Ecole Ill Des Chenes School now has a Reading Recovery Training Centre for the teachers in the area.
Seine River School Division, along with other school divisions, use a program called Reading Recovery. The program helps grade 1 students who struggle with reading and writing to catch up with the rest of the class.
The point is to reduce the number of children with reading and writing difficulties as they move into grade 2.
Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, Lisa Harder, says it’s a scientifically researched early literacy intervention.
"It's designed to help the lowest-achieving grade 1 students in reading and in writing, and this is in order to get them to reach the average levels.”
They also use the program to identify students who will need long-term or specialist support.
It’s 12-20 weeks long and children are given an intensive 30 minute one-on-one reading and writing lesson daily. This is in addition to the literacy classes that they're already receiving in the classroom.
The Reading Recovery teachers take them out of class during the day, not during their literacy classes, and each student receives lessons tailored to them.
“It's not a prepackaged program, so this way you know they’re not wasting any time. It's individualized.”
Harder is excited about having this facility in their school to train the teachers, as she says empowered teachers can provide individual students according to their needs.
"The best investment (for struggling students) is knowledgeable teachers. By providing this facility we can design professional learning to support the students in Seine River School Division.”
The training centre in Ill Des Chenes provides access for teachers to expand their abilities without needing to go outside their community.
In the past, they have needed to use training centers from farther away.
"Some teachers had to train in Selkirk, which is kind of a drive, so we're thinking about the point of access,” she says. “Having this training center in Seine River and Ill Des Chenes, not only does it support our teachers, but (teachers) all over southern Manitoba.”
Harder says Seine River School Division tries to cycle teachers through the program so that each teacher gets to refresh their knowledge on Reading Recovery every five years.
"You're not a Reading Recovery teacher forever, right? So we're building capacity in our teachers so that they're going back to their buildings and they're becoming literacy leaders."
Harder leads biweekly sessions training teachers in the training centre.
"Reading Recovery teachers come to the center and they teach live lessons to their colleagues, which is observed through one-way glass,” she says. “So their colleagues are observing the lesson live on the other side of the glass, and this allows the colleagues to observe and predict and question and discuss and reflect on the teaching while I guide the discussion on the other side.”
After dealing with many uncertainties through the pandemic, Harder is glad that quality education is now being prioritized once again.
"I must say after having three years of navigating the pandemic, it's just really nice to be able to return to our foundational model of high-quality professional development.”
She’s proud to be part of a school division that makes children’s learning and the professional development of teachers a priority.
“The brilliant legacy of Marie Clay and the incredible educators who have carried on her work, they've changed the lives of countless children all over the world. So I'm really grateful for the opportunities, the deep learning and the supportive colleagues that Reading Recovery has given me.”