More than 60 Grade 2 students attending Reading College this month

The program was developed by The Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools

Reading College will help Grade 2 students improve their literacy for the seventh straight year.

The program, which was developed by The Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools, officially began its seventh year this past week at Red Deer College.

Bruce Buruma, foundation executive director, said one of the best predictors of high school completion is whether students are reading at grade-level by the end of Grade 3.

“We also recognize some students struggle with reading and writing and while there are great supports happening within a school, using a different approach and some intense work with them over the summer can actually make a real difference for kids,” Buruma said.

Students’ reading abilities will sometimes regress during summer months because there is less motivation to read and write, Buruma added.

The annual program takes in around 60 students every year – schools identify which students are struggling readers and will suggest them for the program.

Over 20 days in July students will learn reading, writing and phonics in different ways, including through activities like a scavenger hunt.

Three retired teachers and six RDC bachelor of education graduates mentor the students.

Buruma said Reading College graduates are more confident with their reading and writing heading into Grade 3.

“We’re inspiring kids to read and write,” he said. “For some of those students, they were almost starting to lose interest in reading and writing because they found it challenging.”

Feedback from schools shows tremendous growth in skills and interest, he added.

“This isn’t just about literacy, it’s also about student success and their high school completion,” he said.

Buruma said the program just gets better each year.

“We have a tremendously committed group of educators who want to make a difference for kids.

“We know what works and I think we’ve honed in on what makes a big difference for kids. But we’re always looking for ways to improve and make the program better,” he said.

Reading College’s graduation is July 27 at RDC.

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