Students at Lester B. Pearson School are sharing the love of reading thanks to the school being awarded a $40,000 Indigo Love of Reading Literacy Fund Grant.
The grant, which is spread over three years, provides opportunities to increase literacy and enhance reading opportunities at the school. The award, which was publicly announced just recently, was revealed to the school community earlier this year. That allowed school staff to put their plans into action during the 2020-21 school year.
"Our first initiative was to continue to build our classroom libraries," said Vice Principal Carey Blatchford. "Our caring teachers prioritized student voice, first and foremost, then thoughtfully expanded the collections to include themes of diversity, culture, antibullying, wellness, fiction, and nonfiction. Finally, teachers balanced their classroom libraries with a range of 'just right' reading levels.
"Our second initiative was to ensure that students were surrounded by new, language-rich, high-quality books in their homes. Our committee carefully selected titles to share with each class. Then based on those selections, every single child in the school was able to pick their favorite book to take home and keep."
The Indigo grant promotes and supports literacy initiatives at high-need elementary schools through funding the purchase of books and educational resources. Schools use 10 per cent of the grant amount to fund special literacy projects, with the remainder going toward the purchase of books.
Lester B. Person had previously been a part of Indigo's Adopt a School program in conjunction with one of the company's Saskatoon stores. That fundraising effort of students and the school community along with contributions from the store's customers raised more than $7,000 toward to the purchase of books that enhanced classroom libraries and got relevant, up-to-date books into the hands of our students.
Blatchford said Lester B. Pearson has created a strong culture of reading and learning. During the past eight years families have enjoyed events such as Book and a Bagel, Gift of Reading, Musical Guest Readers, Harry Potter literacy month, visits from guest authors, an oral storytelling series, and Reading Buddies.
"A group of passionate teachers wanted to reward our staff and students with the amazing opportunity that winning a Love of Reading grant from Indigo would provide. It took us two years, but we were victorious," she said.
"As we reflect on our first year using the grant, we know that the possibilities are truly endless and are thrilled to continue our journey on this legacy work. Teachers continue to find genuine and engaging ways to model the love of reading to our students. As we place these books in our student's hands, we witness the true love of reading."
The school's virtual award reveal can be viewed here: