Posted on August 4, 2011 by Tia Lalani

From Dan Jensen at the Camrose Booster, a look at Reading University’s third graduating class.

By Dan Jensen, Camrose Booster

Augustana vice dean Richard Johnson presents a Reading University Certificate of Achievement to Shyaida Beauregard. - Dan Jensen, Camrose Booster

University of Alberta Augustana Campus vice dean Richard Johnson presented certificates of achievement to fifty-seven Grades 2 and 3 students at the commencement of the third Reading University program July 29.

Johnson told the students they were a welcome addition to the Augustana campus for the last month.

“You have brought a special kind of life to a place that can be pretty dead in the summer.”

Johnson congratulated the students on the work they have done at Reading University to become better readers.

“You have come through a demanding course and you have improved your skills at one of the most important things that people do every day,” he said. “Now not only will you find it easier to do your school work but I hope that you will find reading more fun.

“I hope you will be able to lose yourself in a good book.”

Reading University is a summer literacy program designed to help young readers get the basics they need in order to succeed at school and beyond. The program was open by special invitation to children who need extra time and support to increase their basic literacy skills.

“One of the goals of the Battle River School Division is to have all students reading at their programmed level by the end of Grade 3, thus the Grades 2 and 3 students,” said Reading University principal and Battle River School Division assistant superintendent Ray Bosh.

“Reading University very much strengthens this goal.”

Reading University’s themes for 2011 were supported by activities that included reading books, word games, acting out skits, research on computers, picture drawing, using maps and reading signs to plan routes for visits to museums or airports. The program was designed to be interesting, engaging and fun –  to help children not only embrace their skills but also become more excited about learning.

Reading University is offered  by the Battle River Community Foundation as a community leadership initiative in partnership with the Battle River School Division. Battle River Community Foundation provides fifty per cent of the funding in the form of flow-through grants from generous donors.

“We feel this is a program that will have significant long term benefits for the community,” said Battle River Community Foundation board chair Blain Fowler.

The Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta provides space and meals for the students, while the Camrose Adult Learning Council and the Camrose Adult Read and Write Program offer advice to parents on how to help their children to continue to read at home.

Bosh said the Reading University program would not have the profile it has without the support of Augustana.

“It is one thing to have a reading program, but to have it in this setting really sets it apart.

Both Bosh and Johnson said it would be nice to see the students at Augustana in ten years.

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