PVNC spring/summer reading programs boost skills for both students and educators

Little student girl with laptop pc at home

PVNC ran two successful reading programs throughout the spring and summer months, a reading mentors program that provided extra support for primary students and a reading teaching program that provided professional development for educators teaching reading skills. 

Reading Mentors Program

The reading mentors program took place in the spring and consisted of 80 students from Kindergarten to Grade 2 from 10 different schools who were provided with daily virtual support from a reading mentor over four weeks.

The mentors consisted of ten occasional educational assistants, early childhood educators and student monitors who were supported in the use of Levelled Literacy Intervention (LLI) and a variety of other structured literacy resources to support student reading accuracy.

The participating students saw an average 13% increase in reading skills; 26% who did not know their letter sounds at the onset, had learned the sounds by the end of the program and 44% of students improved their sight word reading accuracy during the four-week program.

Students were selected from Kindergarten to Grade 2 and were placed in like-ability groups with daily support for 24 days.

“The data and skills acquired by the students has been shared with the home school and parents,” said Superintendent of Learning Sheila Piggott. “The success of the reading mentor program has demonstrated that a well-executed structured literacy approach dramatically increases student achievement in reading.”

Reading Teaching Program

PVNC provided a unique teaching program running July 12 to Aug. 6 that focussed on increasing the confidence of educators teaching reading skills.

Three centrally assigned reading coaches worked with the participating teachers, offering two hours a week of professional development on structured literacy skills. The teachers completed a book study on The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers by Jennifer Serravallo and connected with a group of students three hours a day to work on improving reading skills.

The participating students saw significant gains in reading ability. In the school setting, it typically takes a student six to eight weeks to go up a reading level. The students who participated in the reading teacher program saw an average reading level increase of 1.5 within just three weeks.

  • 50% of students did not know all of their letters and sounds at the beginning of the program
  • 97% of students learned all their letters and sounds by the end of the program
  • Average student increase for learning sight words was 15%
  • The average increase for students in the program was 1.5 reading levels

The participating teachers reported improved confidence in supporting students’ ability to acquire reading skills and improved technology skills in using programs and apps to support students’ reading.

 “We know that focused, structured instruction leads to students becoming better readers and based on the success of our summer teaching reading program, we have successful strategies moving forward to continue to build our school staff capacity and their confidence to support all students learning to read,” Piggott said.