WEBINAR: Accurately capture and measure school staff perceptions to foster strong and engaged teams

Education workers strive every day to put the needs of their students’ above their own. Their work is fuelled by a passion to ensure each child has the best opportunities in life and yet school staff are leaving the profession at unprecedented rates. 

Check out our new webinar with Dr. Durepos as she discusses the factors that influence staff attitudes and experiences related to their job, school and work/life balance. Learn how having the right data from staff perspectives can help guide specific professional, emotional, and practical supports and target investments in programs that are most beneficial for staff.

Click here to find out more about the OURSCHOOL STAFF SURVEY!
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United Way 2022

A new partnership with United Way Regina

Unlocking a world of possibilities for more children across Canada

United Way 2022

The Learning Bar is proud to announce a new partnership with United Way Regina. On July 11, the first summer literacy camps developed between the two organizations launched at the Standing Buffalo Dakota School, Fort Qu’Appelle, SK. Fifteen students participated in the camps, designed to help children develop foundational reading skills. 

“We have witnessed such great success over the last two weeks. Children are truly engaged in learning how to read and more confident in their abilities. The reality is that 45% of children in Regina enter kindergarten not knowing letters and 26% are unable to read proficiently by the end of Grade 3,” said Robyn Edwards-Bentz, CEO, United Way Regina. “Our mission is to move the needle on early childhood literacy rates.”  

This figure is not unique to Regina, across Canada many provinces and territories are struggling to achieve better results. “For over 20 years our literacy rates have remained stagnant,” said Dr. Willms, Founder, The Learning Bar. “We have the power to change this by properly supporting educators. Unlike other camps, educators have the opportunity to build on their existing skills, increase their understanding of The Science of Reading, and are actually shown how to apply this in the classroom. The motivation, engagement, and achievement of these students speak for themselves.” 

The success of the summer literacy camps means the partnership between United Way Regina and The Learning Bar will continue to grow in 2023. ”Expanding and offering these camps to more divisions and schools throughout Saskatchewan is another step in our vision to reach more children.  We will continue to support school leaders and educators who are working so hard to improve early childhood literacy,” said Colette Wasson, CEO, The Learning Bar.  

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A child learning tor ead

Access our new Learning-to-Read to Reading-to-Learn Research Paper

Discover the optimum scope and sequence of skills children need to learn to get them on track to read by Grade 3

The successful transition from Learning-to-Read to Reading-to-Learn during the first three years at school is critical to students’ long-term success and yet despite living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, at least one-quarter of our children are struggling and vulnerable because they cannot read by Grade 3.

Clearly, we need to look at our approach to how we are teaching kids to read in kindergarten to Grade 3. We need a new plan to help our students recover from the pandemic or they, and we as a country, will continue to fall behind.

Download this paper developed by Dr. Doug Willms and the research team at The Learning Bar to learn the process of how children learn to read, based on recent research on the science of reading. It follows a three-phase model presented by Castles, Rastle, and Nation.[i] It extends their work by delineating the scope of each phase, defined in terms of a core set of skills, and proposes a sequence for teaching these skills. It concludes with a discussion about how the proposed scope and sequence align with common curriculum standards.

We can change results and quickly get children back on track, but we must make the development of children’s reading skill during the primary school period a priority for all schools. It will also require concerted investments to support educational leaders and teachers.

[i] Castles, A., Rastle, K., & Nation, K. (2018). Ending the reading wars: Reading acquisition from novice to expert. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 19, 5–51.

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WEBINAR: Support your educators to get students back on track

We know that educators are working tirelessly to ensure that students are learning as best they can, yet more and more students are disengaging. The question we need to answer immediately is “what can we do to support our educators?”

Check out our new webinar as Dr. Doug Willms discusses what we can do to change results, what is needed to support educators, and interventions that can be put in place to accelerate learning growth to get all our students back on track.

Click on the video below to find out more about the Confident Learners program

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WEBINAR: Build your leadership capacity. It’s time to change the tide on student success.

There is an urgent need to build leadership capacity to improve children’s literacy success. Watch our webinar to learn how you can build principal leadership to create alignment, accountability and collaboration throughout school teams.

Hear Karen Power discuss the leadership skills that empower principals to drive change and transition to a student-centric and collaborative culture in their schools. Topics covered include:

Shared leadership and PLC’s
Collective Efficacy
Instructional focus
Evidence-based decisions

Our speaker Karen is a consultant and former teacher, principal, superintendent, and senior advisor for professional learning and leadership. She has won multiple awards and authored books related to her work which focuses on leadership coaching in schools and districts, building collaborative practices through professional learning community (PLC) implementation, district strategic planning, and developing effective instruction, assessment and evidence-based decisions for long-term sustainability. Karen is now working as a consultant with The Learning Bar to support leadership development within schools and districts.

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WEBINAR: Capacity building – the key to enhancing classroom practice and transforming instruction

Find out how capacity building and data informed decision-making can enhance your classroom practice and transform instruction.

30% of children are still leaving school with poor literacy skills. This number increases to 60-80% in areas of vulnerable lower SES populations. Recent research and major scientific advancements into literacy acquisition help to explain why. Our current curriculum and teaching practices have not yet aligned with science. So a key question now is ‘what can we do to better meet the needs of our students?’

Check out our new webinar as we discuss three elements that educators can focus on and develop to improve the learning outcomes of every child.

Click on the videos below to find out more about the Confident Learners program and Professional Learning courses we have available.

We will shortly be announcing our next webinar. Standby for new details!

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WEBINAR: Teaching Children to Read – Common Questions Answered

Check out this webinar as we address common instructional questions related to teaching reading and strategies to support students at different stages of reading development. Common questions discussed include:

What are the differences between phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, and phonics and why are they important?
How do children learn to automatically recognize words and read fluently?
How do we teach children to comprehend texts they read?

These questions and many others around phonics instruction are addressed using the Confident Learners reading and intervention program. One of the key elements of the program is a structured and systematic literacy program, which guides educators through teaching children to read. The other key elements incorporated into Confident Learners are professional learning and leadership development, instructional coaching, and a simple assessment program, all designed to build educator knowledge and skills to improve the reading skills of all children.


About the presenter

Connie Freeman is the Senior Instructional Literacy Consultant at The Learning Bar. She has a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education and has over a decade of experience in the classroom. Connie’s philosophy of education is grounded in a fundamental belief in the importance of equitable education for all and the critical role literacy plays in ensuring success for all students. As a literacy support specialist, Connie has experience supporting students and teachers in the classroom, as well as building professional learning communities in schools. She has been teaching for 10 years and previously used the Confident Learners program to bridge the early literacy gap for her students.

We will shortly be announcing our next webinar. Standby for new details!

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WEBINAR: Bridging the early literacy gap: Working hand-in-hand to build educator capacity and improve efficacy of instruction

Access our webinar to hear Neil Debassige, former principal of Lakeview School in M’Chigeeng First Nation and award-winner of the Meritorious Service Medal by the Governor General of Canada, present how he bridged the gap in early literacy. Using a three-year intervention and reading program he put education back in the hands of educators; empowering them with the knowledge, skills, assessment tools and resources to reach more children effectively.

Find out how the Confident Learners program is supporting school districts across Canada to:

advance capacity building for educators through aligning the science of reading, teaching and assessment with classroom practice;
implement a systematic and explicit step-by-step approach to literacy development; and
employ a structured assessment and monitoring system to ensure full visibility of student progress.

Schools can meet the goal of teaching all children to read by the end of Grade 3. Working together we can help you transform the lives of your students, and give all children the opportunity to thrive. 


NEW WEBINAR: Teaching Children to Read

The next webinar in our early literacy series takes place on Sept 20th, 4 PM EST. Join us as we address common instructional questions related to teaching reading and strategies to support students at different stages of reading development. 

Common questions to be discussed include:

What are the differences between phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, and phonics and why are they important?
How do children learn to automatically recognize words and read fluently?
How do we teach children to comprehend texts they read?

Find out the answers to these questions and more!

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WEBINAR: Getting all children on track to read by the end of Grade 3

Access our webinar as we discuss some of the key challenges facing the public school system and the priorities school districts can adopt to overcome these.

Our speaker, Lorna Cameron, administrator and teacher for over 20 years discusses what our education system looks like today; are we meeting our students’ needs? Look at some of the key factors that school districts can target to get all children on track to read by the end of Grade 3. Finally she provides an overview of Confident Learners, a reading and intervention program developed by The Learning Bar that is being used to create a better future for our children.

Let’s work together to change the status quo in K-12 education and ensure that all children have the opportunity to thrive. Contact us now to learn more. 

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Our Team - Dr Doug WIllms Classroom

Dr. Doug Willms was awarded Professor Emeritus distinction at this morning’s UNB Graduation.

Our founder, Dr. Doug Willms was  awarded Professor Emeritus distinction at this morning’s UNB Graduation. The University of New Brunswick has awarded Professors Emeriti distinctions to four of its retired professors who have served the university with great distinction. Doug is one of four professors to received this prestigious award. Click here for more information:


Congratulations Doug, we are all so proud of you!

Our Team - Dr Doug WIllms Classroom
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