Of the seven students from Joseph Welsh Elementary School who attended Reading College this summer, there was one family particularly pleased with the results.
The summer program takes students going into Grade 3, but who are struggling with reading and writing. The monthlong program held at Red Deer College helps them get the literacy skills they need to succeed.
One student’s father was so happy with the results he saw in his child, that he bought Smile Cookies from Tim Hortons, for the whole school.
“Anytime you can see the things education is doing and really touching lives like that, it’s amazing,” said Bill Kwasny, Joseph Welsh Elementary School principal. “The student was always a boy with lots of spirit, but this added some joy for learning.”
The Smile Cookie Campaign raised nearly $34,000 for Reading College. The cookies were sold at local Tim Hortons and the proceeds went to support Reading College.
At a cheque presentation at Tim Hortons, near 68th Street and Gaetz Avenue, on Tuesday it was announced that the campaign had raised $33,978 in support of the summer literacy program.
“If you look at the reading growth, it’s about three months of growth in one month’s time,” said Kwasny.
Elvy Goring, Reading College’s program coordinator, said over the month they see a real change in the student’s confidence and willingness to learn.
“For students who come in at a lower reading level, it usually means they’re also coming in at a lower writing level,” said Goring. “We see a huge increase in the willingness to do the work. It is hard work and it takes a while before there’s an intrinsic reward in reading and writing. But the amount they want to read just grows.”
This past year, 63 students from across Red Deer graduated from the program, which is run by the Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools. It runs for a month, five days a week, at no cost to the parents.