appropriate texts at their level of understanding. The Right to Read Inquiry draws heavily on the findings of key reports (National Reading Panel, Expert Panel on Early Reading in Ontario, The Rose Report, and The Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network Report) that synthesize the large body of scientific research on how children learn to read. These reports all recommend systematic teaching of foundational skills that will lead to efficient word-reading, which includes phonemic awareness, phoneme-grapheme connections, and how to use this knowledge to decode and spell words. Many teachers in the inquiry reported that they were not adequately prepared to teach reading and writing, especially for those students who find literacy learning challenging.

Reading research is not a movement—it is a continuous systematic investigation to establish the best approaches to teach students to read and understand text. The OHRC Right to Read report goes well beyond the misconception that phonics is the only component of literacy instruction. It emphasizes comprehensive literacy instruction that includes phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension within the context of culturally responsive teaching that reflects the diverse sociocultural backgrounds of students. Manitoba Council of Reading Clinicians support the OHRC Right to Read’s findings and look forward to contributing to the important literacy initiative of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission’s Special Project on the Human Rights Issues Affecting Student with Reading

Committee members include: Rosana Montebruno (co-chair), Heather Khan (co-chair), Sandra Janzen (MCRC President), Allison Aitken, Khalie Jackson-Davis, Nicole Normandeau, Lauren Reynolds, Kim Siwak, and Monica Wiebe

Scholarship Recipients 22-23

The Manitoba Council of Reading Clinicians is pleased to announce the winners of the Barbara Koffman Scholarship Award. We remember Barbara fondly as a born educator and leader who inspired both teachers and students alike. Congratulations to Emily Kipe-Broduer, Nicole Doering and Joan Coppens!

Meet the honourable recipients!

Emily Kipe-Broduer

I started my career in Hanover School Division as a grade 2 teacher. I worked at Woodlawn School for nine years as a Grade 3 Teacher. In 2015, I moved to Niverville Elementary and have taught grade 3, grade 4, and a 3/4 split class. In 2000, I started my journey towards becoming a literacy specialist through studies at the University of Manitoba working towards a Master’s degree in Language and Literacy. In 2021-2022 I worked in a half-time position at NES as a literacy support teacher. This turned into full-time this year (2022-2023) and I am now fully immersed in literacy. I graduated this June with my Master of Education degree. I love my job! I enjoy co-planning and co-teaching the most effective literacy pedagogical practices with classroom teachers. I get excited when I see students acquiring new skills that help them progress in reading in the classroom and through literacy intervention. The next step for me is applying for a reading clinician or reading clinician associate position. My desire is to continue to grow as a human, teacher, and future reading clinician. I am very grateful to MCRC and the Barbara Koffman family for this scholarship!

Nicole Doering

My name is Nicole Doering, and I am currently a middle school English teacher at Meadows West School in Winnipeg School Division. I recently graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Master of Education in Language and Literacy, researching the importance of bringing multiliteracies into the classroom for my students and taking courses to one day work as a reading clinician.
Dancing was a passion of mine growing up, driving me to learn more about how to best support students’ literacy learning in multiple ways. I was a dance instructor for many years, competed in multiple competitions, practiced ballet at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and represented Canada in Germany’s National Tap dance championships in 2007, winning the gold medal with my team.
Multimodality was an essential strategy for my learning, and those skills I acquired as a student have transferred into my classroom. I incorporate what I have learned into my daily practice with my students, focusing on multimodality, mindset, metacognitive strategies, and literacy across the curriculum, using assessment skills I developed throughout my training and learning. As a teacher, my goal is to support the 21st-century skills of our learners through engaging reading and writing, fostering students’ love of literacy. Thank you MCRC and the Barbara Koffman family for this honour!

Joan Coppens

Hello, my name is Joan Coppens. On May 29, 2023, I had the pleasure of attending the MCRC AGM. It was a great experience being among some of Manitoba’s finest Reading Clinicians and to be presented with the Barbara Koffman Scholarship. Barbara Koffman is remembered as a remarkable Reading Clinician with a great sense of humour.
I hope to one day secure a position as a Reading Clinician myself and to acquire a skill set such as Barbara Koffman. I have just completed my Masters of Language and Literacy at the University of Manitoba where I studied with the Winnipeg School Division Cohort. Our cohort was made up of a group of brilliant teachers with different teaching backgrounds but whom all shared a passion for literacy.
I have been a French-Immersion elementary teacher for 20+ years. My focus was mainly on early years and I have had the privilege of teaching the French version of Reading Recovery for the last few years. It was through this role that I really became impassioned about helping struggling students with their reading.
 I have also had the personal experience of raising a daughter with a reading disability as a single-parent, therefore I can relate to the pain a student suffers when presented with a reading deficit and also the pain a parent suffers alongside their child.
 When the opportunity came along to join the cohort and gain the qualifications to become a reading clinician, it was an easy decision to make as I was eager to deepen my understanding of reading difficulties and better equip myself to hopefully make a difference for the students I work with daily.

Congratulations to our recipients and best of luck in your future endeavors!

Master’s Cohort

On June 8th, 2023, the Winnipeg School Division Master’s cohort walked across the stage at the University of Manitoba to receive their much-earned Master of Education with a major in Curriculum Teaching & Learning in the Language and Literacy Stream. Most of the graduates took the clinical coursework and have indicated and interest in pursuing certification as a Reading Clinician in Manitoba.

In challenging times and unexpected circumstances, this group of teachers began their first class in May of 2020. Through many zoom sessions, hard work, a comprehensive project and ultimately one in-person class, these dedicated learners have emerged from their studies bolder, fresher, more-learned, and ready to take on the world of literacy instruction.


Back row: Sheila Seafoot, Marcy L. Thompson Sanchez , Gina Cerqueira, Nadine Nassar, Nicole Doering, Anna Choy, Tiffany Waskul, Mercede Poirier, Devin King, Sarah Roche, Odette Cerqueira, Stacy Carson
Front row:  Rebecca Meacham, Tami Berg, Janice Caplan, Joan Coppens

Celebrating Educators

The Manitoba Reading Association and The Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg are teaming up to honor educators. The hard work of educators needs to be celebrated!

Manitoba Reading Association – “Every Manitoban a Literate Manitoban”

The Manitoba Reading Association would like to honour those who support literacy initiatives across the province. Perhaps you know an administrator that has gone the extra mile to support literacy within your school or division. Or maybe you know a community member who volunteers their time to implement literacy initiatives in your area. Please see attached PDF posters on how to nominate a literacy leader in Manitoba. Nominations due April 28th, 2023

Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg (RCGW) – “Promoting literacy through professional development and community outreach”

The RCGW would like to celebrate all the teachers and community leaders who have advanced literacy throughout our province. Is there someone in your school division or community who deserves to be recognized for their outstanding work in the field of literacy?

Perhaps you know a teacher who has done some remarkable things in the areas of classroom teaching, teacher education, or research.

Maybe you’re aware of a member of the RCGW who is retiring or moving away from Manitoba who should be honoured for their accomplishments here, or a community member who has raised awareness about the importance of reading.

You may work with or know about a colleague who has made significant literary contributions at the local or provincial level.

We would love to help you honour these individuals with our Annual Awards Evening, deadline for applications is Friday, April 28th 2023.

    For more detailed information as well as a fillable nomination form please click here.

    Community Connections

    This week, members of the Manitoba Council of Reading Clinicians served dinner to hundreds of Winnipeg’s community members at Siloam Mission. This was the MCRC’s sixth annual volunteer opportunity at the Mission. Guests appreciated hot pizza, pasta, salad and a delicious dessert prepared and served by dedicated and friendly staff volunteers. Thank you Siloam for another wonderful opportunity to serve our community and thanks to the members of MCRC for all your help!

    Siloam Mission is an innovative Christian humanitarian organization that builds connecting points between the compassionate and individuals in need. Siloam Mission supports Manitobans who are experiencing homelessness, poverty, and mental health challenges. If you would like to become involved or support the ongoing initiatives of the mission please visit their website for more information.