The regular school may have just wrapped up, but several local kids are just settling in with some fresh studies to strengthen their reading skills.
Now into its second year, Reading College was launched this week at Red Deer College.
Organizers say 60 Grade 2 students have signed up for the month-long series of fun and informative sessions. Over 22 days, Reading College will provide programming to not only build skills, but increase interest and motivation to read as well.
The program was launched last year through the Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools in partnership with Red Deer College, said Jock Mackenzie, program coordinator. He added that the program doubles in size this year with 40 students from Red Deer Public Schools as well as 20 students from Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools.
Students identified by teachers in targeted schools as struggling readers were invited to be part of the program. They are bused to RDC and receive snacks and meals.
Each day includes reading, writing and technology centres. The program is lead by three veteran teachers with expertise in literacy as well as six graduates from the Bachelor of Education Collaborative Program at RDC.
Plus there are special events such as author’s visits, too. Last year, Mackenzie said students visited the Summer Series art program at RDC and also read to seniors at Bethany Collegeside. There were even science and health components as well.
“Day after day after day there were life experience activities for them.”
The program will culminate with a graduation on July 31 at 1 p.m. in the Margaret Parsons Theatre at RDC.
Mackenzie said students involved in last year’s program showed tremendous gains in reading skills and overall motivation to read.
“Their reading scores went up. Self confidence and self esteem levels are way up. It’s just been a huge success.”
He also pointed out that community help is critical to the program – while the four partners are leading the program, it would not be possible without support from the region at large.
The Optimist Clubs of Central Alberta through the Cures for Kids Radiothon are once again our lead sponsors increasing their investment from $30,000 last year to $45,000 this year, he said.
Other sponsors include Kinsmen Club of Red Deer, Chartwells, Follett Higher Education Group, Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division Foundation, Copp’s Services, Inc and Glenn Turple.
Meanwhile, Mackenzie is thrilled to be coordinating the program and teaching, and looks forward to an exciting month of learning with the youngsters.
“There will be lots of cool experiences.”
For more information, or to help out on a volunteer basis, call Larissa Adams at 403-342-3751 or Jock Mackenzie at 403-357-4895.