Island school awarded $84K grant to boost literacy

An Island school was awarded an $84,000 grant to boost literacy and transform its library.

Souris Consolidated one of 20 'high needs' schools across Canada awarded grants

Karen Mullally is a Grade 3 teacher at Souris Consolidated. The school has been awarded an $84,000 literacy grant. (CBC)

An Island school was awarded an $84,000 grant to boost literacy and transform its library.

Souris Consolidated Elementary is one of 20 "high needs elementary schools" across Canada that will receive a chunk of this year’s $1.5 million from the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation.

Karen Mullally, a Grade 3 teacher at Souris Consolidated, said it’s wonderful news.

"When we found out, we were just screaming and yelling, we were just so ecstatic. We just couldn't believe it. Because it's a lot of money, $84,000 is a huge impact on a school, like, that's years and years of fundraising for one school," said Mullally.

The money will help the school buy books, e-readers for every class, and a new spelling program.

In 2008, the province conducted school-by-school literacy evaluations. The assessments found that only 20 per cent of students at Souris Consolidated were reading at their grade level.

Improving literacy drove the school’s teachers to spend a year and a half working on the grant application.

"Maybe only about half our students are interested in reading outside of school time … so that was a concern, because we felt that if they weren't interested in reading, then its harder to improve literacy," said Mullally.

That hard work paid off. The school will get $28,000 each year for the next three years. The school will receive some of that in cash, and some in the form of credit at the Indigo store in Charlottetown.

Students, like Grade 4 student Georgia Fraser, are happy about the news.

"I think it's going to be good for us to have more choices of books and e-readers and stuff,  so we don't have to pick the same kind of books all the time," she said.

The news of the funding comes as a relief for a school that is facing other challenges such as concerns over radon levels in the building.