Not any more

Ontario teachers pledge support for first nations reading programs

In Canada on August 19, 2010 at 08:56

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario has pledged $225,000 for programs that promote literacy in the province’s most remote, northern first nations communities.

The money will go to the lieutenant governor’s aboriginal summer reading camps, where books are brought to the fly-in communities and children learn to read with the help of activities like scavenger hunts. Also, $10,000 per year over five years will be earmarked for the Lieutenant Governor’s Club Amick Program, a book club that sends a new, specially selected book and newsletter to children in remote first nation communities four times a year.

“It’s an opportunity that builds hope, emphasizes the value of reading and most importantly reemphasizes the message that other Ontarians in fact do care about the fly-in communities and the people who live in them,” said Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor David Onley, in a speech at the federation’s annual meeting.

Grand Chief Stan Beardy of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, who also addressed the meeting, described how first nation children go to school in unsafe buildings where textbooks are not as current because the cost to buy them is matched by the cost to ship them in.

This summer’s reading camps wrap up on Thursday. There were between 2,300 and 2,500 campers in 39 camps held in 31 communities, said Nanda Casucci-Byrne, the lieutenant-governor’s chief of staff. Last year, nearly 2,300 children participated and, on average, each read approximately five books. Each camp costs $33,700 and the program relies on 25 sponsors to cover costs.

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