Reading University



Grade Three Reading University

Press Release; Reading University Is Back! We Want You!

June 14, 2022

Reading University Is Back! We Want You!

After a painful two-year pandemic pause, Reading University is set to resume in technicolor on July 4th at the Northwest Polytech campus. 

Reading University is a community-driven early intervention program designed for children leaving grade three struggling to achieve grade-level literacy. The project takes those children within a specific criteria range over 15 days and advances the levels of comprehension and skill. But also, as important those of self-esteem and confidence. Since its launch in 2009 over 1200 local children have benefitted from Grade Three Reading University. Endorsed by school districts, parent groups, and community partners across the region enrollment in Reading U comes at no expense to the families who participate. A small-time commitment can mean the difference between continuing to fall behind or achieving the potential that all children possess. Proudly, many of our Reading University alumni have gone on to attend post-secondary. Without the program this achievement may not have been possible. Co-founder Rhonda Side comments “The key to the success is the teacher-student ratio. Each ten student “pod” is accompanied by two experienced literacy educators - we call them professors. The centre-based program busts the traditional classroom mold and allows the children to discover reading through a new lens. Often, they are not even aware that the change is occurring.” 

Statistics continue to emerge that a staggering number of children post-pandemic will not be reading at grade level by the time they reach grade 6 – some 70%. “From the beginning, we have maintained that if the need exists no child will be denied access to the program. It is an obligation we take seriously. Given the grassroots philosophy and the prospect of children being left behind from the pandemic, we anticipated a very full roster for 2022. However, current registration numbers do not indicate that. We fear that, given the pause, the level of awareness for the program may have waned or that fatigue has set in. This could not possibly come at a worse time. The children, their families, the system, and educators have all been challenged throughout the pandemic. We get that. Even more reason to provide a program that will lift the young readers to greater levels of confidence. The bonus is that the environment is filled with face-to-face interaction and engagement. The experience is quite contrary to the grind of what they had to endure since 2020. This will seem like a reward.” 

If you believe that your student or child meets the criteria for entrance this July, or if you require further information, we encourage you to connect with Reading University.  or email us at

For further information on this press release contact:

Rhonda Side                                                                                                                  



 Linda Side