The lines "Whoopy once/ whoopy twice/ whoopy chicken soup/ with rice" come from Maurice Sendak's delightful picture book "Chicken Soup With Rice." Perfect reading for a chilly day in Montreal (last I heard it was minus 21 without the windchill), which is why I read the book to my "Writing for Children" class this morning.

...which gave me the idea to dedicatetoday's blog entry to the benefits of reading aloud. Earlier in this morning's class, I told students that a great way to proofread their work is to read it aloud. I also told them that when I get upset with my grown daughter for not reading my books (now she did read What World Is Left and she said SHE LOVED IT!!), she always says, "But Mom, I heard you read the whole thing!" Of course, now that she has moved to New York, she no longer has the pleasure of listening to me read aloud while I write!

I think one of the most important things parents can do for their kids is read aloud to them. There is no better way to promote literacy, not to mention that reading aloud also provides great cuddle-time. Tomorrow, I'll be participating in an event to celebrate Family Literacy Day and to promote a local literacy organization called J'Apprends Avec Mon Enfant. Several other children's writers will be there -- we are going to distribute books in order to start a chain of reading. So look for a blog entry about the event -- will try to write something tomorrow, though it may have to wait till Wednesday.

On Friday, I'll be in Toronto for the Ontario Library Association annual super-conference, where I'll be presenting What World Is Left -- and meeting up with lots of other children's authors. Good news for you, dear blog reader, since I'll likely get lots of writing tips for you. Off I go now, my marking's done, so that means I get to spend the afternoon at the computer tinkering with my latest book project.