The Road Map to Reading

Have you noticed your four or five-year-old recognizing letters or common words? Maybe they’re pretending to read to their siblings or friends? You’re now wondering if it’s a good time to start teaching your kid how to read… The answer is yes!

If you’re not sure where to start, this post compares two resources from DC Canada that are designed to help you teach your kids how to read and, most importantly, help you share your love of reading.

Super Hammy: My First Reading Series

And his car.jpgThe goal of the Super Hammy levelled reading series is to help kids develop their basic reading skills. Learning to read is a very large task but breaking it into steps with levelled readers will ensure that your kids are learning at a manageable pace.

Free lesson plans are also available to guide you in teaching your kids other reading skills that you might not even know you have! Think about the skills you use when deciding on a new book to read. You analyze the title on the cover, the summary on the back, and the first few sentences inside the book.

For more fun ways to help your kids develop their reading skills, take a look at our free lesson plans:

One Story A Day

One Story A Day isn’t just about reading comprehension, it’s about sharing experiences and reading together. These delightful stories contain life lessons and situations based on the real world, and they will inspire conversations that you and your child will bond keys 1.jpg

Reading together daily also helps develop a habit of reading. Your kids will practice their reading skills with you every day! The chapters of One Story A Day also gradually increase in difficulty to continue challenging your kids as their ability to read improves.

Both collections also come with an audio CD, which is great for when you’re on the go since you can listen together in the car!

Reading with your child gives them the gentle guidance they need to become a life-long lover of books and reading. Good luck on your journey! We hope to see you many times along the way.


Enjoy this post from our guest contributor, Mary Jane Schauland!



Félicitations aux gagnants de notre concours annuel Le Petit grand penseur 2017 et merci à tous ceux qui ont participé!

Chaque année, nous invitons des enfants âgés de 5 à 11 ans à répondre à une des 4 questions philosophiques posées dans n’importe quel format dans lequel ils se sentent à l’aise afin d’avoir la chance de gagner des livres et des jeux pour leur salle de classe. Cette année, nous avons reçu une multitude de réponses créatives et originales à travers des écoles issues de partout au Canada. Les réponses provenaient d’écoles publiques, d’écoles privées et aussi d’enfants faisant l’école à la maison. Ce n’était vraiment pas facile de choisir parmi tant d’excellentes réponses! Il y avait des histoires, de beaux dessins et même des vidéos. Nous partagerons plusieurs d’entre eux sur nos pages Facebook et Twitter dans les prochains jours.

Nos juges ont dû choisir 3 réponses en français et en Anglais qui montraient un sens critique, de l’originalité et la compréhension de la question. Voici les gagnants du concours Le Petit Grand penseur 2017!


1er prix – Hudson Van Dale – Winnipeg, Manitoba

2e prix – Reese Layman – Ottawa, Ontario

3e prix – Malacai Heibert – Steinbach, Manitoba


1er prix – Rileigh Dusseault – Penticton, Colombie Britannique

2e prix – Alex Jung – Penticton, Colombie Britannique

3e prix – Faith Henderson – Penticton, Colombie Britannique

Et encore de bonnes nouvelles! Notre jeu Apprenti-Sage qui est le jeu inspirant le concours a été choisi comme jeu de l’année 2017 par le magazine Creative Kids! Félicitations au Dr. George Ghanotakis et son équipe à l’institut canadien de philosophie pour enfants.

Dr George Ghanotakis travaille en ce moment afin de mettre en place un tournoi de discussion philosophique et démocratique à travers le Canada, les Olympiades Playwise, inspirées par le National High School Ethics Bowl et Philosophy Slam qui a lieu aux États-Unis. Nous sommes à la recherche d’écoles (élémentaires, lycées et secondaires) qui pourraient être intéressées à accueillir l’évènement dans leurs écoles en 2018! Pour plus d’informations ou pour être bénévoles, n’hésitez pas à nous contacter à!Apprenti-sage-gameoftheyear

The Winners of the Little Big Thinkers Contest 2017

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s Little Big Thinker Contest and thank you to everyone who participated!

Every year we invite students from ages 5 to 11 to answer a philosophical question in any format they prefer for a chance to win books and games for the class. This year we were bombarded with smart and creative answers from across the country. Our submissions came from public schools, private schools, and home schools – it was not easy to choose from such a wealth of imaginative and original work! There were short stories, beautiful drawings, and even videos. We’ll be sharing many of them on our Facebook and Twitter over the next few days.

Our judges chose three answers in French and English that clearly addressed the question with a creative and original answer. Here are the 2017 Little Big Thinkers Contest Winners!


1st Prize – Hudson Van Dale – Winnipeg, Manitoba.

2nd Prize – Reese – Ottawa, Ontario.

3rd Prize – Malacai Heibert – Steinbach, Manitoba.


1st – Rileigh Dusseault – Penticton, British Columbia

2nd – Alex Jung – Penticton, British Columbia

3rd – Faith Henderson – Penticton, British Columbia

And more great news: Playwise, the inspiration for this contest, has been chosen as Creative Child Magazine’s Game of the Year for 2017! Congratulations to Dr. George Ghanotakis and his team at the Canadian Institute of Philosophy for Children.

Dr. Ghanotakis is working to establish a Canada-wide tournament of philosophical, democratic discussion, the Playwise Olympiads, inspired by the National High School Ethics Bowl and Philosophy Slam taking place in the United States. We’re looking for schools (elementary, junior high, middle school, and secondary) who are interested in hosting these events in 2018! For more information, or to volunteer, please feel free to contact us any time at!

playwise game of the year

The Olympiades Apprenti-Sage!

Here’s a fun and brainy weekend activity for families in Montreal, Quebec: the Olympiades Apprenti-Sage, which is taking place on April 8th, from 3pm until 5pm for ages 6 to 11. For ages 11 to 16, another tournament will take place from 6pm until 8pm. All ages are welcome to play from 9am until noon. This is the French language version of the parlour game Playwise, and the tournament will be in French.

The format of the Olympiades is very similar to a debate, but rather than competing to prove one another wrong, players are awarded laurels based on the value of their contributions to the discussion. Apprenti-Sage can also be compared to other well-loved games such as Apples to Apples, or HYPERtheticals, where the most original answer usually wins.

The Olympiades Apprenti-Sage is organized by Dr. George Ghanotakis.  As the founder of the Canadian Institute of Philosophy for Children, George is doing everything he can to popularize philosophy in elementary classrooms with his unique line of books and games. There’s no question why. Educators and parents alike recognise the need for children need to express their thoughts and feelings in constructive ways by participating in meaningful discussions.

Playwise and the Little Books series provide the framework for amusing conversations that delve into a wide range of philosophical questions and hypothetical situations. With regular practice this will improve your child’s memory, develop creativity, and boost his or her confidence. Math and language skills will improve along with the ability to reason independently and evaluate one’s own ideas and actions. It’s also very entertaining to learn about the way our friends’ and family members’ minds are working. Whether in the classroom or around the table at home, these books and games will fire up your mind and leave you with many happy memories.

Critical thinking tools like the games and books developed by Dr. Ghanotakis provide parents and educators with important opportunities to assess the critical thinking skills of children while they play independently or as a group. In one round of Apprenti-Sage, students take turns answering questions, explaining their reasoning, and then invite others to respond. The game encourages kids to think aloud and build on the ideas of others.  It starts simply by asking a question. Any question. Is it ever okay to lie? What would a tree say if it could speak? George says the game has been approved for ages 6 to 106, so bring the family! We hope to see you there.

playwise box

Our yearly Little Big Thinker Contest is based on Playwise and the Little Books of Questions. It’s a small taste of what these great books and games have to offer with a chance to win stuff for the classroom!  The deadline for submissions is May 15th and kids from 5 to 11 are welcome to answer in any format that highlights their strengths and individual talents. Good luck, and have fun!




Le concours Petit Grand Penseur!

Faites travailler votre matière grise, les enfants! Les écoliers de Jardin à la 6ième année, vous pouvez gagner des livres et des jeux pour votre classe lors du concours Petit Grand Penseur de cette année en répondant à une des quatre questions suivantes et en nous envoyant votre réponse avant le 15 Mai 2017 :

  1. Peux-tu imaginer ce qui se produirait si personne n’allait à l’école?
  2. Imagine qu’un arbre puisse te parler. Que dirait-il?
  3. Penses-tu que le monde serait meilleur si tous les gens avaient la même apparence?
  4. Imagine-toi dans un monde où personne n’utilise d’argent. Qu’arrive-t-il?

Peux-tu t’imaginer un monde où personne ne va à l’école? Je parie que oui et que tu le fais souvent! Comment cela changerait ta vie et que ferais-tu de tes journées? Aurais-tu des amis différents? Comment apprendrais-tu, ou voudrais-tu plutôt jouer toute la journée? Imagine-toi qu’un arbre puisse te parler. Que dirait-il? Les arbres peuvent vivre jusqu’à cent ans ou même jusqu’à mille ans! À quoi penseraient-ils tout ce temps? Ils doivent avoir une histoire à raconter. Penses-tu que le monde serait meilleur si tout le monde se ressemblait? Est-ce que ça changerait les choses ou non? De quoi aurait-on l’air? Imagine-toi dans un monde où personne n’utilise d’argent. Qu’est-ce qui se produirait? Comment nous procurerions-nous les choses dont nous avons besoin si nous ne pouvons ni les fabriquer, ni les faire pousser nous-mêmes? Quel monde ce serait!


Le concours Petit Grand Penseur s’inspire de la série Petit Livre de Questions et du jeu de société Apprenti-sage par Dr. George Ghanotakis, fondateur de la Canadian Institute of Philosophy for Children. Dr. Ghanotakis a développé une collection de livres et de jeux pour la salle de classe pour faciliter le développement et l’évaluation des habiletés de pensée critique des étudiants d’école primaire. La pratique de réponses hypothétiques défi les écoliers à imaginer et à s’impliquer avec des points de vue nouveaux et différents. Les écoliers développeront des habiletés de partage d’idées, mettront au défi leurs propres perceptions et la perception des autres. Ils évalueront, de plus, leur propre raisonnement. Demandez à la classe d’analyser ces questions et évaluez les issues possibles à ces quatre situations hypothétiques. Ils peuvent choisir de répondre dans quelque format qui soit, quant à leurs forces et leur style personnel. S’ils sont de meilleurs parleurs que rédacteur, sentez-vous libre de retranscrire leur réponse. Si un écolier est gêné mais aime dessiner, soumettez-nous cette image avec une explication de ce qui s’y trouve. Encouragez les enfants de la classe à imaginer les résultats de leurs décisions et à expliquer leur raisonnement. Donnez-leur le temps de développer et raffiner leurs réponses afin de les présenter sur leur meilleur jour. Envoyez-nous le tout au ou, par courier, au:

DC Canada Education Publishing
180 Metcalfe Street, Suite 204
Ottawa, ON.
K2P 1P5

Vous pouvez répondre à ces questions dans quelque format que ce soit, en autant que la réponse soit claire. Il n’y a pas de mauvaise réponse! Rédigez votre histoire basée sur votre perception de la question, ou faites un dessin et expliquez ce qui s’y trouve. Mets-toi en groupe avec un collègue de classe si tu travailles mieux en groupe, ou travaille en groupe pour développer tes idées et envoie-nous la réponse séparément, par toi-même. Nous avons hâte de recevoir ta réponse!

Les soumissions sont dues d’ici le 15 Mai et les gagnants seront annoncés le 31 Mai. Contactez Susanne chez DC Canada si vous aimeriez animer un tournois Apprenti-sage!

The Little Big Thinker Contest!

Put your thinking caps on kiddos! Students from Kindergarten to Grade 6 can win books and games for the classroom in this year’s Little Big Thinker Contest by answering one of the following four questions and sending it to us before May 15th:

  1. Can you imagine what would happen if no one went to school?
  2. Imagine a tree could tell you something. What would that be?
  3. Do you think the world would be a better place if everyone looked the same?
  4. Imagine you’re in a world where no one uses money. What would happen?

Can you imagine what would happen if no one went to school? I bet you can and do very often! How would life change, and where would you be during the day? Would you have different friends? How would you learn, or would you play all day?

Imagine a tree could tell you something. What would that be? Trees can live to be a hundred, even a thousand years old! What would they be thinking about all that time? They must have a story to tell.

Do you think the world would be a better place if everyone looked the same? How would it change things, or not? What would we look like?

Imagine you’re in a world where no one uses money. What would happen? How would we get the things we need if we cannot make or grow them ourselves? What a different world it would be!


The Little Big Thinker Contest is based on the Little Book of Questions series and the parlor game Playwise by Dr.  George Ghanotakis, founder of the Canadian Institute of Philosophy for Children.  Dr. Ghanotakis has developed a line of books and games for the classroom to facilitate the development and assessment of critical thinking ability in elementary students. The practice of answering hypothetical questions challenges students to imagine and engage with new or different points of view. Students will develop their ability to share ideas, challenge their own perceptions and the perceptions of others, and evaluate their own reasoning.

Ask the class to analyse these questions and investigate the possible outcomes of these four hypothetical situations. They may choose to answer in any format that suits their strengths and personal style. If they’re better speakers than writers, please feel free to record their answer. If a student is shy but loves to draw, submit a picture of his or her answer with an explanation of what is being shown.

Encourage the class to imagine the outcome of their decisions and explain their reasoning. Give them time to develop and refine their answers to show them off in the best light.
Send them to, or mail them to us at:

DC Canada Education Publishing
180 Metcalfe Street, Suite 204
Ottawa, ON.
K2P 1P5

You can answer these questions in any format you prefer so long as the answer is clear. There are no wrong answers! Write a story based on what you think of the question, or draw a picture and explain what is being shown. Pair up with a classmate if you can work better together, or work as a group to develop your ideas and submit the answer alone. We can’t wait to hear what you think! Submissions are due by May 15th and the contest winners will be announced on May 31st. Contact Susanne at DC Canada if you would like to host a classroom tournament of Playwise! Watch our Facebook page for more information. 

The 2017 Little Big Thinker Contest

The “winding down” days at the end of a school semester are anything but. Classes may be about to end, but for kids the summer season is full of potential and the fun is really just beginning. Teachers are full of inventive ways to channel a classroom’s energy into creative projects for these final days. Last year, DC Canada introduced The Little Big Thinker Contest to give schools a chance to host a class tournament of our critical thinking game, Playwise, on the last day of school.

Playwise is a board game for ages 6 and up. With three different ways to play, the game can be tailored for varying levels of ability and competitiveness. The goal is to think creatively, think fast, and communicate clearly. Players takes turns being the judge of each round and awarding laurels while the others offer their best answer to hypothetical philosophical questions. It pays to be imaginative as it is often the most unique answer that wins the round.

The Little Big Thinker Contest is based on the game Playwise and the My Little Books series, both developed by the founder of the Canadian Institute of Philosophy for Children, Dr. George Ghanotakis. Last year we gave schools four philosophical questions from the My Little Books series and their answers were extraordinary! We could only pick three winners to receive books and games for the class, but the real reward of this game is always to see demonstrations of the wild range of seriousness and imagination that kids bring to the game.

This year we’re doing it again. Four questions will be announced in early February. The top three answers will be selected by our panel of judges in April, and the winners will receive books and games for themselves and the class. One class will be chosen to host a Playwise tournament on the last day of school!

Has a little big thinker stumped you with a funny question? We want to hear it! Send it to us by email, via Twitter, or on Facebook.

Want to join us on this year’s big thinking adventure? Volunteer to be a judge!

Dr. George Ghanotakis, founder of the Canadian Institute of Philosophy for Children, developed the game Playwise and the My Little Books series to introduce kids of ages 6 and up to philosophy and critical thinking.