Calgary Reads launches digital wee read program for families

News Calgary Reads launches digital wee read program for families

Free virtual course helps families everywhere make the most of reading time



CALGARY, AB—When families found themselves taking on the role of home educators last spring and expressed a desire to better help their early readers, Calgary Reads saw an opportunity to support the community in a new way. This fall, Calgary Reads is thrilled to announce the digital launch of wee read and pee wee read—their first ever massive open online course (MOOC)—so the important adults in children’s lives can develop and deepen their skills as reading rode models.

“The feedback we had from families was that they felt unprepared for supporting schooling at home and needed more resources,” says Alex May, Director of Programs and Initiatives, Calgary Reads. “We already have this great program we’ve been using for years to train volunteers for one-on-one reading in schools—wee read—so when the world turned digital and we all learned these new online tech skills, we saw an opportunity to digitize that training and make it this course available to everyone.”

“What we hope is that people will have a renewed confidence in the reading skills they already have, and gain access to some extra supports and resources,” says May.

The wee read program supports adults in enriching the reading lives of five to seven-year-olds, while pee wee read focuses on reading supports for three to five-year-olds. Over the course of an hour and seven different modules, participants are shown strategies to make reading aloud fun, to strengthen ‘serve and return’ conversations, and to feel more confident in their own ability to share books with a child.

“If children can feel the joy of someone reading aloud to them in those early years, they’re going to fall in love with reading and that’s going to have so many lasting benefits for them in school and in life,” says Steacy Collyer, CEO, Calgary Reads.

This year marks a shift for Calgary Reads as the non-profit focuses less on growing reading confidence in schools and more on the magic of reading in the home. That said, those who complete the wee read and pee wee read modules have the option to extend their learning and access the volunteer training so they can read with children in schools or in early learning centres when it’s safe to do so again.

While the ultimate goal of wee read is to help children become joyful, confident readers, May says quality family reading time brings a host of benefits for everyone.

“By taking time to read together and have fun with those building blocks of early literacy, you’re also fostering a special connection and bond with that child. At a time when a lot of us are feeling disconnected, or maybe even too hyper-connected, it’s a simple, beautiful way to spend time together,” says May, adding wee read and pee wee read is recommended for anyone who has an important role in a child’s life—parents, grandparents, caregivers, educators, coaches, leaders, mentors…

The wee read and pee wee read courses are available to anyone free of charge. To learn more and get started, visit



With the help of a supportive community and many volunteers, Calgary Reads has been helping children read with confidence and joy since 2000. Our non-profit organization supports a variety of initiatives to enrich the reading lives of children, including the Children’s Reading Place; wee read and pee wee read training; LENA Start, a program that supports parent-infant interaction to improve literacy outcomes; and a book bank Book Pipeline, which creates book access for families furthest from opportunity. Since it couldn’t host its popular BIG BOOK SALE to raise funds this year, Calgary Reads recently launched, a pop-up bookstore located in A Dose of Happiness in Bankers Hall.

Learn more at



For more information, media can contact:

Alex May

Director of Programs and Initiatives, Calgary Reads

403.777.8254 ext 102