VIDEO: Alexander Elementary gets $45K from Indigo Love of Reading Foundation

Downtown school gets a $45,000 grant from Indigo Love of Reading Foundation for literacy programs

Students, teachers and staff of Alexander Elementary School in Duncan were treated to a surprise recently.

Representatives from the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation stormed their school with noisemakers, balloons, and a giant cheque for $45,000 to support two literacy initiatives in the downtown school.

Alexander was one of 30 Canadian schools that received a 2017 Literacy Fund grant from the foundation, who provides $1.5 million annually to high-needs elementary schools across Canada in an effort to bolster literacy and give all children equal access to books.

Everyone was delighted.

“We are thrilled that Alexander Elementary was selected as a recipient of this grant,” said Candace Spilsbury, Chair of Cowichan Valley Board of Education. “Staff at the school have been very focused on ensuring every child has an opportunity to develop age-appropriate literacy skills, and this grant will allow the school to support two projects that will further support kids and their families.”

Alexander serves more than 270 kindergarten-to-Grade-7 children, with more than 83 per cent of the student population identifying as aboriginal.

Last fall, the school put together a proposal for the literacy fund, which included a request for two specific projects that will be supported by this grant: a home reading program and a library revitalization.

According to the school district, many students at Alexander do not have access to age or reading-level appropriate books at home to help them improve their literacy skills. The home reading program will provide “just right” books that are age, reading-level and culturally appropriate for students to take home and enjoy with their families. To encourage families to read with their children and help build the success of the program, families will be invited to read in class at least once per month.

To further support the literacy needs of students at Alexander Elementary, the grant will also support the revitalization of the school library including replacing damaged and missing books, adding to the audiobook collection, updating furniture, and adding new resources such as e-books and Makerspace baskets.

The average age of Alexander’s current book collection is 21 years, with a number of books that are outdated, damaged, or unappealing to current students.

“We know that reading, writing, and numeracy skills are vital to success in life, and we have a responsibility to ensure every child has the support they need to succeed,” said Schools Superintendent Rod Allen. “The commitment to literacy at the school is inspiring, and I’m very proud that they received this funding to further support their efforts.”

The Love of Reading Foundation has committed over $25 million to high-needs elementary schools since 2004. The Literacy Fund grant specifically has committed $19.5 million and an additional $5.5 million has been committed through its other programs, such as Adopt a School.