MONTREAL, MARCH 23, 2012- Gardenview Elementary School in St. Laurent has become the first French immersion school in Quebec to successfully participate in a province-wide French program aimed at the promotion of reading. Eleven Gardenview classes took part in the National Reading Competition, now in its fifth year
Pierre Renaud, the coordinator of the program, was at Gardenview on March 23 where students in Grades 1 and 2 faced off in a friendly competition moderated by teacher Guylaine Paquette. The National Reading Competition aims to take a proactive approach by using a game called "Time Out," similar to Snakes and Ladders, where reading and correctly spelling of a word makes progress on the game board to move forward. Mr. Renaud originally designed this game to help his own son learn how to read, drawing it in pen on a large cardboard box. He eventually decided to share it with schools across the province, with the objective of reducing the dropout rate.
The three finalists were Harry Hamakiotis, Sophie Shak and Paige Ntinas, who each received prizes, Also recognized was Maria Babalis, who as of the middle of March had already read 1,100 French books this academic year. She explains this achievement on EMSB TV (www.vimeo.com/emsb).
Mr. Renault describes the program as a "celebration of words by learning to read and write rhymes with pleasure." He adds that this is a complementary approach which fits well with the initial mission of the contest: the pride and motivation of children. In all, 50 schools are participating . "The staff and participants of Gardenview are highly motivated,,he said. "The event created great excitement. In addition, this school has the highest participation rate this year."
Senator Jacques Demers is the honourary chairman of the program.