Literacy is a foundational skill that increases success in school, work and life and includes the skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

The Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board provides a variety of support services, resources and assistance to students, families, and staff through the Program branch of the Teaching and Learning Department.

Literacy Supports for Parents and Guardians of Primary Students

Parents can have a significant impact on their children’s literacy learning. The following videos provide practical strategies that parents and guardians can use to support their children.


This animated video provides four important tips that can set the foundation for a lifelong love of reading and writing, and prepares students for future success. The information in this video is based on the Ministry of Education’s Parent Guide for Reading and Writing With Your Child.

Magnetic letters can be a useful tool for early literacy learning. This video demonstrates a magnetic letter activity to build letter recognition. It is #22 on the following list of Magnetic Letter Activities. Click here for more magnetic letter strategies. 

Sound it out!  Have you ever asked your young child to sound it out when they are struggling with a new word? Watch this video to see why it might not be the best strategy!

More Strategies for Parents

For young readers, reading together is a powerful and rewarding strategy that makes reading fun. This video demonstrates some of the benefits of reading together!

One way to engage your child at the beginning of your time reading together is to ask them questions about what they’re about to read. Before reading, read the title together and ask your child to make predictions.  This encourages children to start thinking about what they already know about the topic.  Watch this short video to learn more.

As parents it can be tempting to just tell your child a word if they are struggling; however, it’s important to allow children time to do a little bit of reading work.   This video demonstrates the importance of ‘Wait Time’ in your child’s literacy learning. 

Children may need to re-read before they can pull it all together.  Waiting for your child to re-read sentences allows them to self-correct. When a new word comes up that is difficult for your children to read, explaining the meaning of the word might make it easier for them to learn and remember the word.  Watch Pulling It All Together.

Talking with your child about Reading

After your child reads a book to you, ask them to talk to you about it.

These conversations are just as important as the reading itself. Here are some questions to get you started:

What did you notice?
Were there any tricky parts? How did you get through them?
Does this book remind you of anything?
What have you been wondering as you read?
Does this book make you think of anything else you've read?
What was your favourite part? Why?
Was there a part of the book that surprised you?
Why do you think the author wrote this book?
What are you going to read next? How did you decide?

The Ministry of Education has provided a Parent Guide for Reading and Writing With Your Child, Kindergarten to Grade 6.

Please click here to read the guide. 

Reading Recovery

Reading Recovery is a short-term early intervention for students having difficulty in learning to read and write. Reading Recovery-trained teachers are available in several elementary schools where they work daily for thirty minutes with the lowest achieving students in Grade One.  Read more about Reading Recovery in KPR...

Literacy Requirements and Programs

Through our Teaching and Learning Department, qualified teaching staff offer direct support to elementary and secondary teachers in all subject areas, with emphasis on literacy and numeracy. These same teachers are tasked with implementing ministry initiatives and Program Principles by:

  • supporting the implementation of the School Effectiveness Framework
  • supporting student achievement through the development of numeracy and literacy skills
  • providing professional learning opportunities for students outside the classroom
  • assisting English language learners in our schools
  • supporting the implementation of the Ontario First Nation, Metis and Inuit Education Policy Framework 
  • deepening teacher awareness of and confidence with the continuum of curriculum expectations and instructional strategies
  • allowing teachers to collaboratively explore the critical role of classroom assessments
  • adopting standardized forms and procedures, and
  • promoting collection development for school libraries.

Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT): All secondary students are required to meet the literacy graduation requirement in order to earn an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). Most students who are working towards an OSSD will meet the literacy graduation requirement by successfully completing the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) in their Grade 10 year; some students may meet the requirement by successfully completing the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course (OSSLC).

The literacy graduation requirement is based on the expectations for reading and writing throughout the Ontario curriculum up to and including Grade 9. Its purpose is to determine whether students have the skills in reading and writing that they will need to succeed at school, at work, and in daily life.

The OSSLT is administered through the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) once each year, usually in the spring (late March or early April). Students will normally take the OSSLT when they are in Grade 10. For more information on the OSSLT, including previous years’ tests, practice test materials, and future test administration dates, please visit the EQAO website.

Grade 9 Practice Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (POSSLT): For the past four years, all Grade 9 students in KPR have written a Practice Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (POSSLT) based on the binder Aiming for Success: The Grade 9 Practice Literacy Test Binder. This test acquaints students with the format and expectations of the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) and sets them up for success in fulfilling the literacy requirement.

Cross-curricular literacy teams at each school participate in moderated marking of the Grade 9 Practice Literacy Test. Then, teachers analyze the test results to identify students with literacy needs and support them in further developing their cross-curricular literacy skills. In addition, each secondary school has a cross-curricular plan for improving Grade 9 and 10 students’ literacy skills; please speak with your school’s vice-principal or Literacy Position of Responsibility (POR) for an outline of that plan.

Grade 7-8 OSSLT Literacy Binder: Every elementary school has two copies of Literacy for All: An OSSLT Resource Binder for Grades 7 and 8 (Revised 2008). This binder reflects the current Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) and provides Grades 7 and 8 students with explicit practice on the reading and writing skills evaluated on the OSSLT.

For teachers, the binder provides cross-curricular OSSLT-like reading and writing activities that are curriculum-based. Once implemented, teachers can use student performance on these tasks to further support struggling students.

OSSLC (Ontario Secondary School Literacy Course): The OSSLC was introduced in the 2003-2004 school year as an alternative means of fulfilling the literacy requirement for graduation. The course counts as a compulsory English credit, but does not meet the English requirement for college or university study. KPR teachers have created the OSSLC Assessment and Evaluation Materials Binder which contains a mid-semester and end of semester unit. Every semester, OSSLC teachers are invited to two full day sessions for teacher moderation and effective literacy practice instruction.

Writes of Passage: Writes of Passage is a board-wide secondary writing celebration that has been happening for four years. It values the diverse writing skills of secondary students in all programs, such as students in Applied, Academic, Locally Developed, College, University, Workplace, Learning and Life Skills (LLS) and ELL classes. Every secondary school submits five students’ work to a Review Panel who write extensive, positive reviews of the student work. For more information, contact the English Department Head (POR) at your local secondary school.

Reading Tutor Programs: Trent University’s B.Ed. Program, in partnership with Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB, provides reading tutors to area high schools every Tuesday and Thursday morning from September to December. Also, secondary schools have a variety of peer tutor and peer reading programs to improve students’ cross-curricular literacy skills.

Board-wide Professional Learning Communities: For the past four years, Grades 7-10 teachers have been invited to be a part of professional learning communities that have focused on: effective adolescent literacy instruction, 6 Traits Writing Instruction, leadership, technology, assessment, and differentiated instruction.

Please take a look at the guides and other resources on eWorkshop with information for parents and teachers.