Ontario Right To Read Inquiry

Ontario Right To Read Inquiry
Posted on 03/04/2022
Ontario Right To Read Inquiry

On February 28, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released its report on its Right to Read public inquiry. 

This review started in October 2019 and it looked into human rights issues that affect students with reading disabilities in Ontario’s public education system. The OCDSB was one of the eight sample English-language school boards selected for the inquiry.

The Right to Read inquiry, which focused on early reading skills, found that Ontario’s public education system is failing students with reading disabilities (such as dyslexia) and many others, by not using evidence-based approaches to teach them to read.

The Right to Read inquiry report highlights how learning to read is not a privilege but a basic and essential human right. The report includes 157 recommendations to the Ministry of Education, school boards and faculties of education on how to address systemic issues that affect the right to learn to read. The report combines research, human rights expertise and lived experience of students, parents and educators to provide recommendations on curriculum and instruction, early screening, reading interventions, accommodation, professional assessments and systemic issues.

Right to Read includes recommendations to the Ministry of Education, school boards and faculties of education on how to address systemic issues that affect the right to learn to read, including:

  • Adopting a new Kindergarten Program and Grades 1 to 8 Language curriculum that features direct and systematic instruction in foundational reading skills, and preparing current and future teachers on evidence-based approaches to teaching students to read
  • Screening every student, at least twice a year from Kindergarten to Grade 2, to identify students at risk for reading difficulties, using standardized, evidence-based screening tools
  • Standardizing and providing stable funding for evidence-based reading interventions
  • Making access to interventions equitable for all students
  • Providing and supporting timely and effective accommodation, including greater access to evidence-based software and assistive technology
  • Improving access to professional assessments and ensuring greater consistency and transparency in the assessment process
  • Setting clear and consistent standards for school boards and mandating better data collection, analysis and reporting
  • Improving communication with students and parents
  • Working with experts in the science of reading to implement the OHRC’s recommendations.

This is a significant study and the OCDSB will be putting its recommendations into practice. Our work to improve literacy is ongoing. Over the past year, we have taken a number of measures to support students and educators. This includes:

  • Almost 400 educators participated in the Top Ten Tools for the Reading Teacher, a year-long course on evidence-based approaches to reading instruction, 
  • A full day of professional development was held for all OCDSB educators on evidenced-based reading instruction for students K-12. 
  • More than 5000 students participated in a new evidence-based reading intervention program.
  • In the summer of 2021, the OCDSB offered a summer intensive reading program for 250 students in grades K-9 in need of literacy support. This program will be offered again this summer.  
  • Long range plans were developed for teachers in grades 1-8 using evidence-based instructional strategies.  

Moving forward we will continue to expand upon these efforts. If parents have any questions or concerns regarding their child’s reading skills, they are encouraged to contact their teacher.

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