Home » Resolutions » RESOLUTION 2023-2 READING LITERACY


Resolution Number: 2023-2
Submitted by: Miscouche Consolidated Home and School Association

WHEREAS    the definition of reading “Reading Comprehension is the product of Decoding and Language Comprehension (RC = D x LC);” Decoding is the ability to use the Knowledge of letter-sound correspondences to “sound out” written words; language comprehension is the ability to understand spoken and written language; only when students are proficient in both can they accurately and effectively recognize written words and then attach meaning to achieve reading comprehension (Stephen Parker, Reading Instruction and Phonics, 2nd edition 2019), and

WHEREAS    there are two approaches to teaching reading: Balanced Literacy and Structured Literacy – Balanced Literacy involves using a combination of whole language strategies (i.e., three-cueing, memorizing high-frequency words, etc.) and phonics (i.e., letter-sound correspondences) across multiple environments with the goal of fostering a love of reading and writing, and Structured Literacy involves explicit, systematic, and sequential instruction in phonics and phonemic awareness; evidence shows that while Balanced Literacy works for many students, Structured Literacy works for ALL (Fountas & Pinnell, 1996), and

WHEREAS    the link between low reading comprehension and high poverty rates, high unemployment levels, and high crime activity established through numerous national and international research sources, and

WHEREAS    data supports that a one percent increase in adult literacy would create an economic benefit of approximately $67 billion in Growth Domestic Product for Canada per year (Canadian Children’s Literacy Foundation, 2022), and

WHEREAS    data supports that 45 percent of Islanders between the ages of 16 and 65 do not have the necessary literacy skills to succeed in the current social and economic structure, and

WHEREAS    literacy of today’s children is directly related to adult literacy skills, and

WHEREAS    children in low socioeconomic communities are almost two times as likely to be behind in early development skills as their high-socio-economic status peers, and

WHEREAS    research has shown that children who have developed strong literacy skills are more likely to be employed as adults and experience fewer periods of joblessness throughout their life (Deloitte, 2020), and

WHEREAS    Island resource teachers refer close to 1,100 Island children in grades K to 6 to the PEI Literacy Alliance tutoring program because they struggle with reading, writing, or math (PEI Literacy Alliance, 2018); not all students can be accepted in the summer program due to available space, and

WHEREAS    the 2019 PEI Literacy Assessment of 1,408 Island Grade 3 students recorded that 26 percent were almost or having difficulty reading at grade level and of the Grade 6 students assessed, the percentage increased to 33 percent, nearing expected reading levels but still experiencing difficulties (PEI Provincial Government, 2019), and

WHEREAS    when the results of students tested in Grade 3 compare to those of Grade 6 students tested, the percentages show that the struggle to read and comprehend is worsening for Island students as they move through the PEI reading literacy program, and

WHEREAS    the most current PEI literacy assessment results (2019) strongly indicate that the current curriculum methods used for teaching reading and writing to Island students are proving ineffective and flawed for a large portion of the student population who, under such methods, are failing to reach a level of proficiency that has been thus undermining a successful educational career, which is the foundation for moving out into successful life careers, and

WHEREAS    Balanced Literacy is the current primary method being employed across Island schools, despite the evidence showing that while Balanced Literacy works for many students, Structured Literacy works for all, and

WHEREAS    extensive data shows that the public education system has failed generations of Islanders in achieving proficient reading literacy and there must be a call for immediate steps to be taken to alter reading literacy outcomes and no child should be left behind due to the ineffectiveness of the educational system to which they are entrusted and no adult should be left behind because the education system failed in its mandate, and

WHEREAS    in today’s world, ALL students legally have the human right to a meaningful, evidence and science-based opportunity to learn to read (Baskin, Tiffany; May 2020); other Canadian provinces such as B.C., Alberta, Ontario, and N.B. are revising their current Early Learning, Literacy, and Language Arts to adopt Structured Literacy, and

WHEREAS    the responsibility of the education authority of the Public Schools Branch for the English language in PEI is to provide and deliver such programs and courses in schools that meet ALL the needs of students (Government of Prince Edward Island, 2016), and

WHEREAS    Structured Literacy programs have proven when all students receive explicit, systematic, and sequential instruction in phonemic awareness and phonics, are scientifically proven to be effective in teaching all students to become proficient readers;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the PEI Home and School Federation requests that the Prince Edward Island government and Prince Edward Island Department of Education and Lifelong Learning, and Prince Edward Island Public Schools Branch take immediate action to invest and implement Island-wide evidence and science-based Structured Literacy programs, thus giving all children the right to succeed in reading literacy, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that investment in educating teachers and support staff in engagingly teaching Structured Literacy is essential; no doubt, those in the school system can be accommodated within the current ongoing instructional days; however, a strong emphasis should be placed on working with universities teaching degree programs to prepare their students to have the skills to teach Structured Literacy, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED by investing in and implementing Structured Literacy, the Island government, Department of Education and Lifelong Learning, and Public Schools Branch will strengthen the social and economic future of the province and its people; Implementing Structured Literacy is not an issue that needs years of study and Structured Literacy is proven to work for ALL, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED  if the Prince Edward Island government, Department of Education and Lifelong Learning, and Public Schools Branch determine to hold on to Balance Literacy, then we call on them to justify to students, parents, taxpayers, and the general public the thinking behind letting Islanders unnecessarily fail at a great cost to the individual and our province.

Status: Not Passed
Destination:Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture
Public Schools Branch