Reading College

The first-ever Reading College Teaching Team is made up of six recent graduates of the Middle Years program at Red Deer College and a retired teacher/principal.   The team members are Tracy Halladay, Derk Untershultz, Amanda Wright, Jock Mackenzie, Crystal Noble, Adam Leonhardt and Kristin McKenzie.

One of the first events of the pre-Reading College year was the Optimist Cure for Kids Radiothon.


Tracy (right) at the Radiothon booth                                                                                   Crystal & Jock


Amanda in the accounting room                                            Jock on the phones

School Board chair, Lawrence Lee, next to Edie McInnes, Cure for Kids chair

Considerable preparation is required to plan the month-long program. Tremendous help has been given by the people in Camrose and Grande Prairie who have similar programs, as well as from Vic Jose in Richmond, Indiana who started the Third Grade Academy.

The Magnificent Seven (the six Reading College teachers along with Program Coordinator, Jock Mackenzie) hold regular meetings to create the best possible program. The following pictures come from a meeting at Normandeau Elementary:


The Tech Team – Adam Leonhardt and Derk Untershultz

   The Reading Team – Tracy Halladay and Amanda Wright

The Writing Team – Kristin McKenzie and Crystal Noble

Teachers from Fairview, G.H. Dawe and Normandeau met with the Reading College teachers to share ideas.

Students for the first year of Reading College are being drawn from three elementary schools that are geographically adjacent. The proximity of the schools will facilitate busing. The students have been tested and deemed to be “emerging readers” or those who fall below (but not terribly far below) the expected standard for Grade Two. It is hoped that an intensive program of summer help will assist them in reaching the “finish line” – a line they can see but one that is still to be attained.








Having a little fun

At the May meeting of the Red Deer Public School Board , a report about Reading College was given by Stu Henry, Deputy Superintendent and Reading College Program Coordinator, Jock Mackenzie. Pre-planned was the unveiling of the Reading College logo. When the words, “We should be willing to give the shirts off our backs to support such a worthwhile program” were given, all the members of Senior Admin and the School Board Chair removed their shirts to display the new design.


The Reading College site: RED DEER COLLEGE

Our 30 students will use the Learning Centre as home base – as classrooms in the morning and a place to gather briefly after lunch and at the end of the day. Normally, these rooms look like this:



There is lots of room and plenty of technology. What they don’t have is the furniture for Grade Two students or the many learning aides necessary for young learners. These items will be moved in prior to Reading College.

As a reminder, here’s what the classrooms look like in an elementary school:

Photos coming soon!


Students will attend Reading College for the entire month of July. Classes will begin on Tuesday, July 3 and end on Tuesday, July 31. Each day, students will be picked up at their homes by Prairie Bus Lines and driven to the College for a warm breakfast.

Week One: during the first week, our teachers and students will get to know one another. Two special events already planned are a visit by Red Deer’s mayor, Morris Flewelling, and a field trip to the G.H. Dawe library. Mr. Flewelling will pose with each of the students so that a picture can be taken holding a favorite book. The photos will be enlarged with duplicate copies made so one can be taken home and the other used to brighten up the classroom. The Dawe library trip will include the pre-planned preparation of a library card for each student.

Themes for the following weeks have been determined:

Week Two: The Arts

Week Three: People

Week Four: Ultimate

Planning is currently underway as meetings are being held with a number of DAGs (Dean’s Advisory Groups) so that field trips within the College may allow students to view and participate in a wide variety of exciting activities. Discussions have already been held with the hope of students visiting the Trades area, Hospitality and Tourism, Nursing, the Science labs, Drama and Film productions, art activities, and more.

Week Five: the conclusion of the Reading College will include a “convocation” where students will receive certificates from one of the deans in formal cap and gown.

Spreading the Word

As the beginning of Reading College draws nearer, coverage of this new project is being disseminated in a variety of places. One of the first was The Buzz, the newsletter of the Science, Health, Sport & Education Division at RDC.


  1. This is stupendous…as a reading teacher since 1969! I ❤️❤️❤️ your program. To quote Tiny Tim, “God bless us, everyone.”

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