A student practices reading a book about fish

Empower is a highly targeted program that helps students who are having trouble reading. Described as the program “Where Science Meets Literacy”, it is the culmination of 30 years of research conducted by The Hospital for Sick Children. The goal of the program is to teach students the skills and strategies to be able to decode words they don't know. Whether it is a simple one syllable word or a more complex three syllable word, they no longer need to guess or skip the word. Empower is now being used in more than 25 school boards across Canada and has helped more than 10,000 students.

The Empower Reading program was introduced at St. Louis School in the 2017-2018 school year and was expanded due to its success to all elementary schools at Kenora Catholic beginning in the 2018-2019 school year. The program is offered to children in Grades 2-5. Children identified for the program are given extra reading time on a daily basis during regular class. Teachers make sure it is arranged during a time of day that students might have a literacy block or when the schedule is flexible so they don't consistently miss the same subject area. All teachers offering the program are trained by certified instructors in order to ensure children participating in the program are experiencing the same benefits that were observed during research. The training includes interactive workshops, in-school visits, website support and long-term mentorship that continues for as long as that teacher is using the program. Empower gives students the tools they need to be able to decode ords in order to be successful readers.

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