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Visiting Author Proves Math Isn’t All That Scary

Shayne Morrow, Alberni Valley Times

Published: Friday, April 30, 2010

Children’s author Lori Sherritt-Fleming proved that math can actually be fun for school kids, with a series of spirited book readings in local elementary schools this week.

The three-day tour was sponsored by Literacy Alberni and included a Monday workshop with teachers and performances of her debut illustrated book, aRHYTHMetic at the schools. The Times met Sherritt-Fleming at Maquinna Elementary.

The author prefaced her reading by telling the children how a similar school visit by an author when she was in Grade 5 proved to be a life-changing event.

“I said to myself, ‘That’s what I want to do with my life – write stories and perform on stage, all over Canada,'” Sherritt-Fleming said. And that’s what she’s done, as a writer, producer and founder of her own theatre company, The Tickle Trunk Players.

With manic energy, Sherritt-Fleming kept her young audience (and their teachers) riveted with selections from aRHYTHMetic, which is, sure enough, arithmetic put to rhythm. Stinky Cheese combined interactive puzzle illustration with a mystery story.

One of the highlights was rotTEN Dragons. These guys come ten at a time, and they do some pretty gross stuff, like “drinking out of toilets.” This is a pretty different approach for a counting exercise, and the proof of its effectiveness was in the delight of the audience.

Sherritt-Fleming also needed volunteers to perform several of her pieces, including the Teacup Puppies. This time, the props included plenty of dog biscuits. For Third in the Herd, it was buffalo hats. And as the children discovered, being third isn’t necessarily such a bad thing, especially in bovine company (just remember: “first is the worst”).

Alberni Elementary teacher Megan Reddick acted as school liaison for the author during her visit.

“We’re doing six presentations is two days in the Valley,” Reddick said. “We’ll reach students from every elementary school, including the children from Haahuupayak and John Paul II Catholic School.”

That included a bilingual presentation at Alberni Elementary on Tuesday morning. You can check out Sherritt-Fleming’s website at www.tickletrunkplayers.com or lorisherritt.com

SMorrow@avtimes.net

© Alberni Valley Times 2010

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