Reading University

an investment in the future

Being able to read, write and comprehend words is an important first step to a successful life. For children, mastering the basics of literacy is a key to unlock all of the other learning that lies ahead.

Research clearly shows the tie between literacy skills and achieving a high school education, as well as success beyond school. Research also clearly shows the risks that come with not having those skills — increasing likelihood of poverty, substance abuse and more.

But some children need a bit more time than others to gain these important, basic skills. And that’s where Reading University comes in.

A longstanding partnership

Established in 2009, Reading University began as a partnership among the Battle River Community Foundation, The Battle River School Division and the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta. The program is currently operated by The Battle River School Division and funded by the Battle River Community Foundation.

It is a summer program open to grade 2 and 3 students of The Battle River School Division who are not yet reading at grade level, and offered at multiple locations throughout the school division’s geographic area.

Hundreds of students have benefitted from the program, which exists to build confidence, increase skill and inspire a sense of possibilities in everyone who participates. Reading University participants are recommended for the program by their Battle River School Division teachers, based on a criteria that includes reading level, the ability to attend without one-on-one support and other factors. Parents are contacted directly if their child is eligible to attend.

With supports in place to remove barriers related to cost, meals and transportation, the program is based on the Alberta curriculum and led by certified teachers. It’s also designed to be fun and interesting, with regular excursions and field trip opportunities.

Each year, the month-long program culminates in a graduation ceremony, where every child is celebrated for successfully completing the program.

Adapting to the pandemic

COVID brought changes to RU, just as it has to everything else. The program did not run in 2020 and was offered online in 2021. The revised format made it possible to provide programming to students all the way up to Grade 6.

As we all move back to a more ‘normal’ world, the format of Reading University will continue to adapt. Whatever form it takes, it will remain an important and valued part of the Foundation’s commitment to creating strong communities for the future.

We are happy to accept donations supporting Reading University on an annual basis.