The Letters, Sounds and Words program is a fun and engaging way for community members to help young children acquire the essential literacy skills they need to be confident and successful learners.

The Letters, Sounds and Words program is delivered in partnership with school boards and schools in multiple communities in Ontario. This 10-week program targets children in Senior Kindergarten, Grades 1 and 2 who are lagging behind in their early reading skills. Children are matched with trained community volunteers who go into the school to work one-on-one with them, playing carefully designed games and activities. The program is designed in 4 strands to help children learn the names of letters, a sound each letter represents, how to recognize words by sight and how to build a word using the sounds of its letters. Classroom teachers select which children would most benefit from this program, as well as the strands in which they should be enrolled.

The Letters, Sounds and Words program is unique as it was designed to be easily implemented by volunteers in schools, including those with little to no previous experience working with children. The required training and the prescriptive program manuals allow volunteers to be very independent in running the program.

The program is particularly beneficial for:

  • children who are lagging behind their peers and need additional practise with reading fundamentals and their teachers predict they will likely not need additional help beyond the 10-week boost.
  • children for whom English as a second language is a factor in their learning.
  • children who, in the professional judgment of the teacher, may need support through the school’s resources for a year or two but not likely throughout their elementary schooling.

The program was not designed for children whose learning difficulties require more formal, long-term approaches by a education professional.

For more information on this program, please contact the Program Co-ordinator in your region by phone or e-mail:

Brant, Haldimand Norfolk: Ruth Mills
Waterloo Region: Leslie Tinning
Wellington County and Other Areas: Colette Moffat