Children’s Choice Awards (CCA) are one of the most effective ways of instilling a love of reading in school-aged children. The distinguishing feature of CCA’s is that children are invited to read from a curated list of nominated books, and then vote for the winner. Schools, libraries and individual families can participate. Some of the awards have a festival or event at which children can meet the authors, get autographs, and participate in workshops and activities.
York Professor Sharon Murphy, in her survey of existing research on reading, notes,
“The research shows that choice, control, and the implementation of reading as a social activity are key to building a nation of those who love to read versus a nation of those who can read.” CCAs incorporate all three — choice, control, and reading as a social activity.
Some quotes from students & parents who participated in the Forest of Reading, Ontario’s Children’s Choice Awards –
“Some people think books are just for looking at pictures …. before I hated books but now I love them.”
“It makes us want to read the books because you want to know who’s in the competition so then you can say, “I want this book to win!”
“Normally only adults can vote for stuff and children can’t vote. In the Forest, you can vote for your favourite book. Also, I normally just read books on topics that I know and that I know I will like. The Frest shows me a variety of books I’d like to read.”
“Led to book talks at home as well.”
“My child reads much more now.”
“Led me to the public library too!”
The National Reading Campaign advocates that:
All Canadian children have access to a program of this type, and for those programs to have stable financing.
What can I do?
Encourage your child’s school to participate in a Children’s Choice Award, or participate in one directly!
Here are links to current CCAs in Canada:
Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award
English fiction, Grades 4 to 6 / age 9 to 12
English non-fiction, Grades 4 to 6 / age 9 to 12
French fiction, Grades 4 to 6 / age 9 to 12
French non-fiction, Grades 4 to 6 / age 9 to 12
Forest of Reading® Awards
Blue Spruce™ Award, Picture Books, Ages 4 to 7 / Grades K to 2
Silver Birch® Award, Fiction & Non-fiction, Ages 8 to 12 / Grades 3 to 6
Silver Birch® Express Award, Fiction & Non-fiction, Ages 8 to 12/ Grades 3 to 6 (reluctant readers)
Red Maple™ Award, Fiction and Non-Fiction every other year, Ages 12 to 13 / Grades 7-8
White Pine™ Award, Fiction and Non-Fiction every other year Ages 13 to 17/ Highschool
Le Prix Tamarac, French fiction & non-fiction, ages vary depending on French programming for children (chapter books from 100 to 250 pages, smaller text with little or no illustrations, more complicated verb tenses and vocabulary)
Le Prix Tamarac Express ages vary depending on French programming for children (shorter chapter books maximum 100 pages or more mature picture books, larger texte with pictures, simpler vocabulary and verb tenses)
Le Prix Peuplier, French picture-books, ages vary depending on French programming for children (picture books, less text, simpler subject matters, beautiful picture books perfect for read alouds)
**NOTE: The Forest of Reading welcomes schools and families from all provinces and territories to get involved in the Forest of Reading. Join 250,000 other readers!
Shining Willow (young readers)
Diamond Willow, Grades 4 to 6, ages 9 to 12
Snow Willow, Grades 7 to 9 / ages 13 to 15
Red Cedar Awards
Fiction, Grades 4 to 7 / age 9 to 13
Non-fiction, Grades 4 to 7 / age 9 to 13