Reading between the lines

Early childhood development is vital in setting kids up for the rest of their lives. That’s why early childhood development programs, like the ones in which Jayce’s kids Nadine and Chase are enrolled, can become vital resources for the rest of their lives.

I’m a single mother of four kids and had just entered university. I was so busy, I didn’t realize she was floating under the radar. Once I knew, though, my focus became enhancing all my kids’ learning abilities.

At first, I thought the programs would just give Nadine extra practice, but right away, she showed so much improvement. She came home every day with stories about reading books with the volunteers, and I thought, ‘I want my daughter to have this much excitement reading with her mom.’ Within the first week, I was getting pamphlets on how to make reading fun and engaging for parents, too. I was glad to get them—they’ll help me in the future with my two younger children.

Red quotation mark

When I learned that my daughter, Nadine, was reading at a pre-K level in grade 2, it felt like a punch to the gut.

In Alberta, less than 50% of kids are developmentally ready for kindergarten. By the time they reach grade 4, this gap can become insurmountable.
27% of children entering school in Calgary are experiencing some level of emotional, physical, social, or communication challenge.

My son Chase wasn’t as under the radar as Nadine was, but he was reading at a lower level. So, when they were both had a chance to access support, I knew it was the best choice. The program gave him so much confidence. Chase deals with ADHD, but the volunteers didn’t discourage him for learning at a slower pace—they were patient with him.

Now that I’m a literacy teacher myself, I understand that reading is confidence. That’s why I push for these camps. If any parent has access to them, they need to jump right in with their kids.

Chase and Nadine are now seven and 10; they’re both reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and they talk about what’s going to happen next. When I was first told Nadine was three grades behind in her reading level, I would never have guessed that she and Chase would be reading chapter books together two years later.

I can’t fully express what United Way has done for my kids. The positive effects of these supportive education programs last much longer than the two weeks the kids spend there; the future of my entire family has been positively impacted.

A photo of Chase and Nadine sitting on a couch reading in the library.

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