The Letters, Sounds and Words program is a fun and engaging way for community members to help young children acquire the foundational literacy skills they need to be confident and successful learners.

The Letters, Sounds and Words program is delivered in partnership with school boards and schools in multiple communities in Ontario. This 10-week program targets children in Year 2 Kindergarten, Grades 1 and 2 who are falling behind in their foundational early reading skills. Children are matched with trained community volunteers who go into the school to work one-on-one with them, playing carefully designed games and activities. The program is designed in 4 strands to help children learn the names of letters, the sound each letter makes, how to build words using the sounds of their letters and how to read words. Classroom teachers select which children would most benefit from this program, as well as the strands in which they should be enrolled.

Our program has undergone an in-depth review to ensure maximum alignment with the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Right to Read Report, the Science of Reading and the specific expectations in the Kindergarten Program and the Ontario Language Curriculum. To learn more, please read the following resources:

The Letters, Sounds and Words program is unique as it was designed to be easily implemented by volunteers in schools, including those with little to no previous experience working with children. The required training and the prescriptive program manuals allow volunteers to be very independent in running the program.

The program is particularly beneficial for:

  • children who are falling behind their peers and need additional practice with reading fundamentals
  • children whose teachers predict they will likely not need additional help beyond the 10-week boost.
  • Multilingual Language Learners for whom the English language is still a factor in their learning
  • children who, in the professional judgment of the teacher, may need some support through the school’s resources for a year or two but not likely throughout their elementary schooling.

The program was not designed for children whose learning difficulties require more formal, long-term approaches by an education professional.

For more information on this program, please contact the Program Co-ordinator in your region by phone or e-mail:

Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk: Corrine Psaila

Bruce Grey: Helen Kelch

Elgin, Middlesex, Oxford: Helen Kelch

Halton: Cindy Desbiens

Hastings Prince Edward Lennox Addington Frontenac: Cindy Desbiens

Simcoe Muskoka: Cindy Desbiens

Waterloo Region: Cindy Desbiens

Wellington: Cindy Desbiens