MONCTON (GNB) – The provincial government is investing $2.25 million to support improved reading among Grade 2 students through programming by Elementary Literacy Inc. The organization offers the Elementary Literacy Friends program to anglophone schools and the Communautés littératie enfants francophones in francophone schools.

“Literacy is a key foundational skill that empowers New Brunswickers to reach their potential in the workforce and thrive in their communities,” said Premier Brian Gallant. “Improving literacy rates is crucial for the New Brunswick economy and one of the best ways to reduce poverty in our province.”

Funding over a five-year period will assist Elementary Literacy Inc. deliver volunteer-based reading programs in anglophone and francophone schools across the province.

“Students who participate in our reading programs consistently exhibit increased reading skills, interest and confidence, enabling them to better benefit from classroom teaching and become strong readers,” said Erin Schryer, executive director of Elementary Literacy Inc. “Together, with communities, schools and families, we are increasing the literacy skills of students, child by child, across New Brunswick.”

Both are supplementary programs that strengthen and build upon classroom teaching. The programs pair trained volunteers with Grade 2 students who need additional time to master various language and literacy skills identified by their classroom teacher. Students are mentored after school for one hour, twice per week, for 10 weeks.

The government is committed to improving literacy rates in the province. The goal of Unleashing the power of literacy: New Brunswick’s Comprehensive Literacy Strategy is to improve literacy across the province. It includes actions to support New Brunswickers from birth throughout their lives so every person has the opportunity to develop their literacy competencies. The government’s 10-year education plans aim to improve educational outcomes and better prepare young people for the future. They set objectives in priority areas to create lifelong learners, support educational leaders and bring stability to the system.