Grade 8 Reading Bear
The Reading Bear Program was founded by Joanne Roussy, a UBC instructor and former Saints parent; Lani Morden, a principal with the Vancouver School Board; and Isabel Chen, a UBC Medical Student. The program began based on their mutual passion for helping to promote literacy in our city's most vulnerable schools with the understanding that literacy is a key determinant in a happy, healthy society. The Reading Bear Society has four key pillars: early literacy, educating the heart-mind, intergenerational mentorship, and community.
The Program started at St. George's School with one Kindergarten classroom and 20 Grade 8 boys in the 2012-13 school year. This school year will be the second year that all Grade 8 students at St. George's School will be involved, visiting Strathcona Elementary, Admiral Seymour Elementary, and Graham Bruce Elementary. The Program also runs with the help of Andrew Purssell, UBC ambassador and Georgian from the class of 2003.
The impact on both groups has been profound. We have seen strong bonds created between the Big and Little Buddies within their school year. St. George’s students develop empathy, compassion, and inclusivity and the Kindergarten students develop a love of reading and lifelong learning. Both groups are educating the heart and mind and developing meaningful peer relationships.
The key objectives of this program are in line with the school’s six Core Values and our focus on character development through Service Learning matches the School’s Strategic Plan.