Decodable book initiative wins UCDSB award

Par Raymond Berthiaume
Decodable book initiative wins UCDSB award

As part of learning initiative to boost literacy and tackle social justice issues connected to the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (OHRC) Right to Read inquiry, staff at Russell High School organized a unique assignment. Grade 7 and 8 students were tasked with authoring decodable books, stories that are written according to phonetic pronunciation rather than proper spelling, to help children with letter and sound relationships. The books were then brought to the Russell Public Library, where students from Kindergarten and Grade 1 were invited to read them out.

The project was a huge success, that not only taught the students involved a lot about literacy and reading, but inspired similar projects across the school board. Original music, artwork, animated read-aloud projects, and a community-connected publishing projects in partnership with public libraries have popped up all across the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB).

The board decided to award the staff members with the 2022 Trustee Innovation Award (TIA). District learning partners Nancy Lalonde, Megan Radley, Christy Wilson, and Sara Lathrop, along with teachers Jennifer Dobbin, Chrystal van Riel, and Janice Honey were given the award to recognize their important work with the assignment. The award recognizes innovative teaching and work methods that can be integrated into the board’s learning, education, and community practices.

Other winners this year included a high school’s experiential farming project and the first-ever student recipient, for their creative spin on learning math. The awards were announced in a virtual event over Microsoft Teams on June 14, and physical awards will be given when school returns in the Fall. They will also be featured in a video presentation to the Board of Trustees.

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