Confident Learners Literacy Program

The Confident Learners program, a unique collaboration between literacy experts and indigenous communities throughout Canada, is designed to increase the capacity of teachers, parents, and volunteers to help ensure all children become confident readers and learners. It is structured into four components:

A pathway approach to instruction and assessment, which sets out a detailed scope and sequence of explicit learning objectives required to become a successful reader both in terms of Code-Related skills (encoding and decoding) and Language skills;
Formative and summative assessment tools that enable teachers to target instruction and monitor children’s learning progress and needs;
Educator supports for child-centered instruction, including a web-based instructional planning tool, skills-aligned engaging learning activities, and cultural extensions to assist in making instruction more relevant to students’ local community and context;
A professional learning program for educators aimed at increasing their knowledge of the science of literacy skill development, assessment practices, and high-yield teaching strategies.

A pathway approach: Accurately identify students’ literacy needs

Confident Learners uses a ‘Literacy Pathway’, an ordered series of essential literacy skills, to reduce the risk of literacy failure, and focus on student learning progress (not deficits). It draws on the widely recognized “simple view of reading1 , outlining twenty steps of Code-Related skills, and twenty steps of Language skills required to achieve reading fluency. Learn more about skill domains covered by the program.

For children to become successful readers, they must not only master the ability to accurately decode written language, but also understand the meanings of words and how they combine in phrases, sentences and paragraphs. Children are administered a placement assessment when teachers first start using the program with them, to see where they are on the learning to read Pathway in their Code and Language skills.  Their progress is then monitored until they have mastered all skills in the program with record keeping and short step assessments to inform instruction and celebrate their learning progress. Receiving timely indicators of each child’s skill level over  the course of the school year enables teachers to target instruction appropriately  and accelerate student learning.

1 Rose, J. (2006). Independent review of the teaching of early reading. London: HMSO: Department for Education and Skills.

Child-centered learning: Engage your students

To learn effectively, children need many and varied learning experiences to interact with people and things in their own way. The Confident Learners program takes a child-centered approach to skill development and learning, enhanced by instructional planning tools for explicit teacher-led instruction for whole-class and flexible small group instruction, culturally relevant learning, and engaging social and multi-sensory learning activities that highlight cultural relevance.

Click to view a Code-Related Instructional Activity or Language-Related Instructional Activity.

A formative and summative assessment program: Assess to inform instruction

Students learn best, and educators are most effective when they have timely and reliable information on their students’ learning needs. Formative and summative assessment tools give teachers immediate and ongoing visibility into explicit learning objectives appropriate for each child or groups of children learning to read.

The Confident Learners program includes standardized student placement tests, classroom record keeping to monitor skill development, and step-by-step assessments to validate that a child is ready to advance to the next step on the Literacy Pathway. Students’ learning needs are mapped in the Confident Learners web application, enabling efficient student grouping, lesson planning, progress monitoring, and reporting. Caregiver reports help engage parents in supporting and celebrating each child’s success.

A professional learning program: Build capacity

The Confident Learners capacity building implementation model sets schools up for success. Certified Literacy Coaches follow a capacity building gradual release model responsive to educators’ needs and each school’s goals. Certification is also available for educators using the program.  

The stand-alone Professional Learning modules further allow schools to access professional learning presentations and videos to use individually or collaboratively to address their needs. Training modules and live webinars are designed around key drivers of student learning in areas ranging from quality instruction, student engagement, community context, to time devoted to learning at home and school.