Making learning fun is the goal of Reading College teacher Janna Armstrong, who’s helping boost the literacy of these Red Deer public school students to grade level before they hit Grade 3. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

WATCH: Red Deer’s Reading College mixes learning with fun to give students a promising future

Public school program at RDC helps Grade-two-ers catch up on literacy skills

Reading and writing in a classroom doesn’t seem like a fun summertime activity — so why do 61 Grade-2 students seem so enthusiastic about Reading College?

Co-ordinator Elvy Goring said it’s because hiking, horticulture, crafts and games are incorporated into the Red Deer Public School District reading program, running this month at Red Deer College.

Educational researchers have discovered that children who are not reading at grade level by the end of Grade 3 have a higher rate of dropping out of high school, because they also struggle with social studies, science and math instructions, said Goring.

The Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools decided to do something about that. Seven years ago, the foundation sought community sponsorships, donations and gifts-in-kind to start helping students who, at the end of Grade 2, are needing extra help with literacy skills.

Goring said public school kids who are identified as struggling with reading and writing are bused to RDC for 20 days of additional learning in a program that’s quite unique in Alberta.

Since the teachers know regular classroom studies will make for an interminable summer for the youngsters, they make an effort to bring camp-like activities to Reading College.

Goring said students are rotated through theme rooms: Awesome Authors, Radical Readers and Word Wizards. They hear a motivational speech about writing by local author Sigmund Brouwer, decipher written clues to complete an outdoor scavenger hunt, and monitor cups they planted with grass seeds to write about the growth progress.

“We do three different projects every day,” said teacher Rita di Placido. The children are also sent home with “backpack buddies” that they take around the city and later write about their activities.

Student Damon Levitt said his favourite project was making a kite that’s printed with words describing him. His classmate, Mikaela Askin, enjoyed making bird feeders from instructions.

Kris Bill, whose son Dayne is bused to and from Reading College, appreciates that activity is encouraged, along with the learning. She said Dayne liked trying out virtual welding and riding a hovercraft made by RDC students.

Among the biggest supporters of the Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools’ Reading College program are the Red Deer Optimist Club, Tim Horton’s Smile Cookies campaign, and RDC — which provides free space.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Reading College teacher Rita di Placido helps public school student Damon Levitt with his writing project. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Just Posted

WATCH: Rappelling down Red Deer’s Stantec Building a thrilling, scary experience

Advocate reporter chronicles his trip down the 13-storey buildling

Red Deer raises $60,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation

27 brave residents rappell down Stantec Building

People hurt in rollover near Red Deer

Occupants of a vehicle that rolled south of Hwy 11A were airlifted… Continue reading

Eager-beaver cannabis entrepreneurs already waiting outside Red Deer City Hall

Appications will be accepted on a first-come basis starting on Tuesday

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

WATCH: Gazebo groundbreaking in Waskasoo

Fifty per cent of the $100,000 project is funded by a provincial government grant

Woman killed in collision near Olds

A woman is dead after a collision west of Olds Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

SUMMERLAND, B.C. — Officials in British Columbia’s Okanagan region hope that fire… Continue reading

Survivors recount deadly Missouri duck boat sinking

BRANSON, Mo. — “Grab the baby!” Those were the last words Tia… Continue reading

HMCS St. John’s to return to Halifax after six-month deployment overseas

HALIFAX — The countdown is on for the homecoming of a Halifax-class… Continue reading

Trump says lawyer taping him may be ‘illegal’

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — The Latest on President Donald Trump and his onetime… Continue reading

Spieth part of 3-way tie for British lead as Woods lurks

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Jordan Spieth has a share of the lead in… Continue reading

WWII hero’s lost Purple Heart returned to his family

NEW YORK — A lost Purple Heart medal has been returned to… Continue reading

California girl, 2, accidentally shot and killed by boy, 4

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month