Students in Erin Trask’s kindergarten class showing their excitement while learning to read, on Jan. 16. (Photo: Norman Galimski/The Northern View)

Students in Erin Trask’s kindergarten class showing their excitement while learning to read, on Jan. 16. (Photo: Norman Galimski/The Northern View)

Prince Rupert teacher turns the page on literacy

New approaches to learning are celebrated during Literacy Week

Prince Rupert schoolteacher, Erin Trask, is changing how the next generation learns to read. New ways of recognizing the importance of literacy are being celebrated by schools, libraries and communities during Family Literacy Week from Jan. 23 to 30.

The theme for 2022’s Literacy Week is “Let’s Connect! Care. Play. Listen.” with literacy day being recognized on Jan. 27.

For the past four years, through her own research and collaboration, Trask has been developing a new reading program, alongside the current one in use, collaboration with the school district.

If children get the right instruction between kindergarten and grade two, they have a much higher likelihood of becoming strong leaders in the future, she said.

“Literacy is a social justice issue. If you cant read or if you have low literacy skills, it affects every aspect of your life,” Trask, a kindergarten teacher at Lax Kxeen Elementary School, told The Northern View.

For the young students in Trask’s classroom, play is one of the keys to learning success.

Teaching instructions are clear and there is a scope and sequence to the way kids follow the program. Children focus on groups of sounds rather than learning the alphabet in its traditional order, A to Z.

“We don’t do worksheets. Everything is game-based,” she said. “They’re little and you want to hook them in and you want it to be fun,” she said.

Her curriculum follows a group of sounds such as S, A, T, P, I and N, which yield over 20 two-sound and three-sound words. In this way, students can learn more words and how to spell them even before learning the whole alphabet, Trask said. The 26 letters in the English alphabet spell 44 sounds, which are not all learned at a Kindergarten level.

Another method used to teach her students is the embedded picture mnemonic alphabet. This technique uses pictures of the letters of the alphabet shaped as objects that begin with the corresponding sound, such as the letter A formed like an apple.

“My thinking now is that it can be fun and game-based, but it can be it can also be really explicit and systematic to ensure the kids are building the skills in a way that’s a lot more fun,” Trask said.

Though it’s been years in the making, Trask said she is continually working to improve the way she can best teach her alumni and is always fine-tuning to do the best job that she can.

“I take my job as a kindergarten teacher, but also as a reading teacher, really seriously. I feel like if I don’t get these kids on the way up the ladder to be proficient readers [then] I’m not doing my job,” she said.

READ MORE: New requirements for proof of vaccination shifts blame to teachers in Prince Rupert — Bureau

READ MORE: Prince Rupert SD 52 trustees at odds over selected Indigenous seat


Norman Galimski | Journalist
Send Norman email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

literarySd52

 

Staff and students in Erin Trask’s kindergarten class at Lax Kxeen learn new literacy techniques to improve their skills on Jan. 26. (Photo: Norman Galimski/The Northern View)

Staff and students in Erin Trask’s kindergarten class at Lax Kxeen learn new literacy techniques to improve their skills on Jan. 26. (Photo: Norman Galimski/The Northern View)