Ruby Rules the Rink

Article

Ruby Rules the Rink

Everything Starts with Literacy: Deloitte worked with Innovations for Learning to author and illustrate a storybook featuring words in Anishinaabemowin; promoting Indigenous language revitalization

OVERVIEW & CHALLENGE

Children in Canada who complete 3rd grade without the ability to read proficiently are four times less likely to graduate high school. That is why Innovations for Learning (IFL), a Canadian non-profit organization, has focused on assisting young readers in under-resourced schools with their literacy development. Deloitte Canada has been working with IFL’s TutorMate program over the past four years and recently collaborated to launch a children’s storybook series designed to support Indigenous language revitalization and to further the priorities and world views of Indigenous communities.

Ruby Rules the Rink (RRTR) is a Deloitte sponsored storybook created by Indigenous artists that is a part of IFL’s Original Storybook Series. RRTR is about a young girl named Ruby who gets called to play in the big hockey game for the Wiikwemkoong Thunderbirds team since their best defensive player called in sick. Ruby must conquer her nerves and take GII GCHI GIDAAKWE ('a big shot' in Anishinaabemowin). Most of the players are boys that are larger and faster than her – but she grabs her ZHOOSHKWAADAAGANAN (ice skates) and makes the trip to Moose Factory with her mom and teammates.

IMPACT & CALL TO ACTION

Each storybook is infused with Indigenous languages – Ruby Rules the Rink contains Anishinaabemowin words and phrases. Students and tutors are able to click on these words to see phonetic spellings and hear audio clips of elders and knowledge keepers pronouncing them in Anishinaabemowin, allowing them to explore the original language of the region together, while young children learn to read. Ruby Rules the Rink was brought to life by author Nancy Cooper and illustrator Emily Cote and is now available on the TutorMate platform to thousands of students, teachers, families, and tutors across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. It will also be part of the global story library available online for free to everyone on the TutorMate website, starting next year. The global story library will explore more social justice issues and celebrate diversity in all forms. We encourage you to read more about the work we have done with Innovations for Learning and other Impact Every Day initiatives in our Canadian Impact Report.

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