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

Helping students achieve Grade 3 level reading by Grade 3

The Early Learner Tutor Program is a literacy intervention that is supported through the Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation’s Early Learning Equal Start campaign. This program is unlike any other children’s literacy program in our community in terms of its depth and scope. The program pairs struggling readers in grades one to three with an experienced tutor to help them progress toward grade level reading.

Students meet with their tutors for a minimum of 21 hours over a seven-week period in a familiar school setting. Tutors tailor the instruction to match each learner’s specific needs and work closely with parents and classroom teachers to reinforce the learning at home and in the classroom.

The program began in 2013 with six tutors and has since expanded to include:

  • 74 tutors
  • 55 tutor programs across 38 schools
  • 492 students per year

Students who participate in the Early Learner Tutor Program demonstrate over half a year of growth on average in their seven-week session.

“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 3 student

Student Selection

The Early Learner Tutor Program focuses on identifying grade 1-3 students who require additional reading supports. The school-based literacy leadership team (principal, vice-principal and resource room teacher) identify students who would benefit from this intervention based on the following criteria:

  • Students who are below grade level reading expectations or who have been identified through other literacy assessments
  • Students who are not currently receiving other literacy interventions such as EAL, embedded literacy support, leveled literacy intervention, and/or Roadways
  • Consistent attendance
  • Parental/caregiver support
  • in most cases, students who are not currently designated with intensive supports


Positive Outcomes

Students who participate in the Early Learner Tutor Program demonstrate over half a year of literacy growth on average in their seven-week session.

Confidence and self-esteem soar as tutors share the joy of reading and students begin to believe in themselves as capable readers.

Research has demonstrated that an investment in literacy can reduce costs in social assistance, healthcare, and interactions with the justice system.

“This program was amazing! B’s literacy skills and confidence has grown exponentially! He is starting to Love to read and is proud when he can read things to us out in the world (menus, signs, etc. ) We are so grateful to have had this opportunity.”

Parent of an Early Learner Tutor Program Participant
Charlene Hickie North Park Wilson teacher

The Early Learner Tutor Program continues to be a valued literacy support for Saskatoon Public School students. The program continues to support students in reaching important early learning milestones and has had a profound impact on student success and early literacy. Expanding the services and scope of the program in 2021-2022 has ensured that students with identified literacy needs have developed foundational literacy skills. The Early Learner Tutor Program is a timely literacy intervention and is instrumental in responding to the literacy and equity needs which have been widened as a result of the pandemic.


Opportunities for Support 

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