Kids, Sports

The Shediac Capitals Play Hockey – And Read

Shediac Capitals with Coach Shane Doiron; image: Cole Burston, The Globe and Mail
Image: Cole Burston, The Globe and Mail

The kids on the Shediac Capitals hockey team do all the usual stuff everyone else does: they gear up, put on skates and helmets, then they hit the ice.

During practices they do drills, learn new moves and shoot pucks.

After practice, they go into the dressing room, unlace their skates and take off their gear, just like any other team. But then the Shediac Capitals do something very different. They get out their books.

After every hockey practice, the grade-school aged kids who make up the Shediac Capitals in Moncton, NB have a reading circle.

Shane Doiron, 36, is the team’s coach. When he was a kid, he played hockey really well. He knew all the rules, he could skate quickly and he could shoot well.

But Doiron didn’t do as well in school. His grammar and vocabulary weren’t great and he couldn’t read quickly or keep up with his classmates.

When Doiron became the coach of the Shediac Capitals, he wanted to help the kids become great hockey players, but he also wanted them to be great readers, writers, and thinkers.

So three years ago Doiron started the reading circle that takes place after every practice.

He tells his players to read for at least 20 minutes a day, before they go to bed. There are many books to choose from, like sports stories, adventure books, and, of course, stories about Canadians and hockey. Doiron encourages them to make notes or draw pictures about the books they read.

On practice day, the kids bring their books to the arena along with their notes and pictures. After practice during the reading circle, each player shares what he read that week.

To Doiron, being a great player and having a healthy body is really important—but having a strong mind and being a great student is worth even more.


Writing/Discussion Prompt
Teachers and parents often motivate children to read. However, today’s article tells the story of a hockey coach who also encourages kids to read. In your life, who encourages you to become a better reader? How do they do motivate you?

Reading Prompt
Reading unfamiliar words can be very challenging. One strategy that readers use when confronted by a word they don’t know, is to look for smaller words inside the new word. For example, when you sounded out the word “Shediac,” were you able to see the small word “she” inside the new word? Underline 8 words in today’s article that contain a small word (at least 3 letters) inside it.

Primary, Junior, & Intermediate
Predict the meaning of and rapidly solve unfamiliar words using different
types of cues, including: graphophonic (phonological and graphic) cues (OME, Reading: 3.2).

Grammar Feature: Prepositions
A preposition is a word that tells of a relationship between a noun and another word in the sentence. For example, in the following sentence, the word “after” is a preposition because it describes the relationship between practice and when the players go into the dressing room to take their equipment off.

After practice, they go into the dressing room, unlace their skates and take off their gear, just like any other team.

Below is a list of a few prepositions. Underline a total of 16 prepositions in today’s article.

about, at, between, from, of, until, through, above, across, by, in, off, to up, among, behind, down, into, on, upon, under, near, for, with, after, around, beneath.