Scholarship Awards 2021-22


This year, in honor of our 40th anniversary, the MCRC was please to offer scholarships to not three, but SIX incredibly deserving recipients. The awards were presented as we celebrated not only this special group of educators, but the MCRC’s 40th anniversary as well. We were all so grateful to have the opportunity to gather in person and enjoy an evening of AGM business, delicious food, and great fellowship.

2021-2022 Scholarship Recipients

We remember Barbara fondly as a born educator and leader who inspired both teachers and students alike. We know that in her memory, these awards will support our recipients as they move toward gaining knowledge and understanding to also inspire and support the literacy community. Sincerest congratulations goes to the following recipients:

Jon Sorokowski

Jon Sorokowski has always loved learning and knew he wanted to be a teacher early in life. After several years of teaching elementary, Jon discovered his passion for adolescent literacy when he began working with middle schoolers. Helping striving readers and writers and collaborating with colleagues compelled him to pursue graduate studies in Language and Literacy. He is particularly interested in becoming a reading clinician to support adolescents in French immersion. Jon believes that his studies will help him advocate for and with students so that they can develop flourishing literate lives. He thanks the Koffman family and MCRC for this opportunity. 

Tami Berg

 Hello! My name is Tami Berg. I am a classroom teacher in the Intermediate Bridges FASD Program at David Livingstone Community School. After earning my Bachelor of Education Degree in 2010, I worked as a classroom teacher for the last 12 years in both early and middle years classrooms. I obtained my Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Special Education at the U of M in the fall of 2019. I am currently enrolled as a student in the WSD Masters Cohort in Language and Literacy, and my course work will be completed by December 2022.

     I chose this field of study for the Master of Education program because of my interest and desire in developing the skills and knowledge to support and enhance language and literacy skills for student achievement. I have an interest in learning and researching best practices in this area, particularly for students who struggle with oral language, reading and writing. Since language and literacy are embedded in all content areas, students need to develop these skills for success in academic learning. My goal is to work as a Reading Clinician. 

Janice Caplan

My name is Janice Caplan and I have been an educator for almost thirty years. In the classroom, I have taught students in grades 1 through 10. It was during these years as a classroom teacher I became aware of  challenges students face when struggling to read. I took a position with The Winnipeg School Division as a Literacy Intervention Support Teacher within the Indigenous Education Team.  I supported teachers in the classroom with their literacy programmes as well as Tier 2 intervention.  I am currently enrolled in Winnipeg School Division’s Master’s Cohort for Literacy to become a Certified Reading Clinician. It has been an amazing experience so far. In January 2022, I was offered a position with the Winnipeg School Division as a reading clinician associate. I am currently part of the Diagnostic Learning Team and work with students in grades 3-6.

Anna Choy

My name is Anna Choy, and I am currently the Literacy Support Teacher/ Reading Recovery Teacher at King Edward Community School. I have been teaching in the Winnipeg School Division for over 9 years. I am pursuing my Master of Education degree in Language and Literacy to learn about current research, theories, strategies, and resources that can empower me to become a better literacy educator. My goal is for each student I work with to develop the skills, confidence, and agency required to be contributing literate members of society.

Ali Kampen

My name is Ali Kampen and for the past eight years I have taught early years in the Seine River School Division. Throughout this time, I’ve seen how quickly a student’s perception of literacy is formed.
As a teacher, my goal is to create positive learning experiences for my students so I can foster a love of literacy. Through student voice and a strength based approach, I believe we have the ability to help students see themselves as both readers and writers.
Thank you so much to the MCRC and family of Barbara Koffman. I am honoured!

Becca Meachum

Born – Saskatchewan.
Raised – Manitoba.
Daughter. Little sister.
Thompson girl.
Walked Cookie by the Burntwood River.
Found peace in the northern woods.

Moved – Winnipeg.
Arts degree.
Major: English, Minor: Theatre.
Found a love for writing poetry.
Tall Grass baker.
New Zealand traveller.
Educational assistant.

Ross’ wife.
Education degree.
Tieg, Mac and Ida May’s Mom.

Master’s student.
New sense of purpose teaching and writing.
Honing my theory.
Learning strength-based strategies.
Eager to support students’ literacy needs.
Walking Dolly to Omand’s Creek.
A moment to capture nature by the Assiniboine River.
Future reading clinician.

All the best to you moving forward in your studies from the Manitoba Council of Reading Clinicians!

We remember…

A Tribute to Dr. Beverley Zakaluk (nee Graham), B.A. B.Ed. M. Ed. Ph.D.

It is with great sadness that we learned that Dr. Beverley Zakaluk, Professor Emerita, passed away on May 17, 2022. Bev was an inspiration to many people in Manitoba. She was a very devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. We are very sorry for the family’s loss.

Bev faced the inevitable challenges in life with grace, dignity, and hard work. She obtained her first three degrees, B.A., B. Ed., and M.Ed., from the University of Manitoba.

Bev loved teaching and completed her training at The Provincial Normal School in 1951. She first taught as an elementary classroom teacher in Bisset, Manitoba. There she met a middle school educator who was to become her devoted husband, Bernard Zakaluk. She later taught at Woodhaven Elementary School. After completing her master’s degree in education, Bev became a Reading Clinician at the Child Guidance Clinic in Winnipeg School Division, where she worked in multiple schools.

Dr. Zakaluk later completed her doctorate at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Bev was a doctoral student of Dr. Jay Samuels, and together they published a helpful book called Readability: Its Past, Present, and Future. For years, their book was often quoted in the literature. Later in her career, Dr. Zakaluk self-published Family Literacy Programs: The Bookmates Experience. She also had several articles published about her other initiatives as a contributor to Reading Manitoba, the former journal of the Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg, as well as other journals.

Many teachers and reading clinicians speak very positively of Bev as an insightful mentor and supportive academic advisor. As a professor, she was demanding and rigorous. She also knew how to inspire and patiently nurture emerging potential. As a colleague, Bev modelled collaboration as she engaged in school-based research and numerous projects with other professors and school personnel. Upon her retirement, Dr. Zakaluk was honoured by being designated as Professor Emerita by the University of Manitoba. 

Bev was a role model as a Manitoba literacy leader, becoming president of the Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg, a local council of the IRA. She planned enriching professional learning sessions and conferences with her teams. Bev was deeply honoured to become a lifetime member of the RCGW.

Bev joined the Manitoba Council of Reading Clinicians and continued to teach graduate courses to prepare reading clinicians for service in Manitoba. She also mentored clinicians in the field to develop a rich repertoire of assessment tools and encouraged creative programming linked to Manitoba curricula. She urged new clinicians to be active in the MCRC’s activities and she attended as often as she could.

Dr. Zakaluk was a firm believer in the power of parental involvement in literacy development. In 1984, she was one of the founders of Bookmates, Inc., which continues as a not-for-profit organization in Winnipeg. She maintained her devotion to the Bookmates’ mission to inspire families and communities to grow together through the shared joy of literacy learning. Bev remained an avid promoter of public libraries for families. Later in her career, she wrote a book, Family Literacy Programs: The Bookmates Experience to make the larger community aware of the importance of Winnipeg’s model parental involvement program to enhance literacy.

Bev was honoured for her indefatigable dedication to education and literacy by many organizations. Her well-deserved, prestigious awards include the Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal for Literacy; the YMCA-YWCA 2002 Women of Distinction Award for Education, Training, and Development; the Dr. and Mrs. H. H. Saunderson Award for excellence in teaching and later the Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching; the UMFA Faculty of Education Merit Award; and the University of Manitoba Outreach Award.

Bev’s devoted leadership and service to our community was also recognized nationally and internationally. She was awarded a national volunteer award for Canadian educators, the International Reading Association Celebrate Literacy Award, and a Certificate of Merit from the Reading Council of Greater Winnipeg. As a member of Manitoba Reading Association, she continued to follow the literacy initiatives of each of the reading councils with enthusiasm.

We are truly grateful for the vision, dedication, inspiration, emotional and academic support that Dr. Zakaluk demonstrated in her long and meaningful life, as a distinguished Manitoba educator, reading clinician and professor. She will be deeply missed by many former students and colleagues. May Bev’s memory continue to inspire her family, colleagues, friends, and former students. We are grateful for her years of dedication to the development of literacy at all levels in Manitoba. She truly enhanced the literacy landscape of our province in all her endeavours.

Barbara Koffman Scholarship

Barbara Koffman was a distinguished reading clinician and past president of MCRC (1988-1989). She was a mentor to fellow reading clinicians and teachers in Manitoba, sharing her expertise and innovative methods in the field of literacy education. Barbara is remembered as an intelligent, humourous, collaborative, and dedicated clinician.
In her memory, the Manitoba Council of Reading Clinicians has scholarships available each year for students pursuing certification as reading clinicians. For 2021-2022, in honour of MCRC’s 40th anniversary, up to six $1000.00 scholarships are available. Graduate students studying at the Masters or Doctorate level are eligible and are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Please note that applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

Applicant Requirements:
• Resident of Manitoba
• Bachelor’s Degree in Education
• Provincially Certified Teacher in Manitoba
• Enrolled in an accredited post-secondary institution
• Minimum of 2+ years successful teaching experience (or f/t equivalent)
• Teaching experience must include literacy instruction
• Intention to pursue requirements for certification as a reading clinician
• If certification requirements have already been met, applicants must be pursuing further studies in clinical reading/literacy (e.g. PhD, EdD)
• Applicants must intend to serve in some capacity in the area of clinical reading/literacy in the Province of Manitoba

For more information and to find out how YOU can apply please click here. Deadline APRIL 1st 2022

A Fresh Look at Phonics Workshop

A Guided Online Workshop featuring Wiley Blevins



Event Date and Time:
Wednesday January 19th 2022 and Thursday, January 20th Via Zoom: 4:30- 6:00 pm CST  

The MCRC is excited to present A Fresh Look at Phonics: Common Causes of FAILURE and 7 Ingredients for SUCCESS. In this session Wiley Blevins will share the reasons why phonics instruction fails and what can be done about it.  Wiley will also provide resources and effective strategies for implementing phonics instruction as well as a detailed scope and sequence for early years.  

Wiley Blevins is an early reading specialist who holds a Masters of Education from Harvard University. He taught elementary school in both the United States and South America and was Director of Special Projects for Scholastic in New York City. Wiley is prolific author, having written over 75 books for children and contributed to or authored 15 for books for teachers. Some of his professional titles include Phonics from A-Z and Teaching Phonics and Word Study in the Intermediate Grades. His latest publication, and the focus of this session, is A Fresh Look at Phonics: Common Causes of Failure and 7 Ingredients for Success.

Registration fees:  –
$39.00 per person                 
$99.00 for school groups of 3 or more                  
$30.00 for teacher candidates/MRA/MCRC members
Payment due by January 10, 2022
For registration and payment please click here.    

Cancellation policy: Requests received before January 15, 2022 will be honoured less a $10.00 administration fee.  Requests after that time will not be considered.

ILA Intensive Digital Event

Assessing and Addressing the Needs of Young Readers

Date: Thursday, January 13, 2022

Time: 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. ET 

Early identification and intervention in the classroom are essential to overcoming obstacles that require aggressive remediation. This ILA Intensive, hosted by Barbara R. Foorman, focuses on how to spot and support readers who struggle, as well as how to prevent most reading problems.

Presenters will share effective, evidence-based strategies for instruction, demonstrate how to differentiate based on the specific needs of each learner, and deliver highly practical resources school-based literacy educators should have in their toolbox.

Keynote speakers for the live event include Donna M. Scanlon and Julie A. Washington; a third keynote from Sharon Vaughn will be available exclusively on demand.

The Intensive also features Stephanie Al Otaiba, Steve Amendum, Laura Ascenzi-Moreno, Young-Suk Kim, and Kathleen Rastle.

Your registration gives you access to both the live event and the on-demand recordings, which will be available to you through July 13, 2022.

Registration: $79.00 members | $99.00 nonmembers

Click Here To Register

MCRC PD Evening For Reading Clinicians and Students in the M Ed program

This year the MCRC Executive is excited to host a members-only professional learning event.  Registration is only $35 ($25 for student members) and includes your membership dues! Lifetime members are welcomed at no cost. Click here to register and simultaneously pay your dues! You will be issued a receipt for expense submission upon completion of the PD event. REMEMBER….your membership registration and payment is your ticket to this event! You will be redirected to the membership registration page to complete this process.

Lifetime members please fill in registration form to update your membership information. DO NOT submit payment.

Date: October 13th, 2021

Time: 4:30-6:00 pm via Zoom (Link to session will be emailed one day prior)

4:30-5:00 Monica Wiebe – Book Talk: Shifting the Balance

Grappling with the Science of Reading vs the Balanced Literacy dichotomy is what brought the authors Jan Burkins and Kari Yates together during a pandemic as they puzzled through the research and they shifted the balance of their own thinking –which they hope will help bring the two worlds together for teachers in order to enhance literacy education for all students. In Shifting the Balance – 6 ways to bring the Science of Reading into the Balanced literacy Classroom published by Stenhouse, they suggest looking at myths, misconceptions and truths can help every educators to let go of less helpful practices and embracing best practices while gently forgiving ourselves when what we hold dear and did for a long time might need some shifts.

5:00-5:30 Jodianna Paterson: Building the Profession & Microsoft Tools for Learning

In the first part of this presentation Jodianna will present an overview of the endeavors related to the training and retention of new reading clinicians.  Three initiatives will be discussed:

  1. The establishment of a cohort of Masters of Education students
  2. The process by which a thesis route was introduced as a certification path
  3. The model of reading associate positions in Winnipeg School Division

Following that discussion an overview of the tools available through the Microsoft suite to create more accessible classrooms will be shared.

5:30-6:00 Tracie McDonald: STOP and DARE Persuasive Essay Writing: Considerations for Instruction Through the Lens of Inclusive Education

Being able to demonstrate critical thinking through written expression is an important skill required for academic success. Students that have a diagnosed learning disability (LD) often experience challenges with academic tasks associated with writing.  The STOP and DARE  persuasive writing strategy is an evidence-based writing strategy that is supported by experimental, quasi-experimental and single subject design research (Graham & Perin, 2007; Hoover, Kubina, & Mason, 2012). The STOP and DARE mnemonic has been found to be an effective way to support adolescent students with generating and organizing ideas. This strategy guides students through the process of using multiple sources of information to demonstrate critical thinking when writing a persuasive essay.  The current study investigates the effectiveness of the STOP and DARE persuasive writing strategy for a student with a diagnosed LD, when the strategy is implemented primarily as whole class instruction, with supplemental support with small group instruction during literacy specific blocks, during the six day school cycle.  The data from one student, that has a diagnosed learning disability in reading and written expression, has been extrapolated to investigate the effectiveness of the STOP and DARE persuasive writing strategy when it is used primarily as a whole class intervention with mild amounts of small group support.

Scholarship Awards 2020-21

This past school year, educators were again faced with unprecedented challenges and changes that were often sudden and unpredictable. It proved to be another difficult time that was met with perseverance and determination by teachers all over the globe. Through the Barbara Koffman Scholarship, the MCRC is pleased to recognize and support two teachers, who have not only dedicated themselves to teaching, but also learning. Congratulation to our two scholarship recipients who continue to learn and grow as educators in the Masters of Language and Literacy program through the University of Manitoba. The MCRC wishes you continued success on your journey!

Nadine Nassar

Nadine has always been interested in a career working with, and helping, children. Surrounded by family members in health care professions, she pursued a medical degree with the goal of becoming a pediatrician. While working towards her medical volunteer hours, she worked in a small rural school in Manitoba, in a targeted reading program. This was Nadine’s first exposure to teaching and she was amazed at the diversity in reading levels and abilities of so many different children. Nadine was inspired, intrigued, and discovered that her true passion was teaching! Shortly after, Nadine changed career paths. She applied, and was accepted, to the University of Winnipeg’s After Degree Program and graduated with her Bachelor of Education.

Upon graduating, Nadine received her first term as a Literacy Support Teacher. She supported classroom teachers conducting the Read-to-Me program and was fascinated and obsessed with finding the best methods of instruction to help struggling readers. After this term, she worked as a classroom teacher for a few years and was exposed to more students, with different backgrounds and reading experiences. During this time, she found herself constantly switching her teaching methods and frequently conducting research on how to best teach each student. Encouraged to focus her teaching on reading and literacy, she accepted a resource/support position for the current school year. Her time in resource has allowed her to focus on literacy and expand her knowledge on how and why students struggle with reading.

In 2020, Nadine’s curiosities led her to begin her Master of Education in language and literacy. She is currently working towards completing the required courses which will allow her to obtain her reading clinician certification. Nadine strongly believes that everyone is a reader, and is excited to continue on her learning journey to better serve her students.

Michelle Durand

My name is Michelle Durand and I am honoured to have been awarded the 2021 MCRC Barbara Koffman Scholarship. My love for literacy started at a young age and has shaped who I am both personally and professionally. Throughout my experiences as an education student, classroom teacher, and support teacher, I have had many opportunities to learn, explore, question and deepen my understanding of literacy learning. One of my most influential experiences occurred very early on in my career, while I was still pursuing my education degree. It was at this time that I had the opportunity to work for the School Age Literacy Links program offered through St. James-Assiniboia School Division. Through this summer employment I not only gained valuable knowledge and skills needed to be an effective teacher, but I also began to realize how complex and multifaceted reading and writing really are! As I moved forward in my career as a middle years classroom teacher, and then as a literacy and numeracy support teacher, I had the opportunity to work with students of all ages and backgrounds. Some of the students struggled with gaining basic literacy skills, while others excelled in reading and writing. While learning how best to support these learners, I had the opportunity to work with a number of reading clinicians who helped shape my understanding and knowledge of effective instructional approaches to support students. The more I learned, the more I continued to be intrigued by the intricacies of language and literacy. This interest is what has guided me in advancing both my career and post-secondary education. I recently began working as a Reading Clinician Associate with the Winnipeg School Division. As well, I have been pursuing my Master of Education degree in Language and Literacy, with the goal of becoming a certified Reading Clinician. Through my combined education and experience I feel I have learned so much about the literacy field, while at the same time realizing that I have so much more to learn. I hope that through my continued studies I will be able to gain the skills needed to allow me to support all learners in reaching their full potential.

Scholarship Opportunity

Barbara Koffman Scholarship

Barbara Koffman was a distinguished Reading Clinician and past president of MCRC (1988-1989). She was a mentor to her fellow Reading Clinicians and to many teachers in  Manitoba, sharing her expertise, innovative strategies and current research in the field of  literacy. She will be remembered for her wonderful sense of humour, her collaboration with  other educators and her dedication to her profession.  

The Manitoba Council of Reading Clinicians has graduate scholarships available for  the 2020-2021 academic year for students intending to certify as reading clinicians. Scholarships of up to $1000.00 are available. Graduate students studying at the Masters or  Doctorate level are eligible and are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. 

Applicants must be a resident of Manitoba and meet the following criteria:  
• Bachelor’s Degree in Education
• Enrolled in an accredited institution
• Provincially Certified Teacher in Manitoba
• Minimum of 2+ years successful teaching experience (or f/t equivalent) • Teaching experience should include literacy instruction
• Intention to pursue requirements for Reading Clinician certification
• If certification requirements have already been met, applicants may be pursuing further studies in of Clinical Reading (e.g. PhD)
• Applicants must intend to serve in some capacity in the area of Clinical Reading in the Province of Manitob

For consideration applications packages should include:

• Recent transcript: strong academic standing
• Resume: previous experience in the area of literacy instruction
• References: Names of up to 3 professional/academic contacts
• Brief autobiography (250-500 words)
• Personal Interview (may be required; may be virtual)

Application packages can be e-mailed to Sandra Janzen between 
February 1st to April 1st, 2021 at

Revised Certification Guidelines!

Beginning in the winter of 2019 a review of guidelines for certification as a Reading Clinician in Manitoba was undertaken in response to changing course offerings at the University of Manitoba and evolving guidelines around the certification of literacy professionals.  The International Literacy Association Standards for the Preparation of Literacy Professionals (2017) was used as a guiding document in the formulation of these recommendations as well as in the re-envisioning of the syllabus for the clinical course (7060) in partnership with the University of Manitoba. The project was undertaken by clinician representatives from two urban and one rural school division in Manitoba and in collaboration with the Manitoba Teacher Certification Branch and the University of Manitoba.

We are excited to announce that the new certification guidelines have been approved by the Minister of Education.  These new guidelines include both a coursework-based route and a thesis-based route.  This will afford students the opportunity to conduct research on a deeper level in an area of interest related to the clinical reading specialty within the Masters program and opens doors for doctoral programs that are currently not an option for those completing the coursework-based Masters.

The new guidelines can be found here .

A note: The pre-Jan 2021 requirements will also be accepted for students currently enrolled who started their program with those requirements in place.