By Kenyon Stronski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Every year, schools across Canada can apply for a $10,000 literacy grant from the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation (ILoRF). Ultimately, only 30 receive it.
This year, only three schools in Alberta received the grant. One of them being Taber’s very own L.T Westlake. The ILoRF began in 2004. Indigo was getting requests to support literacy causes, citing many public elementary schools were requesting funds to provide new and engaging books to their community.
The literacy grant is more about, “Transformative change and depth of impact,” said Rose Lipton, the executive director of the ILoRF.
“We don’t want it to be a one-off, but something that can support a school for years. The school library is a conduit for reading and an avenue for kids to fall in love with it.”
L.T. Westlake has already begun to explore the new horizons the grant offered them, with new reading initiatives slated to begin this fall and books already being purchased.
One of the planned initiatives will be a literacy backpack. This will include around 20 backpacks of different genres and reading levels students can take home and share with their family and friends.
“We’re super excited,” noted Rebecca Edwards. L.T. Westlake principal. “We are extremely fortunate for us to be chosen, and the teachers and students.”
Sometimes, it’s challenging to get kids into reading books, which is a sentiment both Lipton and Edwards echoed.
“Kids do not consume information the same way they once did,” said Lipton. “But, if we can adapt to the way students find information now, I think it becomes a lot easier to touch that generation. But if we can tap into graphic novels or mangas or just books relevant to the times and the experiences they’re going through now — then I think it becomes a lot easier. It’s all about kids feeling like they’re represented in what they’re reading.”
A second initiative L.T Westlake will be embarking on is having Grade 5s leave their name within a book that they choose. This is to let them leave a legacy within the school.
Edwards pointed out it really was a community effort. “We involved everyone in the school, including parents and the kids are involved a lot in the book buying, as well. We’re really grateful for the Westlake community.”