Lakehead University

Lakehead University

October 15, 2007 09:00 ET

Learning to Read in the Great White North

Report first to focus on reading success for children in Northern Canada - offers success stories and practical recommendations

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 15, 2007) - A first-of-its kind report, Get Ready, Get Set, Get Going: Learning to Read in Northern Canada, released earlier today, is guaranteed to spark interest in both the Canadian and international policy-making and education communities.

Highlighting extraordinary examples of grassroots education initiatives, providing 43 evidence-based best principles, and 16 recommendations to help northern educators and parents support children's early reading efforts, Get Ready, Get Set, Get Going: Learning to Read in Northern Canada offers a concrete, doable plan for reading success.

"Despite the hundreds of reports on early reading, this is the first to focus solely on the children of Canada's North. It celebrates and attests to the power of good teaching," says Report Principal Investigator Dr. Julia O'Sullivan, former Dean of the Faculty of Education, Lakehead University, when the Report was undertaken, now Dean of Education at the University of Western Ontario.

"This report lends a voice to children of the North. It has numerous strategic implications for reading success, and is an excellent resource for those working with children in Northern communities," says Rui Wang, Acting National Director of the Centre of Excellence for Children and Adolescents with Special Needs, Lakehead University.

"The Centre is to be commended for this evidence-based report," says Helen Raham, Research Director, Society for the Advancement of Excellence in Education (SAEE), B.C. "The use of layman's language and practical recommendations will make the report highly useful in the field, offering valuable guidance to policy makers. The need for additional research on effective literacy programs for Northern and Aboriginal learners resonates with the findings of SAEE's research Sharing Our Success."

All Canadian schools and communities face challenges providing quality educational opportunities for their young children, but what makes the North unique is the additional challenge of providing a range of relevant learning opportunities for a small, culturally and linguistically diverse population living in a vast and remote region made up of communities that differ immensely in size and economic base.

Get Ready, Get Set, Get Going: Learning to Read in Northern Canada recognizes the unique issues surrounding early reading in the North. "This is a comprehensive, pan-Northern Canada report which provides a sweeping set of recommendations, every one of which would make a difference in how well Northern children learn to read," says Lyn McLeod, Founding Chair of the National Advisory Board for the Centre of Excellence.

Get Ready, Get Set, Get Going: Learning to Read in Northern Canada is a collaborative effort initiated by Lakehead University's Centre of Excellence. It involves many partners including a 10-person International Expert Panel comprising Aboriginal, English, and French specialists in northern Canadian education, joined by colleagues from the U.S., Norway, and Finland.

Get Ready, Get Set, Get Going: Learning to Read in Northern Canada will be available online in English, French, Ojicree, and Inuktitut at on October 15, and on cd with over 500 copies distributed across Northern Canada.

Media: Dr. Julia O'Sullivan and Dr. Rui Wang are available to speak about the contents of the Report and the strategic implications of the study on the reading skills of children in Northern Canadian communities.

About Lakehead

Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 7,700 students and 2,250 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit

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Contact Information

  • To arrange for an interview, please contact:
    Lakehead University
    Eleanor Abaya, Director of Communications
    (807) 343-8372
    Lakehead University
    Heather Scott
    (807) 343-8177
    (807) 346-7770 (FAX)