ONE TO ONE with Angela Low

What does children’s literacy have to do with feelings? According to Angela Low, there’s a lot more to it than you might think.

ONE TO ONE volunteers got to know Angela at this year’s volunteer in-service training. On March 3, Angela led a workshop exploring how the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education’s Heart-Mind Framework can help us support the social-emotional well-being of the kids in our lives, including the kids we tutor. For example, did you know playing literacy games can help build a child’s working memory, or that we can model good relationships and problem-solving skills to the children we tutor? You can learn more about the framework by visiting Heart-Mind Online—a great website stacked with free resources for educators and families, like this article that discusses how to use a book to explore emotional literacy with your young reader.

Angela has been facilitating workshops on emotional intelligence for 12 years in China and Canada and is a researcher with the Social, Emotional and Educational Development (SEED) lab at the University of British Columbia. As part of her doctoral studies in the Human Development, Learning and Culture program at UBC, Angela researches and develops resources to support the social-emotional competence and well-being of families and children.

So, what does an expert like Angela keep in her bookcase? Following the in-service, we caught up with Angela to learn what literacy means to her.

Why do you read? I used to read for the pleasure of being swept away in a story, and feeling all those emotions—awe, excitement, anticipation, sadness, shock, nostalgia—that (thankfully!) don’t occur much in my rather routine life. These days, I mostly read journal articles as part of my doctoral studies—many interesting and informational reads, although not terribly emotionally stimulating.

What book should everyone read and why? Oh so many possibilities. Probably Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, which was important for bringing attention to a set of skills that help us succeed in life and relationships, that we can all grow. Reading this book set me on my career path as a researcher and educator in social and emotional development.

What is/was your favourite book to read to children? Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. It always cracks me up and makes us all feel better. Everybody has a day like that and its good to know you are not alone.

Where’s your favourite place to read? My giant red armchair at home, that has held me through a decade of reading, often while feeding or carrying my sleepy babies in their early years. But nothing beats reading in bed just before I go to sleep!

Currently reading: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. Probably my next answer to what book everyone should read.

Guilty pleasure read: Oprah magazines. Lots of bite-sized cheesy bits of inspiration in them.

Favourite word: Enough. As in, I am enough. We are enough. And that’s good enough.