Parents Reaching Out Grants

St. Aloysius School – Stratford

Huron Perth Catholic District School Board
Parent Tutoring Program

Parents Reaching Out grants help parents to identify barriers to parent engagement in their own community, and find local solutions to get more parents involved. Parents who are involved in their children's education help to support their children's achievement and well-being.

This video is part of a series that features successful parent engagement projects funded through the Ministry of Education's Parents Reaching Out (PRO) grants.

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Dave Cassone [Principal, St. Aloysius School]:

St. Aloysius School in Stratford developed a weekly literacy support program giving parents and the community an opportunity to support our readers in ways that are both meaningful to the student and the parent. So the Parent Tutoring Program at St. Aloysius is an opportunity for us to bring parents into our school community to help provide the support and the time required to our students in order to help support their literacy development. The reading process is a continuum beginning very early on with oral language skills and continuing on to independent reading. For those students that face obstacles, sometimes they require brief supports and extra time throughout the day or throughout each week. What we've been able to do as actively involve our parent group in providing those supports for our students so they are able to reach their goals academicaly.

Lorraine Butson [Special Education Resource Teacher]:

The Parent Reading Intervention Program was designed to try to capture some of those students that were struggling with getting some of the basics of reading. I found that parents have come and have said that their students are, their children rather are showing an extra interest at home and will start reading the cereal boxes or start reading things at the grocery store that they hadn't done before.

Jennifer Zammit [Parent Volunteer]:

I have always been volunteering at the school and I am a writer and an editor, so literacy is very important to me. So when the program came into place, I volunteered to learn a little bit more about it and be able to administer that to the kids.

Lorraine Butson [Special Education Resource Teacher]:

Parents reaction I think was really good in terms of they are always interested in having someone else that's wanting to help their child improve and gain better skills in reading.

Jennifer Zammit [Parent Volunteer]:

The reading intervention program is a huge success at this school. I have been at it for five years. I have seen children come very shy, very guarded and actually quite upset that they are not at the level where the rest of their classmates are at. So to see them blossom from September to June, extremely rewarding, not just to me, to the children, to their parents as well.

Dave Cassone [Principal, St. Aloysius School]:

What we've been able to do here in a creative way is introduce parents actively into the achievement of our students by allowing or helping them help our students and provide supports for our students in that reading continuum. Often it's just short little interventions that are required that help give students the boost that they need.

Lorraine Butson [Special Education Resource Teacher]:

Well I would like to think that children learning to read comes about because of a team approach and certainly the community and parents and teachers, older siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, whoever is interested in this child and their success will play a part in bringing that child forward.

Jennifer Zammit [Parent Volunteer]:

I thoroughly enjoy volunteering in this program in particular. It's a subject, literacy is so important to me, it's an escape for me, I would like to pass that on to kids and I would like to see more parents get involved. I think a lot of schools can benefit from this sort of program and I think a lot of people, adults can just brighten up their lives when they see that child have that look of. "I got it!" It's the most exhilarating feeling to know that you have made a very very important step in that child's life.

Lorraine Butson [Special Education Resource Teacher]:

I certainly have parents that are interested in the program because they've seen their own children benefit from it. They are positive learners themselves and want to bring that forward to other students.

Dave Cassone [Principal, St. Aloysius School]:

Adults who have been trained in the literacy intervention model help to provide those additional supports to the classroom teacher and more specifically to individuals or small groups of students to help them realize their potential by closing the gap.

Lorraine Butson [Special Education Resource Teacher]:

Parental involvement is huge in my mind. I think that all of the adults even children's lives and parents in particular need to show an interest in reading and show that it is important to them and being involved in this program proves that, that they are interested in reading.

Dave Cassone [Principal, St. Aloysius School]:

What this program does is it gives them an opportunity to be actively involved in student achievement and therefore it widens the community of support that is paying attention to our students and therefore our students can have nothing but success because the community has grown around them.

To learn more visit: www.ontario.ca/EDUparents