Early Learner Tutor Program - Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation
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Early Learner Tutor Program

A child’s success in school and throughout life depends in large part on the ability to read.

Teachers point to children’s ability to read by the end of grade three as a key milestone in their education. Past grade three, the curriculum shifts from “learning to read” to “reading to learn,” and the ability to read is essential to succeed in all subjects. In fact, reading by grade level by the end of grade three is so important that research shows students who struggle to keep pace past grade three rarely catch up (Calgary Reads).

The science of teaching reading is sometimes complex. For some children, the letters on the page easily form words and sentences. But for others, the acquisition of sounds and symbols is jumbled and inconsistent. For these children, feelings of inadequacy can become so entrenched that by six and seven years old they already believe they are incapable of reading. For them, a much different approach is required to ensure success. 

A child who can’t read at grade level by 3rd grade is four times less likely to graduate than a child who does read proficiently by that time. Add poverty to the mix, and a student is 13 times less likely to graduate on time than his or her proficient, wealthier peer.
(American Educational Research Association)

The Early Learner Tutor Program pairs struggling readers in grades one to three with an experienced tutor to help them progress toward grade level reading. 

All students benefit from:

  • One to one support from an experienced tutor
  • 20 hours of specialized instruction tailored to each student’s unique learning profile
  • Family engagement and books at the child’s reading level to read at home

“I love to read now. You helped me with words I didn’t know. It was fun because I was reading books that were short and they weren’t that hard. I feel happy because I love to read books!”

~Grade Three Student


Strong outcomes and powerful testimonials illustrate the tremendous impact the Early Learner Tutor Program is having on children in our community. Simply put, the program is making a difference for children when it matters most. 

Robust evaluation of the program shows the average gains by students to be:

  • Grade one students achieved almost ½ a year’s growth 
  • Grade two students achieved just above a ½ a year’s growth
  • Grade three students achieved ¾ of a year’s growth 

Additional positive outcomes include improved school attendance, increased confidence and willingness to read with others, increased ability to work on-task and stronger parent engagement and understanding of how to support children at home. 

More impressively, long-term evaluation of children taking part in the program demonstrates that even three years after participating most students’ reading levels continued to develop and they were able to use their new learning strategies to boost success in other areas. 

Opportunities for Support 

The Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation invites our community partners to invest in student success by making a contribution to the Early Learner Tutor Program. Contributions can be structured in a number of meaningful and creative ways that align with your values and giving priorities.

Here is how your donation would make a difference:

Sample Sponsorship Levels

$65,000sponsor one session of intensive support for 80 young readers
$10,000help 10 students benefit from 20-hours of one-to-one support
$1,000fully support one child to participate in the tutor program
$100funds one week of tutoring for a struggling reader

Recognizing Your Support 

We value our partners and make it a priority to acknowledge their contributions. We work closely with supporters to construct a recognition plan that meets their needs.

Examples of recognition include:  

  • Naming opportunities and custom branding for major sponsors  
  • Special events at a local school for media and the community  
  • Signage inside schools and the Saskatoon Board of Education office  
  • Recognition through online and print advertising 
  • Communications directly to Saskatoon Public Schools students and families

A 1% increase in the literacy rate would generate $18 billion in economic growth every year
(Canadian Literacy and Learning Network).

If you’re interested in getting involved please reach out or visit our corporate partnership page to learn more about how you can help!