Advanced Adolescent Reading Initiative

(2010 - 2016)

The Challenge… Adolescent Literacy

Studies show that many secondary students fail to comprehend grade-level text and that even students with average reading skills are increasingly unprepared for the literacy demands of the workplace and post-secondary education. To date, little attention has been devoted to helping secondary teachers develop the skills they need to promote reading comprehension, ensure content learning through reading, and deal with the differences in reading skills that their students display. The Advancing Adolescent Reading Initiative (AARI) was a four-year research and capacity building initiative funded by Alberta Education to support the goals of the High School Completion Strategic Framework. 

AARI Needs Assessment Survey - Between January - March, 2011, 289 secondary teachers from across Alberta responded to an online Adolescent Reading Needs Assessment survey conducted by the J.P. Das Centre. 98% of respondents identified struggling readers as an issue in their classrooms. Respondents identified demands of the curriculum (85%), timetabling (34.5%), lack of expertise (48%) and time (63%) as the major challenges in trying to help their struggling readers. The survey revealed that there is high interest and need for a flexible capacity building professional development program to support teachers in addressing reading issues in their content-specific classrooms.

View the complete 2011 AARI Needs Assessment Survey (PDF)

“It is estimated that 70 per cent of youth who drop out of school have poor literacy skills.”
                                                                    (Kamil, 2003; Kleinbard, 2009)

The Advancing Adolescent Reading Initiative (AARI) was a comprehensive training program that was developed for Alberta educators teaching in grades 7-12. 

AARI provided teachers across subject areas with advanced knowledge on how to:

AARI drew upon local, national and international adolescent literacy specialists to provide instructional leadership to the program. AARI professional development was spread across two years of study and included: