About 60 Red Deer Public School students are finding out literacy is fun thanks to Central Alberta Optimist Clubs Reading College.
It’s the fifth summer for the four-week program developed by The Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools for Grade 2 students who would benefit from a literacy rich environment where they receive support to improve their reading and writing.
“For a lot of children, summer is a time of lots of activity. Knowing that we’ve made sure it’s a fun time for kids and there are lots of great activities,” said foundation executive director Bruce Buruma on Monday, the first day of Reading College.
Students attend Reading College, held at Red Deer College, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday. Buses take them to and from the college where they are provided breakfast, lunch and snacks.
He said instructors approach reading, writing and phonics in different ways so it’s not the same old classroom lessons for their students.
“We have seen the results and benefits for students. Their skill levels have gone up. Parents and teachers are noticing that they’re more excited about reading, they’re more interested in writing.”
He said from Grades 1 to 3, students are learning to read, but the rest of their schooling is about reading to learn.
“One of the strong indicators of high school completion is whether or not a child is at grade level at the end of Grade 3.”
Three teachers and six new Bachelor of Education graduates from Red Deer College teach and support the students at Reading College and running the program at the local college opens students’ eyes to educational opportunities, Buruma said.
“It’s kind of cool when you see all these kids in their fluorescent green t-shirts walking down the college halls at Grade 2. We hope 10 or 11 years after that, they are also going to be walking those halls.”
The foundation fundraises to operate the $80,000 to $90,000 program that has attracted support from groups and individuals.