Publisher Spotlight: ORCA Book Publishers

Posted:27 October 2020

Author: Cheryl Lovstrom, Community Learning Network

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Comments: 1

Recommendations: 0


For the past 4 years, CALPs across Alberta have had access to generous book discounts from a variety of publishing companies. This year I'd like to highlight those companies by sharing a bit more about who they are and what they offer. This week we start with ORCA Book Publishers.

Based in BC, Orca Book Publishers have been in business since 1984. They are an independently owned and operated, Canadian book publisher with a passion for bringing knowledge to readers of all ages. In their words, "We strive to produce books that illuminate the experiences of people of all ethnicities, people with disabilities and people who identify as LGBTQ+. Our goal is to provide reading material that represents the diversity of human experience to readers of all ages."

I'll let you in on a little secret. I am a reluctant reader. I have no issues with reading or comprehension, but the book had better be a good one if it's going to hold my interest. My guilty pleasure? Teen drama! The Ranger's Apprentice, Twighlight, you name it, I'll eat it up. Why? Because they're a "quick" read that moves at a pace I can get into. There's no great brain power involved in untwisting a complicated plot and, most of the time, at least one or two of the characters are quite lovable. Is there a better way to dive into reading than with material you enjoy?

Who doesn't love a good read? We know most of our learners don't. Yet. For those not yet readers in your programs (or your home), Orca Books has just the ticket. They have several series designed to engage even the most reluctant reader.

Our friend Janet over at Orca recommends the Orca Currents series. She found them engaging and easy to wrap her mind around, even at the start of Covid. The Orca description reads, "Orca Currents are short, high-interest novels with contemporary themes written specifically for middle school students reading below grade level. Reading levels from grade 2.0 to 5.0. Interest levels 10-14." All Orca Currents books have an accompanying, free teacher guide: https://www.orcabook.com/Orca-Currents.aspx. The teacher guides include a reading level, book summary, and:

  • Author Biography5w Books
  • Connecting to the Text
  • Connecting to the Curriculum (cross-curricular connections)
  • Connecting to Students - Ideas for Exploration

Other series for aspiring readers include:

Orca Soundings 

The description on the web page reads, "These are short, high-interest novels written specifically for teens. These edgy stories with compelling characters and gripping storylines are ones they will want to read. Reading levels from grade 2.0 to 4.5; interest level ages 12+." There are dozens of titles to choose from, and they all come with a free teacher's guide: https://www.orcabook.com/Orca-Soundings.aspx

Each guide gives a summary of the book, and includes these topics:

  • Pre-reading Ideas
  • Connecting to the World - Writing and Research Ideas
  • Connecting to the Text - Elements of the Novel
  • Connecting to the Students - Discussion Questions
  • Writer's Craft (includes descriptive language elements)
  • Author Biography

Rapid Reads 

Orca's description says, "Rapid Reads are short novels and nonfiction books for adult readers. They are intended for a diverse audience, including ESL students, reluctant readers, adults who struggle with literacy and anyone who wants a high-interest quick read. Reading levels from grade 2.0 to 6.0; interest level ages 16+." Rapid Reads also have free reading guides for each story: https://www.orcabook.com/Rapid-Reads.aspx. Each guide includes a summary of the story and suggested questions for discussion.

Find free downloads and resource websites on the Resources for Educators and Parents page. While you're at it, check out the Orca Teacher Resources page for more guides and downloadable support materials: https://www.orcabook.com/Teacherresources.aspx

Not only does Orca Books have some amazing resources and fantastic free add-ons, but they have, once again, agreed to extend a very generous offer to CALPs throughout Alberta. Now through February 26, 2021, all CALPs ordering 10 book titles or more will receive a 40% discount when they use the discount code CALP.

So what are you waiting for? Check out Orca Book Publishers today!

Cheryl Lovstrom
CLN Central Region RSS

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