Long-serving Chinook's Edge teacher honoured for dedication to family literacy

Karen Tubb, who taught at River Valley School in Sundre for over 30 years, has received the Lois Hole Memorial Community Leadership Award from the Centre for Family Literacy.

Karen spent her entire 35 year teaching career in Chinook’s Edge, in Sundre and Didsbury. It was when River Valley School received a grant for an Early Literacy Coordinator in 1997 that her devotion to students and passion for literacy combined to set several generations of kids up for success.

“We saw such great success in the program that when the grant ended, the school administration decided to keep the program going,” said Karen. “My focus was on Kindergarten and Grade 1, because I realized some of our youngest students were coming to Kindergarten without those important early literacy skills that are the building blocks for future success. We developed a program unique to River Valley, which focused on music, rhyming and literature. We know those first few years are crucial to what comes next in school. The program made an impact on many kids through the years!”

Karen shared her ideas and best practices with other Kindergarten and Early Literacy teachers across Chinook’s Edge through her  many years of teaching. The literacy programs she developed always included parents, who came to see how games and songs can intuitively develop these important skills.

Four years ago, Karen Tubb retired from teaching – but not from sharing her passion for early literacy. She accepted the position of programmer for the Sundre Municipal Library, where her creativity and enthusiasm is now impacting pre-school children. She works in partnership with the local ParentLink coordinator to present programs for children ages 0-5 years.

“It was clear, even way back when we started the program, that literacy was a priority throughout Chinook’s Edge. I still get lots of kid time in my new role and share many of the same approaches to early literacy, just with younger kids and their families,” said Karen. “It is so rewarding to encourage parents to read to their child, because it’s a beautiful bonding opportunity and a lovely shared time. By reading together, they are building essential skills, growing language and supporting brain development – all by doing something so pleasurable!”

Karen will be presented with the Lois Hole Memorial Community Leadership Award at a Leading with Literacy Breakfast on February 3rd  in Edmonton, in celebration of National Family Literacy Day. The Honourable Dr. Lois E. Hole had been a strong champion of literacy and education throughout her life.

“It’s a huge honour to receive this award for doing something I love, and any initiative that Lois Hole lent her name to speaks to me of a richness of life. When I think of all the people in Alberta who are working hard on literacy efforts, I think they all deserve it. Truly, the award is as much for my colleagues, manager and board at the Sundre Library, without whose encouragement and support these programs could not happen. The only challenge is that now I work in a library where I’m surrounded by thousands of books! So many books to read, so little time.”