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Crucial to teach kids about democracy

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Despite the sometimes frigid weather, February is one of my favourite months to be an MLA. This is because all across Canada, in most schools, it is I Love to Read Month.

Reading is such an important skill for children to learn. As one of my favourite pastimes, I look forward to this part of the year because I get to share my love of reading with local students. To help schools in my constituency celebrate, I go to each of them and get the chance to talk to students and show them why I love to read!  

Every February, I go to each elementary school in our constituency and read to a few of the classes. This year, I am reading The Day the Crayons Quit and What Does the Fox Say?

I’ve already visited two of the elementary schools in Kildonan and am scheduled to go to the other four later in the month. While I don’t read aloud to junior high or high school students, we always donate books to add to their libraries.  

When I get the opportunity to talk to children in our area, I always like to talk about democracy and what it means to Canadians. I explain what democracy is and why we are so lucky to live in a country where we get the opportunity to experience it.  For fun I also do a "mock parliament" session where I facilitate debate on whether or not we should lower the driving age to 10. Then we do a vote, and thankfully the kids usually vote against it. I believe exercises like these are crucial because they expose our children to the importance of voting, and explain that the decisions the government makes ultimately affect their lives as well as all Manitobans.

I always end my time at the schools by telling students that when I was in Grade 4, I visited the Manitoba Legislative Building and thought "Wow, what a great place to work someday."

With that goal in mind, I worked hard and I achieved my dream. I tell them that if they set goals and work towards them, read as much as they can, listen to their parents and teachers, and be nice to everyone, they can do anything they put their minds to.

For more information about I Love to Read Month, feel free to contact my office at 204-334-5060, or send me an email at Dave.Chomiak@YourManitoba.ca.  

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