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‘We had teachers crying’: Sidney Elementary receives $50K to combat declining literacy rates

The school will use the funding to diversify their library collection
Sidney Elementary Grade 3 student Theo Garcia reads a book at the school Monday (June 5). (Brendan Mayer/News Staff)

Sidney Elementary is receiving $50,000 from the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation to help combat declining literacy rates.

The grant will be used to diversify the school’s library collection and replace deteriorating books.

“When they heard the news, kids were screaming and cheering, and we had teachers crying,” Sidney Elementary vice-principal Andreas Clesle said. “We’re really excited. It was really moving. That’s a lot of money. We’re really lucky. Many families rely on us to be a source for books.”

Over $1 million in Indigo Love of Reading grants are being donated to 30 schools across Canada this year.

“We have a lot of pieces in place to help kids learn to read, but we were lacking the physical resources to help kids take the next step,” Clesle said. “One of the challenges with literacy is really developing a passion for reading in students. That really starts with the availability of resources. We put a lot of energy into providing reading intervention for students. We have a strong volunteer reading program. We have a lot of professionals who are dedicated to supporting students.”

The foundation has committed over $35 million to assist over 3,500 schools since 2004.

“Approximately 25 per cent of Grade 3 children in Canada are not reading at grade level,” the foundation said in a news release.

Last year, 96 per cent of schools who received an Indigo Love of Reading grant reported that their students felt better represented in their school’s books as a result.

“This funding will really allow us to expand our collection in our library and broaden the number of books we have that represent our student population,” Clesle said. “Our goal is to have every student see themselves in books. This really ensures that every classroom will have a rich library.”

ALSO READ: Sidney approves $18K in grants-in-aid for 2023