Information for Prospective School Board and School Partners

With a goal of provincial expansion, for our Letters, Sounds and Words™ program, we’re looking for new school board partners.

About Us

Our Letters, Sounds and Words program has been specifically designed to help young children who need extra practise when learning essential early reading skills. As a registered Canadian charity, Strong Start® Charitable Organization is supported through financial donations from charitable foundations, service clubs, corporations, individuals, community groups and school board fees. Strong Start works closely with its school board partners to ensure that the Letters, Sounds and Words program aligns with the best practice initiatives of school systems and current educational priorities of the province.  This high-quality program provides the opportunity for schools to engage trained community volunteers to work one-on-one with children. All materials, training and administrative tools needed to implement the program in a school are provided by Strong Start.

About The Program

The Letters, Sounds and Words program is a unique 10-week program for 5-7 year-old children delivered by trained community volunteers. Originally authored in 2001 by a retired educator from Waterloo Region, today it is used in over 200 schools, across multiple school boards. The program uses carefully designed, short games/activities which through repetition help young children learn the names of letters, a sound each letter represents, how to recognize words by sight, and how to build a word using the sounds of its letters. Volunteer Coaches work with one child at a time and follow prescribed activities using the materials and manuals provided. The program and the training sessions enable volunteers to deliver the program very independently.

There is also an adaptation of the Letters, Sounds and Words program available specifically for English Language Learners in Grades 3 and 4. To learn more about this program, visit the English as a Second Language page.

What Strong Start Provides

Strong Start provides all materials and manuals needed to deliver the program. The following list highlights some of the key supports provided to the school:

  • program kit consisting of two bins of professionally-developed games and activities
  • user-friendly, detailed manuals describing how to play the games / activities
  • 4-hours of training for all volunteers (two, 2-hour training sessions)
  • manuals and training for the Site Co-ordinator at the school, responsible for the program
  • guides to support conducting pre and post-assessments
  • training / support provided to use Strong Start’s on-line data entry system (SiTE SOURCETM)
  • volunteer recruitment guide, volunteer recruitment video
  • program overview video
  • online resources available for download (e.g. permission letters, recruitment flyers, etc.)
  • volunteer recognition gifts and celebration gifts for participating children

For more information and to arrange a meeting/presentation, please contact our Director of Program by phone or e-mail.