Bram's daughter was struggling to learn how to read. He worked with her at home, along with his wife, but nothing they did seemed to make a difference. In Grade 1, she was enrolled in Strong Start's Letters, Sounds and Words program, which helped open the lid to her learning. This is their story.
What does the community have to say about Strong Start®? Hear from parents, partners, volunteers, and champions in these videos.
Susan Fitzgerald is the Site Co-ordinator of the Letters, Sounds and Words program at Sacred Heart C.E.S. In this video, she talks about how the program is simply helping children learn their letters, sounds and words in a fun and engaging way. "The children love to come. They love to work with their volunteers. They love the games. They leave the program feeling good about themselves and it is witnessed when I do the post-test."
This is the tale of two sisters preparing for school in the Get Ready for School program. Chloe thrived in the program and was always excited to go. She made friends and connections with the teachers. Our other daughter, Georgia, is now in the Get Ready for SchoolTM program at Centerville Chicopee in Kitchener. She is also thriving. Georgia is clapping syllables, saying sounds, and reading books.
Lori Burroughs-Miller, a Learning Resource Teacher and Site Co-ordinator at Lakewood Public School shares how co-ordinating the Letters, Sounds and Words program fits in her role at the school and the benefits she's seen for children. "This is the first year for Strong Start here at Lakewood. Strong Start is there to support those kids who just need a little bit of extra support. Teachers have noticed a difference. The kids have confidence and they love to go with their volunteers."
Karen Mitchell, Principal at Sacred Heart C.E.S. in Paris shares how Strong Start's Letters, Sounds and Words program helps build community in her school. “When I first think about Strong Start, I think about community helping community. It takes a village to raise a child and so in our school, what we try to do is identify our children who need more support and we get our community members in to help us with that closing the gap for our children.”
Judy, a Volunteer Coach in the Letters, Sounds and Words program and Kiwanis Club member shares her passion for giving children the best possible start to school. "As a volunteer, seeing these children develop the gift of reading...it opens up a whole world of imagination and adventure to them. We’re always telling them that between the pages of a book, there’s a whole other world you can explore. Once you get into that world, the doors open up and you can go anywhere you wish to go."
Before the program, getting Xander to go to school was a huge struggle for our family. I think one of the fears he had was that he didn’t feel capable, or even on par with the other children. He didn’t want to look silly in front of them. As a parent, that was really hard to take.
Jennifer McLaren-Gibbons, Principal at St. Leos C.E.S in Brantford shares the impact improved literacy skills have on children's development. "Literacy is integral to every part of our curriculum. Strong Start gives children the opportunity to master essential reading skills in a one-to-one setting and an opportunity for them to feel success. "
Carol, a Volunteer Coach in our Letters, Sounds and Words program shares what she finds rewarding about working with children in the Letters and Sounds strands.
Each year, hundreds of caring community members are trained to help young children learn to read in schools. They are prepared for their role by attending two, 2-hour training sessions, lead by our passionate Trainers. What do they love about the Letters, Sounds and Words program?
Joe Archer, Kindergarten Teacher and Staff Site Co-ordinator shares his perspective on the Letters, Sounds and Words program, and the difference he's seen in the classroom from children who participate.
Nicole Auld, Learning Resource Teacher and Site Co-ordinator shares her perspective on the Letters, Sounds and Words program, how easy it was to implement at her school and the benefits she's seen for the children involved.
Janice Hughes, Principal at Hagersville Elementary School shares her perspective on the Letters, Sounds and Words program, it's validity, and the benefits for the children and volunteers.
Judy Moore, Learning Resource Teacher and Staff Co-ordinator shares how much schools value volunteers coming in to work with children and the positive impact they are having on children's literacy skills.
Kathy Taylor, volunteer Site Co-ordinator and former teachers shares stories of success in the Letters, Sounds and WordsTM program. Together, we can make a lasting difference for children by helping them learn to read.
Andrea Smith, Principal at Ecole Fairview School in Brantford shares her perspective on the Letters, Sounds and Words program, and the benefits for children who are learning French.
Lynn Kennedy, a retired educator shares her experience as a Volunteer Site Co-ordinator for the Letters, Sounds and Words program. Why is she so passionate about the program? Like Strong Start, Lynn believes every child can learn to read, that we only have to find the key to unlock their potential.
My daughter showed significant improvements in her literacy skills because of the Letters, Sounds and Words program. I decided to volunteer my time in the program on the days I was off from work, and very quickly found that my volunteer position provided a greater sense of accomplishment than my career did at the time. This changed my life forever.
I have always wanted to be a teacher, ever since I was a little girl. Volunteering with Strong Start was crucial to solidifying my desire to work with younger children and subsequently encouraged me to enroll for the Early Childhood Educator Fast Track program at Conestoga College.
Ralph Hastings, a Volunteer Coach in the Letters, Sounds and Words program at Branlyn Community School has seen first-hand the difference his gift of time makes for children learning to read.
Angela Braun, a teacher candidate at Nipissing University shares her experience as a Letters, Sounds and Words Volunteer Coach. What is the most important lesson she has learned? To have fun with learning, and help children gain confidence in their learning.
Rogers TV #BrantLife program highlights Strong Start’s Letters, Sounds and WordsTM program in Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk. This segment was filmed at Centennial Grand-Woodlands P.S. in Brantford.
Former MP Peter Braid highlights the contributions of Strong Start® to early childhood literacy in Kitchener-Waterloo
Rhys is an adorable, funny and strong-willed little boy. He’s always been advanced in his gross motor skills, but when it came time to separate from Mommy, he just couldn’t do it. I didn’t even have the option of going back to work, because it would have been too hard for Rhys. I was worried how he was even going to go to Junior Kindergarten in September.
Every parent worries when their young child starts school, anxious to have everything go well. There are even more fears if English is not the children’s first language. We are Polish and speak very little English at home. I was worried about the leaving them on their own for the first time.
My story starts with Senior Kindergarten, where I could see Sean losing interest in school. At home, he avoided talking about his class and was very reluctant to read with me. It was like he didn’t understand the concept of reading. No amount of coaching or encouragement by me or his dad made a difference: he was convinced he couldn’t read.