April 15, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The public and private sectors have established a unique partnership to help readers still struggling at the end of Grade 2. The establishment of the Elementary Literacy Friends (ELF) Foundation was announced today at the Summit on Literacy in Fredericton.
"The private and volunteer sectors can play a key role in supporting our education system and raising our literacy rates, as we have seen through the success of programs such as PALS in Saint John and in support of community schools," said James C. Irving, publisher of The Telegraph Journal and head of Brunswick News. "This new partnership will enable struggling readers to get that extra one-on-one support that they need outside the regular classroom."
Since 2006, the government has provided additional resources to improve literacy from kindergarten to Grade 2. The result has been a steady climb in literacy rates. However, the government acknowledges that work remains to help those students who struggle with literacy beyond Grade 2.
"We know that if students aren't reading at the appropriate level at the end of Grade 2, they are going to continue to struggle in other subjects as well, since literacy is the foundation for learning," said Education Minister Kelly Lamrock. "One of the goals of When kids come first is to ensure that no child leaves Grade 5 without the tools for foundational learning."
The foundation will identify and train volunteers who will work one-on-one with students after-school in Grade 3. These students will be identified by their teachers.
"An educated and literate workforce is a key component to having a thriving economy and self-sufficient province," said Donald Arsneault, minister of post-secondary education, training and labour. "This initiative focuses efforts where they matter most, ensuring that struggling readers receive the extra help they need at the age they need it most. This initiative also prepares them for future studies and for the workforce."
MEDIA CONTACTS: Valerie Kilfoil, communications, Department of Education, 506-444-4919; Marie-Josée Groulx, communications, Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour.