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Principal dedicated to literacy

June 9, 2015 Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor
Principal Gerry Falk of Dovercourt School in Edmonton spends an hour each day helping Grade 2 students with their reading.

An hour a day helps unlock the key to children’s future

For Gerry Falk, it’s no sacrifice to spend an hour of each school day helping Grade 2 students learn to read. It’s something she’s been doing for more than 10 years, despite the fact that she’s a busy school principal.

“I’m passionate about the work. I believe that literacy is the key to the children’s future,” she says.

On this May morning at Dovercourt School in Edmonton, a group of four students is enthusiastically reading from, and answering questions about, a book they took home and practiced reading the day before: All About Spiders.

The students have shown tremendous progress in reading skills and confidence since they started the program in the fall, Falk says.

“These children come in struggling. We start with very simple books. We start reading the pictures, then we build up their vocabulary and confidence in very small steps,” she says.

A teacher for 49 years, Falk has been an administrator for 20. She’s also worked as a chartered psychologist and a language arts consultant. Throughout her career, she hasn’t lost her love for children. Nor does she have any plans to slow down or … gasp … retire.

“It’s my passion,” she says. “I just think it’s a gift to share your time and see the light in a child’s eye and make them enjoy the experience of learning and being successful. That’s what it’s all about. It makes the career fulfilling.” ❚

From left to right, the students are: Milo McCormick, Kiana Peterson, Kylie Flaathen and Josh H.

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