Two literacy projects being offered at Annie Whiskeychan Memorial Elementary School in Waskaganish are not just inspiring students, but also engaging community partners in the classroom.
"Our School is like an Open Book" was launched under the leadership of remedial Teacher Annie Loyer in May 2019 to help support literacy.
"To increase our students' literacy levels, we needed the support of the community members, families, etc.," Loyer said. "We wanted to show them that the people around them all support reading, not just their classroom teacher: the Chief is reading, the Deputy Chief is reading, the doctors and nurses are reading, the electricians are reading, the fireman and policeman are reading, etc.
"We also want our school to be open, transparent, welcoming. This is why the project is called "Our school like an open book".
The program ran for three weeks in May 2019 and the community response was strong. People liked and shared posts and pictures on Facebook, and they volunteered to read in the classroom. "Our School is like an Open Book" continued in the new school year.
"When I walk around town, they now ask me 'Are you the teacher who invites people to read? I would like to go!'" Loyer said.
Cook for Books - a collaboration between the Cree Health Board and the Cree School Board
Cook for Books (Des Livres, on en mange!) is an innovative collaboration between the Cree Health Board and the Cree School Board, designed specifically for French-sector students.
After school, once or twice a week, four different students prepare healthy snacks with CHB Nutritionist Joanie Flibotte. While the "snacks" are in the oven, Teacher Annie Loyer, reads the students a story. The students enjoy their snack and after, they choose a book they like from our collection to take home as a gift.
"We believe that in order to increase any student's literacy level, family must be involved, and having books at home is a good start," Loyer said.
Leftover snacks are put on sale for community members and the money is used to buy more books for the students.
"Students really appreciate the program and are always really excited when they see the little cart full of new books for them," Loyer added.
Funding for the Cook for Books program will continue in the coming school year.